The property is delightfully placed in le Parc Naturel Regional du Haut-Languedoc in the Tarn (department 81) near Castres in la Montagne Noire (Black mountains) at an altitude of between 650-700m. It is situated in the country, is private and enjoys quietness and tranquillity. There is a small village 3km (2 miles) away with village shop, bar and postal facilities.
There are larger towns which offer most facilites within 6-8km (4-5 miles), Castres and Revel being the nearest major towns.
There are breathtaking views over the plain towards Puylaurens and beyond with a vista of over 50km.
The property is relatively unique in that it is one of the few private properties in the area which has forests/woods principally made up of deciduous trees:- oak, beech,ash, sweet chestnut, with a few pines. The emphasis around here is for 100% pines as a commercial crop. We have approx 50Has of forest (120acres) which provides us with wood fuel for the under floor heating in the main house (supplemented by a large wood burning stove in the salon) and a stove in the Bergerie. The remaining land is essentially grass fields giving a harvest of between 180-300 large round bales (225kg +/-) depending on the summer. It is bio as it has had no chemicals on it for at least 15 years. A lot of the land needs improvement to remove overgrown scrub etc. and there is an ongoing policy of cleaning.
The soil is extremely good and quick draining with a depth of top layer up to several feet. The previous owner used to grow crops of oats on one 4 Ha field.
There is an abundance of ponds, springs and streams. The domestic water is from a source close to the house, the overflow feeding an ornamental pond.
There is a plethora of wild life, both on the ground and in the air. On the ground there are, amongst others, hedgehogs, red squirrels, badgers, roe deer, pine martens, stone martens, wild boar and foxes. We are fortunate and have not been bothered by the latter despite having lots of poultry. In the air,….. too numerous to mention every one, but here is a sample. We are on a migration route between Africa, Spain and the Central Massif in France mainly for birds of prey, but of course all the other smaller birds as well. There are bee eaters and hoopoes in the summer (only sporadically as we are at too high an altitude), and then there are waxwings and fieldfares in winter among many other breeds. There are resident green, black, lesser and greater spotted woodpeckers, and many more birds that change with the seasons. There are local bat colonies. We have toads, frogs, newts and salamanders in the wetter bits, mainly near old ponds constructed near springs to water sheep and cattle.
The main house:- potted history
This version was probably constructed between 1800-1810. The construction of the door is in the style of “le directoire” a body of government which existed approx from 1790-1800. There appear to be no written records although we have been led to believe there may be some in a local monastery and abbey. One of the most important (and frustrating) things to note about the main house is that no room is square. It can be a little unsettling until it dawns on you!! The previous proprietor acquired it from a local family which had lived and farmed here we think for most of the 20th century and maybe back into the 19th. We think before that it may have been summer grazing etc for the religious houses on the plain for their stock and to provide a better quality hay for the winter. It is reputed to have been a working home for 14 families, but we have no proof of that.
When we bought the house we found littered on the floor bits of wood which obviously made up furniture. We were lucky to find an honest restorer who told us what they were, and yes he could restore them, and yes, it would cost more money than they were worth at the end. You can see the results in the 3 large pieces in the salon, and the table. All original except with the table which was missing two inserts which he made for us. They are not in the table in the photo. It will seat approximately 12 people. We lack the chairs though!! He also told us about the door which dated the property for him as far as he was concerned. He offered to restore it to what you see in the photos, having to replace just one panel, which had 14 coats of mastic and paint when he cleaned it!
We planned to live in this house ourselves, so have finished the restoration with care and with quality products. However it has taken longer than we expected (and cost a lot more!!) and we are offering the house for sale in pristine condition.
Commercial possibilities….. endless
The property can of course be used solely as a family residence.
While the traditional french summer holiday season is short, principally late June,July, August and early September( so 10 weeks max) there is scope to offer longer spells to countries such as the UK, Holland and Germany, but because of the wealth of natural wild life it has a 52 week capability as a centre for wild life enthusiasts. With the many forest and woodland tracks on and off the property it can offer holidays for cyclists, ramblers, bird watchers, horse riders and other enthusiasts. The chapel and the ante chamber could allow for visitors wanting a quiet break for contemplation, meditation or religious sojourns. There is the possibility of a separate entrance for this use. The chapel is currently not consecrated.
It would be possible to offer a camping facility after applying and receiving the appropriate permissions.
How to get there
From Carcassonne 40km/25miles (45 mins)
Regular Ryanair flights (currently) to and from :-
London Stansted, Liverpool, East Midlands, Bournemouth, Glasgow, Dublin, Cork, Eindhoven (Holland) and Charleroi (Brussels)
From Beziers airport (142km/90 miles 1hr 45mins)
Weeze (Germany) near Dutch border and Nijmingen
Toulouse International airport 75km/47miles (70mins) has all major destinations and airlines available. Easyjet also has large presence.
Pyrenees 100-180km (60-110 miles)
Andorra 190km (120 miles)
Mediterranean Sea 120km.
Main House Accommodation
All measurements are approximate!!
This has slate floors and under floor heating throughout and consists of:-
1. The original front doors, which date from between 1810-1820 and have been renovated to their former glory, open into the main entrée of 15m².There is a small vestibule/cloakroom of 5m² adjoining. From the entrée on your left there is :-
2. The main salon of approx 60m² with exposed beams which has an 18Kw Godin log burning stove to augment the under floor heating.
3. There is an adjoining ante chamber of 11m² and its own chapel of 9m² (+ tower) attached.
4. To the right of the entrée is the newly equipped main kitchen of 27m². There is a stairway leading down to an atelier/workroom of 30m².
5. Opposite the main doors is the original granite staircase leading to the first floor and another staircase descending to some sous sol accommodation described later. There is a small toilet/cloakroom on a mezzanine level on the way downstairs. Down some more stairs from the cloakroom is the entrance to the “sous sol” apartments with two small cellars (caves) by the entry door.
6. The original granite stairs lead to 2 en suite bedrooms of 20m² each with an office (9m²) in between with a window opening onto a small balcony over the main entrance and front door. Over the stair way is a tower reaching above the height of the main building. It has been blocked in to preserve heat currently, but there is a splendid masterpiece of carpentry to be revealed in the future.
7. A custom-made oak staircase to the second floor which is currently an open area of 75m² showing exposed beams. There is a small shower room and toilet attached and a small door giving access to the outside of the tower. The second floor does not have under floor heating.
8. PRINCIPAL GITE to accommodate 2-6 people
This is a separate wing of the main house having under floor heating and comprising of:-
- Separate entrance to kitchen 12m²,
- salon/second bedroom approx 27m²,
- downstairs corridor bathroom 8m²,
- custom-made oak staircase to
- principal bedroom 18m²,
- adjoining bathroom 6m²,
- mezzanine bedroom (to be finished) over bathroom 9m²
All of the above has the benefit of a central vacuum system.
Underneath the main house salon there is the “sous sol” accommodation comprising :-
9. Large Gite for 6-8 people consisting of:-
Separate front door leading to 2 adjoining large rooms each of approx 28m² with a small kitchen of 10m² and a small toilet/shower.
There is also access via the stairs leading down from the main house entrance.
10. Small gite for 2/3 people (studio apartment) consists of:-
Separate front door leading to 1 room approx 14m² with kitchen facilities at the end, and a shower room/WC.
Underneath the main kitchen is a large workshop/store room of 30m² with plumbing for a washing machine.
Underneath the luxury gite is the boiler room of about 40m² with a woodburning DeDietrich boiler which heats a 1000L water storage tank which services the underfloor heating system throughout all the property (except the attic on the top floor), and the radiators in the sous sol apartments, and also provides the domestic hot water.
There are also solar panels to produce the domestic hot water in the summer. There is a 10m² cellar by the side of the boiler room.
This boiler room contains an ancient “four à pain” or bread oven.
11. GITE 4
Standing separately from the main house there is a 75m² “bergerie” (shepherds accommodation) which has 3 bedrooms, a kitchen/dining room, a bathroom and a toilet. There is a woodburning stove for the heating and the kitchen cooker uses bottled gas. Domestic hot water is heated electrically. The current owners live here while renovations continue.
Attached behind the bergerie is a small two storied pigeonniere.
There is also a stone built barn approx 250m² with a basement.
There are two small but productive vegetable gardens.
And much more…
For any questions you may have please use the link on this site, or feel free to send direct to firstname.lastname@example.org.