Tarn – upmarket guest house and gite business
Secluded rural setting – near market town and golf course
Maison de maître plus guest house and gite
14 bedrooms – 2 pools – functions room – weddings – truffle oak plantation
€1,340,000 * ref: 237
The Tarn département has often been likened to Tuscany, in Italy, as it boasts the same array of hilltop villages, the same warm stone used in the construction of houses and chateaux, the same rolling hills with flanks of sunflower, vine and woodland. The difference, of course, is that the Tarn is considerably cheaper.
This Tarn property is an old 16th century estate dominating the Agout river valley between Lavaur and Castres. It’s a strategic postion which dates back to the Middle Ages and the region’s prosperity due to the exploitation of pastel or woad. Hence the watchtower. There’s an old ecclesiastical ‘roman road’ (probably no older than the 15th century) which links Lavaur to Puylaurens (and hence the Mediterranean coast) which runs past the estate and is a much used hiking trail.
There are two main buildings: the owners’ maison de maître, a fine stone-built building which has been totally renovated with style and taste, and a separate guest house housing 5 guest rooms and an independent 4-bedroom gite. One of the guest rooms is in the watchtower. In total, the two houses afford more than 1100m² of usable space (825m² living space).
The main house comprises an open-plan kitchen giving on to the south-facing terrace, a splendid mediaeval dining room, lounge, study and utility room on the ground floor, and four bedrooms on the first floor: two ensuite. There are two further ensuite bedrooms on the ground floor which can be used privately or for guests as they have independent entrances. The whole building is centrally heated by oil-fired boiler. The owners have their private pool on the raised terrace on the south side of the maison de maître.
The guest house/gite building is completely independent of the owners’ house. It comprises the watchtower (transformed into a bijou chambre d’hôte), a guest floor with lounge, dining area, breakfast kitchen and 4 ensuite guest bedrooms (30m² – 33m² each). On a second level below the guest area is the 70m² functions room which is used for receptions, wedding parties, corporate meetings and yoga classes. Finally, on the eastern and southern side of this massive building, we find the 4-bedroomed gite with big kitchen, lounge, 3 bathrooms and two terraces. Underfloor heating throughout this building.
Outside there are all sorts of outhouses and garages: one dedicated to storage of linen and bedding, another given over to ping-pong and ‘covered’ activites and, of course, a wine cellar. Guests have their own 10×6 metre pool.
The rest of the estate is a wooded paradise with an orchard, a vegetable patch, a stand of exotic trees providing shade and greenery and, most interesting of all, a plantation of truffle oaks. These are now maturing and giving a substantial quantity of excellent black truffles each year!
This Tarn property is not just a beautiful place to live but it also a well-run and successful business. The combination of gite and guest rooms means that large groups can be accommodated and catered for all year round. As the estate is less than 50 minutes from Toulouse (and very close to an excellent 18-hole golf course), there is no problem attracting both corporate and family guests from the local aeronautical or pharmaceutical complexes. The potential here is for someone with culinary ambitions: currently no table d’hôte is offered to guests and a chef or caterers have to be brought in for bigger events. Someone who could use the estate’s truffles, vegetable garden and abundant local produce in a creative fashion could take the business to the next level.
* agency fees included – reference n°: 237