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Domaine de Primard : Oh, the good life!

Domaine de Primard : Oh, the good life!

“To live happy, let’s live hidden away” wrote the playwright Jean-Pierre Claris de Florian (1755-1794) at the end of the 18th century. It was during this period that his contemporary, General de Dampierre (1756-1793), built Château de Primard, whose style heralded that of the Directory.  Beauty emanates not only from the architecture of this splendidly isolated bucolic residence but also the river Eure that runs alongside and the tranquility of the surrounding Normandy landscape. 

Gentle awakening

Gentle awakening

In 2018, Domaine de Primard was acquired by Frédéric Biousse and Guillaume Foucher, the creators of the young hotel collection Domaines de Fontenille, of which Primard is the seventh establishment. After two and a half years of works, the sleeping beauty finally woke up, completely rejuvenated. Over this time, the chain of lounges, the small boudoir and the large kitchen opening to the patio were completely refurbished and the site renamed La Maison sur l’Eure. The 39 bedrooms and suites of the hotel were distributed among the four buildings of the park, namely Maison sur Eure, Maison du Lac, Barn and Maison du Verger, all of which open to or look onto the various gardens. 

For thirty-five years, the Domaine belonged to the actress Catherine Deneuve. Her passion for gardens led her to entrust the reorganisation of the park to the renowned landscape gardener and Anvers native, Jacques Wirtz (1924-2018), who had previously renovated, among others, the Carrousel gardens between the Louvre and Tuileries in Paris. 

Secret gardens

Secret gardens

The artist’s distinctive style can still be seen today in the undulating fluffy forms of the boxwood topiaries in dialogue with the surrounding hills. Over the years, several rare tree species have been planted, providing exceptional displays of leafing and flowering from the end of winter to the end of autumn. Also noteworthy are the rose plants: the more than 250 varieties constitute a remarkable collection in themselves. Last but not least are the perennials that season after season provide a sequence of flowerings, often releasing mild scents, making for a delightful sensorial experience for passers-by.  

In 2019, the young owners decided to create a new, completely organic vegetable garden: Le Potager. 

Direct to the kitchen from the vegetable garden and orchard

Direct to the kitchen from the vegetable garden and orchard

Cultivation is based on permaculture principles with protection from winds provided by arbours. Much of the produce used by the Domaine originates from the vegetable garden and the on-site orchard. Guests at the hotel can choose from three restaurants, each offering a different experience but all serving seasonal dishes: Églantine offers a fine dining experience; Octave serves bistrot fare; Table d'Hôtes welcomes two to twelve diners around a single large table for a cosy family ambience.

Luxury, tranquility and delight

Luxury, tranquility and delight

The fitting-out of the bedrooms, lounges and restaurants showcases the best of French craftsmanship: fabrics by Pierre Frey, pottery by Faïenceries de Gien and Faïencerie de Charolles, Maison Sarah Lavoine and Sylvie Coquet, tableware by Elisabeth Monroy and Isabelle Poupinel contribute to the understated elegance of the venue. Tectona was delighted to have been selected to provide the outdoor furniture next to the pool, on the banks of the Eure and on the patios; specifically, the Directory-inspired 1800 collection in black, the iconic Roma parasol, the classic Exbury bench, the comfortable Copacabana folding bed and, on the teak pontoons, the Southamptonsun lounger.

Staying at Domaine de Primard is also about immersing yourself in nature, wandering aimlessly along the paths that snake among the majestic trees, sitting down on one of the many small teak pontoons dotted along the riverbanks, cut off from the daily hubbub of society to enjoy the surroundings or to read without distraction. 

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