Busi­ness of the month

A tran­quil artists’ re­treat for sale in the un­spoiled coun­try­side of Ariège de­lights Na­dia Jor­dan

French Property News - - Contents - For more in­for­ma­tion about the prop­erty and the busi­ness, take a look at Noelle’s web­site bor­deneu­vere­treat.com You can con­tact Noelle di­rectly on: nkwylie@hot­mail.com Na­dia Jor­dan runs the prop­erty search agency Foothills of France in Ariège and Haute-g

An artists’ re­treat in the Pyrénées foothills

Driv­ing down the bumpy, tree-lined track to this hid­den artists’ re­treat, your mind starts to slowly shed lay­ers of worry and stress. Upon reach­ing the house, nes­tled in a clear­ing of an an­cient oak for­est, the pres­sures of daily life have lifted. Sud­denly there is space – real, gen­uine, head space for cre­ativ­ity and thought. There are no clocks here, no mo­bile phones, just peace and quiet, birds and trees, good food and, most im­por­tantly, time; time to breathe, time to be.

French foothills The Ariège depart­ment of France is a wild and un­spoiled land­scape of rolling hills, wood­land and pas­ture with a back­drop of the snow-capped Pyrénées. It has long been a refuge for bo­hemi­ans and artists look­ing to es­cape con­ven­tional lives and find space, peace and mean­ing.

Hence this artists’ re­treat, tucked in at the foot of a 12th-cen­tury château, feels as if it is hewn from the his­tory and cul­ture of the area. It is as nat­u­ral as its sur­round­ings, blend­ing seam­lessly with its en­vi­ron­ment. Ev­ery­thing here is or­ganic, from the stone house and barn to the fur­nish­ings, the gar­den and the food, al­though not at the ex­pense of com­fort. This re­treat is no monas­tic refuge, rather a wel­com­ing and com­fort­able sanc­tu­ary that pro­vides phys­i­cal sus­te­nance while free­ing its creative res­i­dents from daily pres­sures to con­cen­trate on the art within.

Bor­deneuve Re­treat is the work of one very en­er­getic and in­spi­ra­tional Amer­i­can, Noelle Thomp­son, a pro­fes­sion­ally trained mu­si­cian and cook, who dis­cov­ered Ariège on a work­ing trip to France. Fate brought her to­gether with Bor­deneuve’s owner David Thomp­son, a com­poser and cab­i­net-maker, and she fell in love with him, the house and the re­gion and never left.

Af­ter David’s un­ex­pected death, Noelle de­cided to fin­ish ren­o­vat­ing the barn next door in order to share the unique and beau­ti­ful space that they had cre­ated to­gether. “I wanted to cre­ate a place where peo­ple could delve into their deep­est creative states,” she says, “where in­hi­bi­tions are lifted and beauty is pri­mor­dial.”

Si­lence and con­cen­tra­tion In the last few years, Bor­deneuve has hosted nu­mer­ous artists, writ­ers and mu­si­cians from all cor­ners of the globe and with a huge va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent projects. Res­i­dents are lodged in the barn, now con­verted into an airy loft, with a spec­tac­u­lar cathe­dral ceil­ing and a stun­ning area for yoga, paint­ing, com­pos­ing or sim­ply re­lax­ing. The large glass doors open onto a beau­ti­ful covered bal­cony. The down­stairs is taste­fully fur­nished with a rus­tic traver­tine floor, deep arm­chairs and a wood­stove for the

A place where peo­ple can delve into their deep­est creative states, where in­hi­bi­tions are lifted and beauty is pri­mor­dial

cold nights. “It is lovely, spa­cious, and filled with just what you need,” said Re­becca Steb­bins, a painter from Cal­i­for­nia who has al­ready com­pleted three re­treats at Bor­deneuve. “Food, si­lence, books, a deep bath and a wide bal­cony, places to sit, to draw, to paint, to play, to dance – yes, even enough room to dance.”

Meals come straight from Noelle’s gar­den and or­chard, com­ple­mented by food from lo­cal ar­ti­sans and bak­ers. Res­i­dents have the choice of a self-catered stay but most choose a half or full-pen­sion op­tion. Stays range from one-week to two months. The daily rhythm is one of si­lence and con­cen­tra­tion, punc­tu­ated by a walk or bi­cy­cle ride. The evening starts with an apéri­tif fol­lowed by a beau­ti­ful meal and the week is book­ended by out­ings to colour­ful lo­cal mar­kets and cafés, the oc­ca­sional walk in the high moun­tains or a train trip into Toulouse for a day of ex­plor­ing La Ville Rose.

New pas­tures

Noelle has now met some­body else and has de­cided that it is time to move on and be­gin a new life, which means re­luc­tantly putting the house on the mar­ket. The prop­erty con­sists of the lovely, tra­di­tional stone, two-bed­room house where Noelle lives plus the in­de­pen­dent, fully ren­o­vated barn a few me­tres away, used as the guest ac­com­mo­da­tion. Both have lovely char­ac­ter fea­tures and are beau­ti­fully ren­o­vated with wood-fired cen­tral heat­ing and nat­u­ral wool in­su­la­tion. The prop­erty sits in lovely, peace­ful gar­dens com­plete with wildlife pond and potager.

Po­ten­tial buy­ers could con­tinue to run the prop­erty as an artists’ re­treat or in­deed any type of hol­i­day ac­com­mo­da­tion but it would also make a fan­tas­tic fam­ily home as it is sit­u­ated on the edge of a vil­lage com­plete with pri­mary school and restau­rant while just 10 min­utes from a thriv­ing mar­ket town and un­der an hour from Toulouse. It is on the mar­ket for €435,000.

Space to day­dream Space to cre­ate Space to think Space to re­lax

Space to dance, wan­der and breathe

Space to rest Space to wan­der Space to un­wind

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.