19 rue Cayeux
Our Gîte is found in the grounds of our house at 19 rue Cayeux, just a few hundred metres from the centre of the village of Mouy. We have lived in the house since May 2010 and the Gîte is our first attempt at renovation as well as at hospitality!
The main house was built in 1902, probably for the owners of one of the many mills and factories for which Mouy was becoming famous. It was built in the 'maison bourgeoise' style of which there are many examples in the town. It is not quite the classical symmetrical bourgeoise shape as it appears that a block was added to the side at some point in its early history.
Another previous owner was a famous music critic for 'Le Figaro' (possibly Claude Rostand?) and it was perhaps during his tenure that the rumoured visit by Charles de Gaulle occured. Whether the other rumours of Edith Piaf having stayed in the house are true I do not know!
The building housing the Gîte was originally a stable block, and there is still evidence of this in the hay rack in the end room and the stable doors on the garages. It is possible that this building is much older than the house on the plot, as evidenced from the construction of the rear wall. We'll have to do a bit more research to uncover the truth.
The gardens of the property extend to around 3500 m2, just under an acre. They are completely walled and unusual in the town in that they are complete! Many of the remaining large houses have sold off part of their gardens over the years for development.
Within the garden is a stream, one of the many small tributaries then run through (and under the town), and a small spring fed pond (which lends its name to the Gîte itself). There is actually a second tributary which runs under the surface right under the Gîte , you can see it where the rainwater from the Gîte roof runs away. We have had ducks on the stream and on the pond although they get a little concerned when the dog is in the garden!
Of particular interest in the garden is its centrepiece, an enormous mature 'Tulipier' (Tulip tree or Yellow Poplar). These trees are native to North America but were introduced to Europe in the 17th and 18th century, most notably in the garden of the 'Petit Trianon' at Versailles by Marie Antoinette. Nowadays they are normally only seen in parks or arboretums.
We also have a stunning line of mature lime trees running almost the length of one side of the garden, as well as a few fruit trees on the other side of the stream.
Despite being so close to the centre of the town the only noise you can hear are the church bells that peal throughout the day and the school children playing in their playground a few hundred metres away.
Article content received from: Gite in Picardie, France - La Source Tranquille,