This year, the Mercure Forbes Global Properties group, a historic patron of the VMF, has chosen the Manoir de la Richardière for its Groupe-Mercure VMF 2023 award. A dedicated player in the preservation of historical and architectural heritage since 1936, the Mercure Forbes Global Properties group created this award in association with the Vieilles Maisons Françaises to support renovation and preservation work on Properties of Excellence.
Groupe-Mercure VMF 2023 Award: Manoir de la Richardière
Awarded on a competitive basis by a jury of patrons of the arts and the VMF association, the VMF prize is designed to encourage actions to safeguard heritage: enhancement of religious, built or landscape heritage, renovation work, first-time acquisitions, restoration work, etc.
This year, the VMF 2023 Groupe-Mercure prize is awarded to the Manoir de la Richardière. Bordered on its west side by the Vienne River, Manoir de la Richardière, mentioned in the late 14th century as an outpost of Château de Nouâtre, was enlarged in the 16th century. Seized and sold as national property during the French Revolution, the manor underwent major restoration work in the late 18th century, including the transformation of the dovecote to increase the living space.
It wasn’t until 2018 that Mr. and Mrs. Audras became owners of the manor house, on a whim. They are now in the process of breathing new life into the property, which they hope to open to the public in the future as a bed and breakfast.
An exemplary restoration for an exceptional property
The main aim of the restoration project was to restore the roof structure, which had been weakened by the fall of a tree that had ripped open the roof. Other major works were also programmedmanoir-richardiere-vmf-2023 such as the restoration of the mullions on the openings, whose removal in the 18th century is now threatening the solidity of the facades. In addition, the floors and the east tower are to be restored.
“We approached VMF because we really wanted to save this group of buildings. We had no experience in restoring this type of building, we were just motivated by the desire to save this heritage. We’re the parents of three grown-up children who, like us, are fascinated by what was built long before our century, and we’re all driven by the desire to share these riches with as many people as possible. We didn’t know VMF before and it was during our quest for help that we discovered them,” say Laurent and Anne Augras.
By joining the VMF association, the Augras were not only able to win the Mercure Forbes Global Properties award, but also to guarantee themselves ongoing contacts for advice and ideas from the entire network.
The prize awarded by Mercure Forbes Global Properties has enabled the owners to pursue a courageous restoration project, carried out with respect for traditional techniques while favoring the choice of natural materials from the region.