on the photos to see them bigger.
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
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
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.