For Sale - Our Piece of Heaven on Earth

Well ... Le Cormier is for sale. I guess it's true that all good things come to an end. This is a truly outstanding property and we are sad to leave it. We hope the new owners who buy it will cherish it as we have, passing it on down to further generations. Le Cormier has stood for over 200 years and it will continue standing for at least another 200! It is a good, strong house now brought up to 21st century living standards.

We have owned Le Cormier since we first saw it in 1999. We have loved renovating the house, barn and grounds, restoring it to its former self while adding those important elements of today's modern life - safe and reliable electricity, a good, modern water and septic system, updated gas-fired heating system and satellite-based communications and entertainment. It sits in a wonderful countryside location, near many of the renowned kings' castles, perfect for entertaining friends and family or just hanging out with Mother Nature.

Le Cormier affords its new owners endless possibilities

Le Cormier sits on around eleven acres (outlined in blue, below). The house totals over 3,400 square feet (320 square meters) of living space and is divided into two main sections. The first is a two-bedroom, two bath living area with full kitchen, a living room and a dining room. This part of the house has a wood burning stove in the dining room and a working fireplace in the sitting room. The second area is a large, entertainment-oriented space. It has a master bedroom with en suite, a walk-in closet, an extra toilet with wash basin, a gourmet kitchen with two sinks (one for food prep and one for clean up) and an indoor BBQ fireplace, a large salon with large fireplace and an elegant French-design, L-shaped staircase made from old oak (that is, large oak beams, hundreds of years old, recovered from torn down houses and barns). Overlooking the ground floor is a large mezzanine comprising the entertainment facilities (TV, stereo,speakers, etc), office, library-lined connecting walkway and spare sitting/sewing/bedroom area. Also upstairs, behind a privacy door is an extra, undeveloped 860 square feet (80 square meters) which can be easily converted into two or three bedrooms with shared bath.

Le Cormier has been an income producing property and can continue being so. It was run for over ten years as a two room (each with en suite and sitting room) bed and breakfast for couples. It can also be run as a gite - a "hands-off" B&B. The region of the Loire Valley within which Le Cormier is situated experiences over ten percent of the tourism business in all of France. Simply renting out the first section of the house as a gite at 50% occupancy and at nominal rates (say, € 15,000 gross income per year) will return around 5% on that half of the house (ROI) while the whole house itself will continue to rise in value. That's better than putting your money in a bank today. Certainly more can be earned with more effort.

If you are in love with horses and want to have them at Le Cormier, there is plenty of room for them here. We currently keep three sheep under the pine trees in a five acre, fenced parcel. Horses can be kept there or they can also be kept in the back of the lot on around three acres (currently unfenced) that also holds a pond.

For those who love gardening, Le Cormier has a 400 square foot greenhouse (40 square meters) and a fenced, 2,400 square foot (225 square meters) vegetable garden with asparagus, peaches, strawberries and raspberries growing all year round. We also plant beets, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, garlic, eggplant, peas, carrots, beans and cucumbers each year.

We have three satellite installations at Le Cormier that will come with the property: Freesat from the UK with over 300 English-speaking channels, France TNT, with around 30 French-speaking channels and, lastly, a high speed (30 mbs, max) internet connection via BigBlu in Ireland. To keep the satellite equipment means only taking over the monthly internet BigBlu fees. The English and French satellite systems are free to use and come with the house - just add you own TV.

Le Cormier has a rich history and is one of the oldest properties in the area

In 1804 the Napoleonic Code, regulating divorce, inheritance and property ownership, among other things, was established by Napoleon Bonaparte. By 1817 the land plat above, showing Le Cormier and all the small-plot numbers around it (individual owners?), had been produced. The original access to Le Cormier changed to its present position in the mid 1980s when the road, L'Hermitage au Cormier (from Hermitage to Le Cormier) was cut, making the land around the house one whole piece.

From interviews with the neighbors, a few now passed away, we heard that years ago much of the territory (land and homes) around Le Cormier was owned by the family Pecard. In the day (a long time ago), grandfather Pecard evidently disinherited his son (sons?) in favor of his grandchildren. This was very difficult to do at the time, so it is hard to know how much weight to give this part of the tale. However, by the time it passed to the grandchildren, many of the properties, including Le Cormier, were being rented to tenant farmers. The grandchildren decided to sell many of their properties to extract the cash.

Word-of-mouth has it that, at that time - starting sometime before WWII, Le Cormier was tenanted by a Polish family by the name of Cezak. The Cezak family grew endive in the barn (which had sand for its floor and terra cotta tile drainage underneath) and kept cows for milk production. Not only was the land rented, but the milk cows were rented, too. But after buying the house and all the land around it (about 100 hectares or so) from the grandchildren, the Cezak family went bankrupt sometime after WWII and before 1985. The debt was more than the farm could support. The family evidently returned to Poland, leaving everything behind, including their debts. The whole property fell into disuse with, undoubtedly, unpaid and mounting taxes. Ownership eventually passed to Sambin.

In July 1985, M. Christophe Michel Surin (of Rilly-sur-Loire?), bought Le Cormier from the village for 10,000 FF. He convinced the village to cut the road to Hermitage that bisected the fields around the house (passing between the house and the pond, heading into the forest to the northwest) and subsequently sold all the land, except for the house and its 11 acres, to a local farmer, Robert Barbou of Pontlevoy. As of this writing, Robert's son, Alain, still works all the land around Le Cormier.

In December 1989, Madam Neu, an interior designer and artist living in Paris, bought the house as her summer home. She was instrumental in planting many of the trees around Le Cormier, including all the pine trees to the east of the house and the poplars which follow, for the most part, the southern border line. It seems that she also planted many of the plum trees, oak trees and the Japanese walnut trees on the far side of the pond. Having the pine forest entitles Le Cormier to a slight reduction in taxes as it is a property devoted to agriculture.

But it also seems that she didn't do too much to the house or barn to protect them, as the buildings slowly crumbled over the years. She sold Le Cormier to us in 1999. From that time and well into 2005, we restored Le Cormier. We have lived full time in it since.

In 2006 Le Cormier opened as a Bed and Breakfast. Two apartments on the west side of the house, comprising almost half of the square footage, were devoted to this enterprise during the late spring, summer and early fall months. The B&B attracted mostly English-speaking couples from around the world who were visiting France and wanted to see the King's hunting castles Chambord, Chenonceaux, Cheverny and the like, visit the gardens around here (there are many), drink the local wine and visit the charming villages. For six years, we were listed in Allister Sawday's Special Places to Stay, French Bed and Breakfast. We are still listed on TripAdvisor, though we have essentially suspended operations.