Full of 18th century French charm, this bedroom is named for Monique Fillerin, famous French heroine of World War II who slept here for fifty years. King size bed, high quality bed linen and towels. Ensuite bathroom with walk in shower, basin and WC. South facing views over tranquil organic farmland.
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Staying in this lovely 18th century ensuite bedroom will feel like a special treat. It is named in honour of Monique Fillerin, one of France’s most remarkable wartime heroines, who as a teenager saved the lives of thirty-six Allied Airmen, who had been shot down over northern France during World War II.
Monique and her whole family were part of the Pat O’Leary Line, a courageous civilian resistance network that rescued pilots, nursed their injuries, hid them from the Gestapo, and then escorted them across Europe back to safety via Paris, Marseille, Lisbon and finally London. In her eighties Monique shared many wartime stories and memories with us, including an historic photograph of herself with Franklin D Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle in 1945: a mere slip of a teenage girl of extraordinary bravery and strength, alongside the three famous statesmen.
Monique moved from Renty, in the Pas de Calais, to Château de Pécile as a young bride in 1960. We feel very fortunate to have had the chance to buy the property from her in 2002.
Snuggle down in Monique’s old room with its king size bed and luxury bed linen combined with vintage French textiles. The colours of the designer linen curtains provided inspiration for the velvet headboard, rugs and walls. Quirky details, like the bedside lamps embellished with small porcelain figurines are created to delight you.
The Mary Delany style paper silhouettes and cross- stitch picture collection belonged to my grandmother. The Louis Philippe era mahogany chest was found in a local brocante, and above it hangs a genuine Bedouin yashmak. The coins sewn into this yashmak would have been the young wearer’s dowry or bride price. This poignant piece of textile history is a particular treasure from our years living in Egypt as it reminds me of the graceful, veiled goat herder with astonishing green eyes who lived nearby. Her mischievous flock of goats nibbled the grass verge outside our house in Maadi in the 1990’s, and often ate most of the bougainvillea flowers too!
The handmade indigo lampshade comes from an artist friend in England. Relax with a good book in the comfy armchairs, with suzani cushions from the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul. The ornately carved wooden masharebeya side table is from Cairo and the blue porcelain ginger jars were a gift from my mother-in-law. I have mixed together a lifetime of collecting objects from souks and flea markets with family heirlooms, fabric remnants and a splash of paint to bring you pleasure and pique your curiosity.
Be ready to pamper yourself in the contemporary ensuite bathroom, which has a large natural stone tiled walk-in shower, basin and WC. Glance at your reflection in the old glass of the ‘trumeaux’ or gilt framed oil paintings with mirrors. ‘Trumeaux’ were traditionally used in old French houses to reflect candlelight in rooms before the advent of electric light. I discovered them in a very unloved state in a local junk shop, covered in dusty cobwebs, so they were a real bargain. Once cleaned and gently restored with a solution of dilute baby shampoo, dabs of cotton wool and some gold furniture wax they now look like they have always graced Monique’s romantic 18th century bedroom.
Lots of small steps and uneven ground are all part of the charm of this ancient site, so enjoy its idiosyncrasies as you wander around gently.
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