People walk past this secret every day, without any idea of what lies behind those decorative blue gates; an authentic getaway in the middle of our beautiful, historical village of Cotignac, Provence.
This place is our romantic dream; we’ve preserved its original charm but updated the villa with today’s comforts. It’s our special place to be together, relax and have fun. To recover, enjoy life, recharge batteries and be outside of our normally hectic world.Anne Helene and Vidar, owners of Lou Marronie
The 750m² manor was built in 1790, by an expert builder from Italy who created the unique façade. When Anne Helene and Vidar bought the property in 2006, they restored it very carefully over the next two years, doing their best to keep the charm intact, and to bring it back to the way it was.
The property has its roots in sericulture – the cultivation of silk worms to produce silk. The four-story manor was the owner’s residence, with multiple generations living in the middle floors, and workers living on the top floor. The silk worm farm itself was the building next door, which has since been sub-divided into various apartments.
The microclimate in Cotignac was apparently excellent for producing silk worms, and there are several other buildings in the village that used to be farms too (the Musée de Cotignac has interesting info about this period). Other large families have since resided at Lou Marronie, and Anne Helene and Vidar bought the property off Mme Bagarre, whose father was a former mayor of Cotignac.
Interior Design Inspiration
The idea of the renovation project was to keep as much of the old as possible and renovate it carefully. Anne Helene and Vidar took the soothing Provençal colour palette from the original mural in the entrance hall.
Each suite was assigned a colour: blue, beige, yellow or gold. The broken ceiling stucco was copied and remodelled. Old storage rooms were converted into bathrooms to avoid changing the lovely bedrooms, kitchens and living rooms. All roof tiles were taken down, washed and put back on restored roof beams. The house had up to 10 roof leaks, and the whole top floor was rotten!
Nobody had entered the dining room/lounge area on the ground floor for nearly 50 years. While they were doing the property inspection, Anne Helene and Vidar fell through the rotten floor boards onto the earth a metre below. At one point in the renovation, it seemed like the whole staircase was falling down. They reached a point of desperation, being tired of all the work and problems, where Anne Helene sat down on the partly broken staircase and cried …!
The garden was wildly overgrown, rambling over terraces on different levels. The swimming pool wasn’t there yet, but they were delighted to discover the original watering system, an aquaduct, partly intact. Their next project is to restore the green house area on the top terrace (given the time and resources).
Why Cotignac and this Manor?
Anne Helene and Vidar had been travelling around looking for a charming old village and wanted a house within walking distance. When they first drove up the Cours Gambetta in Cotignac, they agreed that this was the village. Luckily they also found Lou Marronie, and fell in love with the charming property as soon as they stepped into the now kitchen. At the time it was a storage room « mancave » for M. Bagarre to watch TV. With Anne Helene and Vidar’s project management experience in Norway, they understood it would be a lot of work – luckily they didn’t know how much …!
This 13-bedroom, 7-bathroom- 3-kitchen manor, is available for weekly rentals throughout the year – visit https://loumarronie.com/en/