Homes and Houses: The tale of a house built on history in Fréjus

Dun-Roman!

Frejus House Front

There are houses with history, and then there is the villa on the Butte St-Antoine at Fréjus. Among the previous list of propriétaires you’ll find the Roman naval commander for the region.

The stone-built villa was constructed 150 years ago by the Régis family, who were looking for a nice spot for their seaside second home. They lit upon a grassy mound within sight of the sea and decided that was the ideal place.

Planning laws being a little less stringent in those far-off days, it didn’t seem to matter a great deal that the villa was going up on what is now an important historic monument. The base of a Roman tower was even used as part of the distinctive building.

Frejus RuinThe “place next door” – a ruined chapelToday the Butte St Antoine is a 15-minute walk from the sea, but in ancient times the hill rose immediately above the old harbour of Fréjus, commanding the anchorage and also the mouth of the Argens river to the south. The Romans built an impressive defensive wall with several towers and within it their naval headquarters. One of the gateways leads towards the main settlement; the second to the anchorage of Agrippa’s fleet.

The house on the little hill, having been in the same family since it was built, has been put on the market by the present generation of the Régis family. Now that Fréjus has spread in every direction around it, its site is truly extraordinary, an oasis sitting serenely over the bustle.

On a part of the coast where modern apartment blocks and concrete villas are the norm, the old house stands apart. It had clearly been much loved by successive generations of Régises, but is now in need of a major refurb. The buyer will be someone who appreciates owning an important slice of history, and having a Roman well on your property is not an everyday boast. The added fascination remains that although the northern part of the Butte has been scientifically examined, there have been no excavations on the private land.

The prospective buyer has two options. The entire property, which includes a two-bedroom bungalow of around 60m² (also in need of renovation), which sits in 4700m² of land, mature trees and shrubs adding to the general sense of quiet and seclusion. This has a price tag of €917,000. The main house plus 3500m² of land is up for €659,950.

Frejus TowerThe historic towerThe main house covers two floors and has a wide entrance hall with original tiles, shower room and cloakroom with WC. There are two reception rooms, used as a separate dining room and lounge, study/bedroom and fitted kitchen.

The first floor has four double bedrooms, bathroom and WC, one bedroom has a walk-in dressing room large enough to convert into an en-suite bathroom. There is a cellar under the house and a loft above.

The two-bedroomed bungalow is tucked away on the other side of the land. It has an entrance, lounge with feature fireplace, two double bedrooms, shower room, WC and kitchen. There is also a cellar under the main part of the house.

Both houses have garages that can be accessed independently.

The entire property sits on a plot of 4700m² or over an acre, which is very private with mature shrubs and trees along the ample parking space for either property, too.

There is one drawback to living with so much precious past beneath your feet: a sunken swimming pool is not an option.

Contact Tim Clark at Leggett Immobilier on 06 76 59 25 88.

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