You use the term “Collection” when referring to the set of hotels making up Domaines de Fontenille. Is this for any particular reason?
Both Frédéric and I come from worlds far removed from the hotel sector. I had created a contemporary art gallery and Frédéric was working in fashion. Hence we were both very familiar with the term “collection”. It was love at first sight for every one of our houses, like feeling moved when seeing an original work of art. (Credit Photo Yann Deret)
Although very different from one another, the houses have in common a very strong individual character, which we have preserved, and together they form a coherent collection.
What particular role does Domaine de Primard occupy within the Collection?
It’s the most romantic house in the world! The house and its gardens are so beautiful… they take your breath away. The first reaction, as per usual, was to keep it for ourselves but let’s face it, it’s way too big for only two people. It’s a human-sized house hidden among the meanders of the Eure. This house alone summarises everything we seek. Its Directory architecture is of absolute purity, noble but not ostentatious. The gardens, created by Jacques Wirtz and Catherine Deneuve, attest to a rare degree of subtlety and poetry, the fruits of the landscape gardener’s rigour and the former owner’s elegance. (© Benoit Linero)
Primard is also a “water house”, situated as it is on the banks of the Eure, in the heart of a 40-hectare park, with a pond, a lake and streams that snake through the gardens and around the house. For the refurbishment, we decided to bring nature indoors, so we installed a roof made from suspended dry flowers in the entrance and also works of arts featuring a floral vocabulary in dialogue with the gardens.
What are your guests looking for in particular when they stay at Domaine de Primard?
The proximity to Giverny and to the magnificent Château d’Anet, pearl of the French Renaissance, attract visitors from all over France and the world. Many of our guests are Parisians who want to stay in the countryside but not to the extent of wanting to own a property there. They make the most of their stay at Primard to immerse themselves in nature, to take their children on boat rides on the Eure, to go for bike rides in the park and surrounding areas, to see the wildlife, all the while feeling like they’re at their second home. And let’s not overlook the gastronomic pleasures on offer at our three restaurants!
Finally there’s the poetry that emanates from the river, when you’re lying on a daybed, simply observing the swans and ducks gliding over the water or the sun advancing across the sky.
Why did you select the Tectona brand for the Primard gardens?
To our eyes and in terms of design, Tectona represents the art of outdoor living, for the elegance of its furniture and also its contemporary spirit. So we chose the rather classic 1800 collection for one of our restaurants and we also chose the contemporary lines of the Copacabana collection that is also easy to use and extremely inviting. Moreover, we thought it was fitting for a decidedly French house to feature an exclusively French brand, as is the case for Tectona!