Guest house and artists’ house in Gard
All summer long, we take you to discover France with an inspiring guide, this week, direction the Gard where Caroline de Burlet and Olivier Girault welcome us in their haven of peace in the middle of nature.
They have imagined their guest house as a large family home, respectful of the strong regional identity.a refuge on the borders of the Ardèche, where one would dream of spending the whole summer, in the shade of the dry stone walls, overlooking the green hills, far from mass tourism.Caroline de Burlet and Olivier Girault are lovers of old stones and this is not their first attempt at renovation. Former owners of the stables of the Château d’Aujargues in the Gard, of a barn in nearby Aigremont, and of village houses in Aveyron, they love above all abandoned places in the heart of unspoilt nature, places that are just waiting to be revitalised. The couple have been looking for a new nest for a long time, with the idea of working and living there all year round with their two young daughters, Jade and Garance. It is while walking in this corner of Occitania that they fell under the charm of this typical farmhouse of peasant architecture located in the hamlet of Monteil, a few turns of the wheel from Montclus, today classified as one of the most beautiful villages in France”. We had been thinking about opening a guest house for ten years and after a few adventures, we decided to buy a house , uninhabited for a hundred years, which summed up everything we were looking for: an exceptional view, peace and quiet, space to set up the studio of the painter Olivier, a courtyard and a large piece of land still fallow where we could create a garden and a swimming pool”, says Caroline.
The Butterflies House
After two years of work, carried out in stages thanks to the skills of the wonderful local craftsmen, the house has regained its splendour.” We always respect what we restore. When I caress these limestone walls, I realize that we are only the tenants of the moment,” explains Olivier. The old building has been totally transformed while preserving its character and materials from the past, such as the magnificent stone slab floors. Every door, beam and shutter has been recycled to fit out the interiors.Every door, beam and shutter has been recycled to make the most of the space, whitewashed some of the vaulted ceilings and thick walls, laid waxed concrete floors on the ground floor, designed openings and a large bay window on the new terrace overlooking the sloping garden.christened La Maison Papillons, it has been welcoming guests for two seasons.In the former stables, which have become communal living rooms, you will find, on one side, the kitchen and a large dining table found in Barjac; on the other, comfortable sofas surrounding a coffee table made, as part of the furniture, by Olivier, all in a chic bohemian spirit, where mineral and vegetal complement each other wonderfully.In addition to the three rooms of the main farmhouse, which are beautifully decorated (we love the furniture made from old olive trunks, the Tunisian lights and Moroccan carpets bought from the Foreign Affairs in Uzès, the linen linens of the Holiday House and all the pottery made of antique stoneware), there is another room, magnificent with its vaulted arches, and an independent duplex apartment with a simple and refined layout”. Our guideline was to offer a very restful universe,” comments Caroline, “The old fallow meadow has been totally redesigned: olive trees, lavender and rosemary now blossom in the magnificent terraced garden”. From the very first year, we planted aromatic herbs to bring back insects and birds, each of us planted his or her own fruit tree, and each season we continue by taking care to imagine their growth in harmony with the space of the garden. It’s a real discovery, this garden teaches us patience and naturally dictates its needs”, underlines Olivier.