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What we love

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We’ve always enjoyed reading, whether fiction or non-fiction, sharing our enthusiasms and exchanging opinions with other readers.

Our library is, of course, at your disposal.

The books reflect our personal interests: history and literature, especially of the 19th and 20th centuries, France and the British Isles, popular culture and fine arts; as well as photography, film, jazz, detective and other pulp fiction. Just borrow what takes your fancy...
To help you organise your outings you’ll also find books and brochures on the Perche, Maine and Ile de France; cathedrals, festivals, concerts, brocantes, restaurants and transport.

If you’re in a quandary as to what to read, "Dr Roger" will be happy to diagnose your problem and prescribe a course of reading...

If you’re a writer yourself, in search of peace and quiet, you’ll have all our dictionaries and reference works to hand (particularly covering the last two centuries, of course) . You can also isolate yourself in our retreat for resident artists: the fruit store overlooking the valley.


The years 1870-1939 are a favourite period for us: the Victorian era, the « Belle Epoque», WWI and the interwar period, produced varied and fascinating styles.

In France the «style troubadour », and the neo-gothic movement in England,
Art Nouveau in France and "Arts & Crafts" in England,
Art Deco, in France from 1925, and subsequently throughout Europe.
These styles are reflected in the rooms and bedrooms of La Mouchère. We started with a few pieces of furniture that were already in our family, but visiting auction rooms in England and in France became an enjoyable habit and with the passing years we found ourselves in a totally "pre-war" atmosphere : time stopped in 1939, at least as far as the visible is concerned (though comfort is not to be ignored and we wouldn’t want to be without our 21st century heat-pumps).

La Mouchère was in the same family for almost 200 years and reflects the style of its period : it’s an attractive example of a 19th century country house in which the family valued its creature comforts. So in the 1870s, the old porous floor tiles («les tomettes») were replaced by decorative cement tiles (with neo-gothic motifs in the style of William de Morgan). At the same time an Alsatian ceramic stove was installed in the dining room (it still works) and the hearths were fitted with cast iron reflectors and hot air vents, manufactured in the Monduit workshops.

In the drawing room, four paintings on wood panels above the doors represent, in a naïve style, the four wonders of St-Cyr-la-Rosière: the Manoir of l’Angenardière, the Priory of Sainte-Gauburge, the village of St-Cyr with its church spire and La Mouchère itself claiming its place beside the other three. These works are not signed but a member of the Monduit family tells us that they were painted by one of their forebears, Monsieur Bodin (around 1840).

During our works at La Mouchère, as we repaired plaster, floorboards and beams we frequently came upon graffiti left by builders and carpenters and decorators of the past, who signed and dated their work : « j’ai fini ce parqué(sic) en juin 1807 » (I finished this parquet floor in June 1807), or « terminé en septembre 1917, année de la Grande Guerre » (completed in September 1917, year of the Great War). In the barn, a signature is dated 1759.


Enchanted by the natural style of many gardens in Sussex we were delighted to discover so many similarities at La Mouchère:

centuries old trees, a hilly landscape, views to be exploited, the river and waterfall, as well as low walls and other architectural elements.

We decided to improve communication between the house and grounds by making new openings: two pairs of French windows, one on the north side to enable visitors to arrive without having to climb steps, and the other, on the south, opening the kitchen out onto the terrace, for meals and apéritifs.

Another change has removed vehicles from house front and south lawn by adding steps to protect the new terrace and providing a discrete car park a short way from the house.

WORKS in 2009-10
The new south-facing terrace
Restoration of courtyard and horse pond
Planting of fruit trees

In 2012-2013
Dry stone wall on the north side: "The Great Wall of the Perche"
New flowerbeds on the north side : rhododendrons, nandinas, conifers etc…
Plantings on the south side: umbrella pines, robinias, silver birches, a paulownia, etc

For 2013-14
Archaeology of the walled orchard, with its walls and steps
Restoration of box hedges in the kitchen garden
Siting of a century-old olive tree near the greenhouse
Refection of damaged fencing alongside the meadow and orchards
A "mixed border" along the outside of the orchard wall
The Peter Pan clearing, and other forestry work
Refection of the mill and access to the waterfall

If you want to join us in these mammoth tasks just let us know. WOOFERS welcome !!!