The Belle Époque is alive and well at this French chateau in the heart of the Loire Valley, reborn as a unique guesthouse – and now offered for sale.
Villa Chauveaus dates from 1906 and is described as a ‘stylistic firework display’ to show off the prosperity and influence of its originators, the Chauveaus. The wealthy Touraine family intended the villa to be their weekend coastal retreat. After their planned land sale fell through, they chose to build the villa in the sleepy village of Sainte-Catherine-de-Fierbois instead.
Much of the French property was prefabricated in Touraine and transported by train to the rural site, where it was constructed over two years and surrounded by 2.5 hectares of private park and gardens.
The building’s facade is truly eclectic: classic, baroque, gothic and Renaissance elements meld with Anglo-Norman, Moorish and Asian influences and ornate Art Nouveau tiles and stained-glass windows, which add vibrant pops of colour.
Not only did the villa look unlike anything in the surrounding area when it was completed, but it was also outfitted with the latest technologies, including electricity and indoor plumbing.
Over the ensuing century, the house changed hands twice, landing with the present owners in 2017. They undertook a top-to-toe restoration of the Art Nouveau home, including reinstating its orchards and gardens, and renamed it Villa Alecya. In 2019, after months of painstaking renovations, they opened it to guests as a B&B.
Stellar spaces include an English-style winter garden with towering windows and a grand hallway whose carved staircase ascends the full height of the building. Meals are enjoyed in the opulent Renaissance-inspired dining room, with wood panelling, and there are several Art nouveau-style reception rooms with fireplaces, painted windows and decadent decor.
Its nine bedrooms, meanwhile, are dedicated to artists of the Belle Époque, themed for the music of Debussy and Puccini and the writings of Proust and Wilde. One also boasts a private spa, including a hammam, balneotherapy and traditional sauna.
Espaces Atypique agent Magali Boudry is exclusively marketing the Belle Époque manor in Touraine for €1,590,000. It also includes a barn, workshop and two small accommodations of 75 sq m.