Isabelle, Jean-Daniel and their children Alban and Eulalie are the owners of the Tour de Bousquet, in Pignan. They tell us the story of this building, but also their daily life. Guided tour.
“When we wanted to buy, the first time we told about it, we got, ‘I warn you, it’s special, very special, the person has been wanting to sell for a year, but you forget the oleanders!’ we would rather have gone to a pavilion, with a small exterior, three bedrooms, a barbecue.” A very special good? The idea remains in the corner of the head, but for now Isabelle and Jean-Daniel don’t feel like it anymore. Until their interlocutor tells about it again: the owner is running out of her bridging loan. She has to sell.
“We, we would rather have gone to a pavilion”
Jean-Daniel makes the first visit, alone. For this history buff it’s a revelation† “I was excited. And the higher I climbed, the more excited I was!” For Isabelle it was less obvious: “I, I also saw all the drawbacks that were there: up, down, up, down…” Jean-Daniel persists… and they agree with the saleswoman. The sale closes for approximately €350,000. That was in 2006. Since then, the old waiting room, attached to the tower, has become their living room. “You should know that it was a watchtower. The guards were housed at the base of the tower. We are still in military architecture, it was not made to be inhabited.”
The tour of the tower can begin. On the ground floor: the kitchen. What stands out? The height under the ceiling. Spectacular. A “full arch” vault 7 meters above the ground. The originality is also in the two windows. Killers actually. Without forgetting the walls, 1.50 m thick. The style is modern, the place is bright with the door opening onto the courtyard. On closer inspection, even up there, no cobwebs. Isabelle laughs and shares a secret: one of the first purchases was a telescopic broom.
The upper floor passes: a staircase and a dressing room, with its loophole. There are no windows in the entire tower. However, the set is very light thanks to the skylight from the terrace. Up a new staircase and here is the master suite, to rival the best referenced rooms. First the bathroom. Far from the usual standards. Ditto, a spectacular ceiling height and a beautiful volume.
In winter it is 14°C. We don’t heat, it would be useless
Isabelle appreciates it… but the showers are short : “In winter it is 14°C. We don’t heat, that would be useless.” The bedroom is on the top floor. It’s not Mr. and Mrs. Everyone’s. Don’t forget to lower your head on the stairs. Jean-Daniel smiles “Some people can’t get up, they’re dizzy. My sister-in-law, for example, has never gone upstairs. She’s never gone beyond the bathroom.”
A few more steps, the terrace. With an incredible view. At 360°C. View over the roofs of Pignan, the Gardiole all around. In the distance, the sea on one side, the Pic Saint-Loup on the other. An incredible place, with its dome. That Jean-Daniel and Isabelle do not hesitate to share with friends and neighbors. Especially on July 14. “From here you can see all the fireworks”†
The patrol of the soldiers on the watchtower
He is enthusiastic, tells the story of the stones, is inspired by every mark, every deviation from the vault or every expectation that made the construction of this majestic building possible at the time. We go back a few centuries with him, when the soldiers made their rounds on the cantilevered structure. He also tells about the visits of the peregrine falcons. Well, chews are more invasive. Anyway, with the support of Historic Monuments, they find solutions. Normally, for this construction professional, guide in his spare time in the nearby abbey of Vignogoul. To believe this tower was made for him…
They have been there for sixteen years and he appreciates his luck every day: “I am not satisfied, it corresponds to something I like, I read the building a little”† When they moved in, Eulalie, their daughter, was 5 years old. For her, her house, “It has become commonplace. I live in a vertical house, not horizontal”, she smiles. If the tower has a history, the tower is now part of the family history too. In college, Eulalie had her nickname: “Eulalie de la Tour”† She is now a freshman architecture student. It couldn’t be otherwise.