This was the cave, or at least about a third of it, when we first bought our village house in the Languedoc Roussillon.
In French, a cave may be loosely translated as a cellar (as in wine cellar) but is one of those words with many meanings such as storage or utility area and not necessarly underground! My father was convinced that it actually was a hole in the side of a hill and questioned our sanity accordingly when we promised to let him sleep in there following renovation!
Although narrower than ideal, it is over 30 feet long and has it’s own front door and a little internal courtyard out back which is the pleasantest place to sit when the local micro-climate pushes the temperatures up to the high 40s!!
The second entrance and private outdoor space was one of the quirks that swung our decision to buy this particular house as we could see the potential for perfect, separate accommodation for friends, family or even paying guests .
The only access from the main house to the cave was a narrow door behind the picturesquely situated toilet lurking left of the main front door ( see “how bad can it be” post). An even narrower door (18 inches) gave access to the courtyard.
It still retains the lovely original stone walls, low door lintels, old hand made nails and a big heavy hinge pin from the original gates at the front, where remnants of an old archway herald the entrance to what we believe was a walkway access through to what once were animal shelters and storage buildings behind.The big old thick stone wall you can see above is basically now the spine wall of the house .
The large neighbouring house became the village cinema in the early 20th century and our neighbours took great delight in telling us that the old stone gutter that runs through our courtyard made it the perfect “pissoir” for the cinema clientele. Nice!!
left- the cave after some major rejigging-yes it does look like a mystical light to the right!!
A new doorway on the left allows internal access under the stairs from the main house via the workshop/garage. The original toilet corridor has been blocked off and turned around and incorporated into a larger new washroom which will have basin, loo and washing machine and access to cave only.
My beautiful black slipper bath ( from I-bath UK) will sit in the right angle between the new washroom wall and the original spine stone wall. The cave will be the epitome of French country chic with a palette of washed creams with taupe/ochre yellow and black accents
Let’s just drool over that slipper bath one more time-