A historical mansion

A bit of history...

An «hôtel particulier» of the 18th century in Ardeche

The mansion was built on the foundations of old parts of the city wall of Joyeuse. As the main city of the duchy of Joyeuse, Joyeuse city had the privilege of having two city walls (see for instance the famous city of Carcassonne in South Western France). The second wall stopped exactly where the mansion will be built, and in particular, there was very likely a house guard there, as can be proven by the evidence of a very old arcade on the right edge of the façade belonging to the second city wall and two arrow slits. In the XVIth century, the Allamel family, famous notaries of Joyeuse, who owned the former house there, united with the Bournet, an old aristocratic family, wich became the Allamel de Bournet. They decided in early 18th century to rebuild and embellish the house in a more recent and fashioned architecture way.

The «hôtel particulier» became the place where they used to stay in winter as a second home. The Allamel de Bournet, lord of Valloubieres and landlord of great grounds in the Grospierres area, had at this time big political influence on Joyeuse city life. During the French Revolution, Mr Allamel de Bournet, quite popular and well-known as moderate, succeeded to be elected in the Republic as representative of his district, trying to promote the former duchy of Joyeuse as «prefecture» of the new departement of Ardeche. Though, the «Terror» period gave the opportunity to Robespierre extremist supports in Joyeuse to get rid of many challengers as he was, and he, as his son, were beheaded. As a consequence, Joyeuse didn’t not become «prefecture». The Allamel de Bournet will continue to have influence on Joyeuse every day life in 19th century, by financing the former hospital or letting the mansion as a catholic school, but will since then develop their activities in the Grospierres area (in particular their vineyards) till they sold the mansion in the 1990s.

The «hôtel particulier» as we see it today hasn’t changed much since the early years of 18th century, as we can see it in the gorgeous staircase, the style of the wooden doors, the great windows. Part of its original decoration was lost or moved to other properties of the Allamel de Bournet family. Though, for our greatest pleasure, the 18th century French typical plan is unchanged, the doors and the staircase are intact. In particular, the main façade is rare and wonderful, with not less than 7 great windows on the whole, and there is a beautiful terrace on the 1st floor looking on the main square of Joyeuse old city center. When we bought it in 2009, we decided to renovate it step by step with one principle : give this place its soul back.