French prop­erty dreams

A tour around a beau­ti­ful for­mer con­vent in Bouches-du-rhône has So­phie Gard­ner-roberts con­tem­plat­ing life in the south

French Property News - - Contents -

A for­mer con­vent in Bouches-du-rhône

The lines be­tween his­tory and leg­ends are of­ten blurred when it comes to the col­lec­tive mem­ory of an an­cient place. The Provençal town of Taras­con, on the banks of the Rhône, has one such in­ter­est­ing past. Its story min­gles tales of a mon­ster creep­ing up from the sur­round­ing marshes with ac­counts of pil­grims flock­ing to the town to worship Marthe, the pa­tron of Taras­con who al­legedly killed the beast.

Mon­sters aside, Taras­con was cer­tainly a ma­jor re­li­gious and pil­grim­age site which housed up to 15 con­vents un­til the French Rev­o­lu­tion and pros­pered as a re­sult. To­day, the town still bears traces of its wealthy past, from the re­mark­ably pre­served 15th-cen­tury château to the many con­vents which have been beau­ti­fully re­stored and con­verted.

Imag­ine own­ing a slice of that his­tory and walk­ing in the steps of wor­ship­pers who sought quiet and med­i­ta­tion be­hind the pro­tec­tive walls of a con­vent. Dat­ing back to the 17th cen­tury, the prop­erty shown here is one of these many an­cient con­vents dot­ting the cen­tre of Taras­con and its ex­cep­tional ren­o­va­tion has turned it into a beau­ti­ful, spa­cious home.

Old and new The care­ful con­ver­sion has pre­served the her­itage of the build­ing but cre­ated a mod­ern and com­fort­able in­te­rior. As a re­sult, the house has char­ac­ter in spades with fea­tures such as beamed ceil­ings, ex­posed stone walls, in­te­rior stone arch­ways, arched doors and win­dows, pas­sage­ways, stone fire­places and a pri­vate, in­te­rior court­yard. You can even spot traces of old stair­cases in the stonework in the walls.

The 600m2 of hab­it­able space are built on two lev­els. On the ground floor, you’ll find three large re­cep­tion rooms and a fully fit­ted, mod­ern kitchen. All seven bed­rooms and their en­suite bath­rooms are lo­cated on the first floor; they all have unique fea­tures and lay­outs blend­ing con­tem­po­rary de­sign and ma­te­ri­als with pe­riod char­ac­ter.

In terms of out­door space, there is a 100m2 court­yard gar­den – easy to main­tain! – with a beau­ti­ful twist­ing olive tree in its cen­tre, plus a 50m2 ter­race which is bathed in sun­light but also has a lovely shaded area to shel­ter from the Bouches-du-rhône heat. Both these out­door spa­ces are lovely and pri­vate so you can hide away and sim­ply en­joy some peace and quiet, much like the for­mer in­hab­i­tants of the con­vent I ex­pect.

End­less pos­si­bil­i­ties Style and jaw-drop­ping beauty aside (can you tell I’ve fallen in love with this home yet?), the prop­erty is ide­ally lo­cated in the cen­tre of

Imag­ine own­ing a slice of his­tory and walk­ing in the steps of wor­ship­pers who sought quiet and med­i­ta­tion be­hind the pro­tec­tive walls of a con­vent

Taras­con and, with all those en­suite bed­rooms, would make a per­fect lux­ury bou­tique bed and break­fast, pro­vid­ing you keep two rooms for pri­vate use and only rent out five of them (of­fer­ing more than five pay­ing rooms makes an es­tab­lish­ment a ho­tel).

Shops, restau­rants and Taras­con’s many his­toric sites are on the doorstep, while a short drive in either di­rec­tion will bring you to tourism hotspots such as Ar­les and Avi­gnon.

Ac­cess is also easy as Avi­gnon’s air­port is just 29km away and the Eurostar goes all the way down to Avi­gnon train sta­tion. The larger air­port of Mar­seille is just over an hour’s drive away.

I don’t know about you, but the thought of own­ing and en­joy­ing this ex­cep­tional prop­erty has chased all thoughts of murky mon­sters and bat­tling saints out of my mind.

The con­verted con­vent is on the mar­ket for €775,000 lares­i­dence.co.uk

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