When the owners of La Creuzette were flipping through the pages of a French luxury property magazine – independently from each other – neither of them anticipated the discovery that would ensue. Hardy – an ex-banker turned chef, tapestry expert and excursion leader extraordinaire – was catching a train from Paris to Auvergne, to join partner, Louis – a painter, storyteller and avid planter of peonies and bearded irises – when they simultaneously skimmed through the same magazine and stopped on the very page of le petit château. Upon reunion, with sheer excitement and joie de vivre, Hardy and Louis revealed their dream property to each other, that not only set their hearts racing, but reaffirmed their similarities in refined taste, too.
Hidden in the heart of the Boussac village – an idyllic spot situated in the Nouvelle Aquitaine region of central France – La Creuzette occupies acres of rolling lawns, wild meadows, fruit orchards and herb gardens, shaded by a plethora of cedars, sequoias, oaks and wild chestnut trees. Beneath this stately 19th-century hideaway, rest the foundations of the Romans’ market square, where the farming community would gather and trade. History permeates from the soil, into the stone and all the way up to the 5th floor of the château. When the late owner of La Creuzette – Countess Michéle Renaud Saint Gal de Pons – handed over the keys to Hardy and Louis almost two decades ago, her parting words of, “These are the keys to paradise”, reigned true from that day until now. With affinity and adoration, the château was restored to its original Napolean III era, throughout the ten suites, nine bathrooms, sitting room, library, music room, dining room, kitchen and cellar. La Creuzette encapsulates the owners’ signature statement of style, sophistication and savoir faire. So much so, France’s oldest national daily newspaper, La Figaro, nominated the château as one of the finest French country establishments.
Over the years Hardy and Louis have cleaned out every antique market, sourcing the finest furniture and 17th & 18th-century tapestries, and adorned the château with opulence. During the restoration of the dining room, an original hand-printed Zuber et Cie wallpaper was discovered and carefully restored to its authentic form. When the Countess returned for a visit months later, she was overcome with the sight of it, declaring that they had stumbled across a little piece of her childhood.
As much as the decor delivers and the château charms, the real magic and inspiration in La Creuzette, the pièce de résistance, lies in the experience that Hardy and Louis create for the discerning guest. From art courses to country-side tours, cooking classes from the summer kitchen in the old out-building, to comprehensive studies on the craft of ancient tapestry. It’s all very French, and oh so refined and fabulous.
What we love!
- The château is situated in the centre of the village of Boussac, and within walking distance to the markets, cafés, les boucheries et les boulangeries. There is a lovely bakery only 100m down the road where a master Parisian baker serves the best croissants in France!
- Every Thursday the local market stretches its stalls from the back gate of the château and down the road that leads up to the town square, where you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables, cheese and charcuterie from the area.
- DeVerra – your distinguished host – resides on the property and caters to your needs, assisting with the activities and advising on the best tips of the town.
What you need to know…
- The beautiful village of Aubusson – the tapestry capital – is only 48km away from the château, where you can visit the tapestry and carton museums.
- Visit Limoges – a 136km scenic drive away, where the renowned porcelain museum and
manufacturers are located.
- The privately-owned Boussac Château that dates back to the 11th century, opens its doors to the public for viewing of an incredible collection of antiques and beautiful tapestries.
- The pristine Priory garden of Notre Dame d’Orsan is 48km away, where the inspiration of Babylonstoren (in Franschhoek) originated from. Following a visit to Notre Dame d’Orsan, the owners of Babylonstoren commissioned the landscaper to design the concept that now exists in South Africa’s wine region.
Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie