Thursday, January 9, 2014

Le Pavillon de Madame, Verailles

As promised here I bring you another small mansion from the book "The smaller houses and gardens of Versailles", this one simply entitled "Le Pavillon de Madame".  While the address is stated, 63 Avenue de Paris, I can't find any information about the house and according to a googlemap search it has either been torn down since 1926 or the address has changed. If anyone has any information I would appreciate learning more!
The house is a delightful arrangement in the French tradition in that there is no front facade and each of the 4 facades is equally attractive.
The exterior is a light grey painted stucco to mimic limestone with a rusticated base and quoins (corner treatment) on the upper floor. The mansard roof is slate while the beautiful dormers are of lead.
As you can see in the site plan above the house is situated in an enormous garden which hides the surrounding houses. It provides a very formal French garden which is in fact a potager or kitchen garden -where flowers mingle with fruits and vegetables. At the end of a path is the orangery where more exotic fruits and plants could grow.
The tall trees surrounding the garden not only hide the neighbors but other agricultural necessities; a chicken run, a rabbitry, and numerous outbuildings.
The plan is unusual in that it is laid out as a town house. The dining room on the main floor opens to the garden and terrace with kitchens and service spaces surrounding it. Only up the staircase are the other rooms you'd expect to find on the ground level. Even in a small house such as this there is a stair for the master and another for the servants.
The house contains only one bedroom going back to what I talked about in the last post HERE that these houses were private retreats from the palace of Versailles and not meant for entertaining or even families.
The rooms are all small and cozy but feature fine detailing such as this painted boiserie in the entry hall which the article states was painted white.
The stair has interesting faux-marble painted boiserie and patterns that I think show the 18th century interest in the discovery of Herculaneum and Pompeii. Notice the beautiful chevron patterned floors.
Behind the front hall the dining room continues the chevron floors with pale green painted boiserie covering the walls. Notice the painted scenic overdoors.
This is probably the most charming room in the house, don't you think, with French doors opening out to the terrace?
The eclectic array of furniture is very of the 1920s and today for that matter; a very comfortable arrangement.
This seating group by the fireplace is probably where the owner spent a lot of time before and after meals.
Upstairs the boiserie is left natural and unpainted with the carved details picked out in gold leaf.  The chandelier is of course more in the French taste while the assortment of furniture almost feels English to my eye.
No shortage of light or garden views from up here either. I love how the chandelier reflects the light even without the electricity turned on.
It pains me to think this may have been torn down! What do you think -could you live in a mini mansion such as this? Live stylishly in a smaller space is what this house screams to me!


Mark D. Ruffner said...

Hi, Stefan,

I think this house was probably used by the older unmarried daughter of one of the kings, a station usually given the title "Madame Royale," which was the equivalent of "Princess Royal." It's lovely, and I particularly like that all the facades are equal.

Stephilius said...

Wonderful. I don't think it would be - too - difficult to line in - such - a small space. Besides, there's a whole third story, and one doesn't have to - completely - fill it with servants. ; )

The only thing I don't like is the decoration of the staircase. It's very awkwardly arranged, and I don't think those two design elements - the heavy faux marbre molding and the grotesque/chinoiserie panels - work well together. One or the other, not both. (And a lot less of it, if it's the former.)

deana sidney said...

I just love these stories and the ethereal black and white pictures... it really does see like another world, does't it. Gorgeous details make me want to buy the book!!!
...and yes, I could live there in a heartbeat.

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Mark, I wonder if thats who it referred to. The other houses in the book though are very explicit who they belonged to so I began to doubt that it was a royal connection. Hopefully someone will know and fill us in!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Stephilius, totally agree on the staircase. It's a bit awkward and DIY if interesting!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

Deana -you would LOVE this book!!

The Devoted Classicist said...

I have never seen this house in person, so I don't know if it still exists or not. But I have long loved the elegant proportions and the layout of the rooms. The height of the tall main/first floor is very chic; it reminds me - in general terms - of the Clarence Mack-designed house in Palm Beach known as Lakeview House.

Loi Thai, Tone on Tone said...

Oh, yes! I could live there!! Fabulous mansard roof with those oeil-de-boeuf windows.

Marc Philippe said...

Dear Architect

Yes the house still exist but it s now part of a private school " Ecole Sainte Genevieve". But you'd better not try to visit the place , you'd be terribly disapointed : it s now set between a rugby court and a disgracious school chapel . The building has been majorly altered.
As for the interiors, I am not very optimistic, the pavilion is used to host the religious teachers of the school and they probably turned the reception rooms into numerous bedrooms and bathrooms....

Marc Philippe said...

Mark, this house belonged to Marie Josephine de Savoie, Comtesse de Provence. She was the wife of the brother of Louis XVI, the Comte de Provence ( he will be king many years later after the Revolution and Napoleon's empire when monarchy came back, he was Louis XVIII)
She was the sister in law of Marie Antoinette.
At the court , the number two after the King was named "Monsieur frère du Roi" and the Comtesse de Provence was named just "Madame" being the second in honor after Marie Antoinette.
All this story to explain why this nice house was called Pavillon Madame

She is known in french history as the "reine velue" the hairy queen. She was very ugly and bad smelling, and had no spirit, which was two big mistakes in Versailles
She is also famous because she had a quite open lesbian relationship with her reader.

On the same property she had built by Chalgrin a place for music known as the Pavillon de Musique de la Comtesse de Provence
It still exists with few alterations and it's a fantastic example of neoclassicism

Windlost said...

How utterly charming (and delightfully written, I might add). I fell in love immediately with this tiny (haha) house. One bedroom. Perfection! I think I would spend a lot of time on the terrace after dinner. I love everything about this place. Do tell us if you find out more about it. I hope it was not demolished. How sad that would be. i love the site plan too.

xo Terri

Windlost said...

Haha. I just read the remaining comments. The hairy queen? Sorta ruins the cachet, non?

xo Terri

Karena Albert said...

Oh yes, Stefan I could easily live in this beautiful home! I love the facade and the staircase.

Thank you so much for visiting!

Kansas City Culture

Nancy {at} powellbrower at home said...

This is so interesting! yes I could live there, and I hope it wasn't torn down! It is exquisite. I love the gardens and and all the painted detail in the house. Xo Nancy