An old, 18th century courthouse in Vaucouleurs, in the Land of Joan-of-Arc - ref 984621
ca. 400,00 m²
ca. 400,00 m²
ca. 5.973,00 m²
An old, 18th century courthouse in Vaucouleurs, in the Land of Joan-of-Arc. 3½ hours from Paris via the A4 motorway, 2 hours from Luxembourg and the Belgian border, less than an hour from Nancy and Bar-le-Duc. Vaucouleurs is a little town laid out like an amphitheatre on a hillside dominating the left bank of the river Meuse amidst fertile grasslands. It is the small market town from which Joan-of-Arc left under escort in February 1429 to join Charles VII in Chinon in order to convince him to drive the English out of France. The local enthusiastic population clubbed together to provide the future saint with mens clothing. This building is an old courthouse, constructed in 1770 on land where until this time only ploughed furrows had been seen. In 1869, nuns from the Compassion-de-Saint-Hilaire set up a boarding school there named after Joan-of-Arc. This renowned school housed young girls from all over France and even from overseas. Dissolution of the congregation around 1900 led to the closing down of the building, last occupied by a family. This residence, standing just 5-minutes walk from the town centre, comprises a main building, corresponding to the old courthouse, and two wings set at right angles, forming a main courtyard closed by wrought iron gates. A majestic stone statue of Joan-of-Arc, sculpted by Toussaint, representing the Virgin, standard in hand, at the coronation in Reims, takes pride of place in the middle of the courtyard. An annex building, following on from the main building, includes a second entrance off the street via a stone porch way. To the rear of this property extend small, pleasant, partially wooded parklands that lead to a stream and its old wash-house. This property also comprises several garages and the vestiges of an impressive chapel.
The residenceThis former courthouse is an impressive building, topped with a Mansard style, slate and interlocking tile roof. The facade, on the main courtyard side spans three levels under an attic floor. Tall arched windows flank the double entrance doors, with their glazed fanlight, topped with a lintel bearing plant motifs. Three bays on the facade facing the parklands constitute a slightly protruding central projection, featuring semi-circular arched openings over which is a triangular pediment with floral motifs. Up until the beginning of the century, this facade also featured an extremely attractive wrought iron balcony, the replacing of which would be an interesting project. Ground floor The large vestibule, with uneven stone paving, houses a stairway, with superbly scrolled, wrought iron railings, and provides access to the vaulted, converted cellar below. On the right-hand side are four rooms, with herringbone pattern, oak wood parquet flooring, 18th century marble fireplaces and panelling. One still has an impressive cupboard where court archives were probably stored. The sculpted trumeau depicts the Judgement of Solomon, a reflection of this buildings initial vocation. On the left-hand side of the vestibule are three rooms, including a kitchen and a modern bathroom. This section of the residence has undergone the most transformations, its partitioning having made it possible to install essential modern-day comforts without, however, sacrificing the floors, the panelling and the fireplaces. A geothermal heating system was recently installed. A vast room behind the vestibule, with a stone floor featuring inlaid decoration, opens on to the parklands. This delightful room notably houses the boiler which really needs to be moved or concealed. First floor As on the ground floor, the vast landing provides access to three intercommunicating flats. The first, comprising four rooms and a bathroom, includes stone fireplaces with imitation marble decoration, wainscoting and moulded ceilings. The ...