Chateau LaCage Chambre d'Hote

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The traditional terra cotta canal tiles on the domed roof exactly matched those on the roof of the Chateau itself because they came from one of the small outbuildings near the garden that was built at the same as the Chateau. It had been used to store garden equipment and tools but had been replaced with a larger building containing a greenhouse. The roof tiles had been carefully saved and were able to be used again for the roof of this Petite Chateau. Renee was intrigued with the intricate process of securing each tile. She was especially curious about the thick plaster that covered the bottom of the first row of tiles. The workmen explained that though Provence usually enjoys wonderful sunny weather, the winter wind, locally referred to as “Mistral” blows with such force that it would peel the tiles right off the roof if the curved hollows of the bottom row were not solidly filled with plaster. This recessed plastered tier of tiles called the genoise is a characteristic element of the roofs in Provence.

There was a certain formality about the front of the big Chateau and Philippe thought it would be fun to add a touch of this formality to the Petite Chateau even though it’s small size suggested it was really just a cottage. Renee wasn’t so sure because she wanted to have flower boxes by the front windows. They decided this little chateau could have both! Philippe designed the symmetrical front steps and added the classic little urns at each side. Sophie thought Philippe was not only a creative writer but a creative designer as well.

The interior ceiling of the dome was constructed using the same kind of rough hewn beams that were found in the Island cage. However, in between the beams, at Sophie’s suggestion, slats, called rondins were placed close together to provide support for the heavy tile roof. The space between the slats was filled with plaster. As in the cage on the island, the lights of the chandelier gave a wonderful soft glow to this unusual ceiling.

The wrought iron railing around the little bedroom balcony was very similar in design to the balconies of the main Chateau. Renee suggested painting it the same soft terra cotta color as the doors and the roof tiles. From the bed, in the morning, the view of the garden through the lacy openings of the wrought iron was enhanced by the soft color. At night it caught the rays of the moonlight. Because of its diminutive size, Louis referred to it as the “Romeo and Juliet” balcony.

Creamy lace curtains were hung at the windows of  both the bedroom and the breakfast room but Renee thought the tall bedroom windows should have some additional treatment. She had been charmed by the umbrella shaped awnings over the windows of several little shops in the village of L’Isle-sur-la Sorgue. (The town’s curious name came from the branches of the Sorgue river that divided the town.)

She thought the shape of these awnings would work well as a cornice over the arched end windows and the center one would serve as a canopy over the bed. Louis helped her create the metal framework to achieve the umbrella shape. Over these metal frames they stretched and secured the same lace fabric used for the curtains and ruffled valances over the other windows. Sophie liked the touch of “whimsy” they added to this romantic room.

The hand quilted boutis or bed cover and colorful linens were found in a bedroom specialty shop. Renee was also able to custom order the lovely floral border rug. She left samples of the fabrics used in the bedroom as a color guide for the rug. The finished rug coordinated beautifully with everything in the room.

The little oval sewing table that held the evening’s refreshments once belonged to Sophie’s Austrian grandmother. The rather plain but lovely old table was created by her grandfather and given to his young bride as a wedding present. Sophie remembered seeing the table as a little girl while visiting her grandmother in Vienna.

Somehow through the years, a few balls of crochet yarn and even a small doily had managed to stay with the table. Sophie thought its origin as a wedding gift made it appropriate for this honeymoon cottage. Even the presence of the wine decanter had significance, since the wine came from her father’s winery.

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