France is awash with quirky old properties, many of which had a previous life before becoming a home! Here are five conversions that come with an interesting history…

Hardly run of the mill!
Locals may once have depended on the smooth operation of this property (pictured above) for their daily baguette, that iconic staple of the French diet! A carefully converted windmill set in the pretty countryside of Vendée in the Pays de la Loire region, living space is arranged over four storeys connected by a mix of wooden and wrought iron staircases.

Up top is the only bedroom – a double that enjoys splendid rural views. Next down is the bathroom, followed by the living area with its wood burner and then the basement, home to the modern kitchen. The clever refurb of this property means it benefits from mod cons like double glazing, electric radiators and a modern sanitation system, but still retains bucket loads of character.

Could a converted chapel be your idea of heaven in France?

What’s more, the property includes around a quarter of an acre of land – ideal if you ever felt the urge to grow some wheat or corn… For more information, click here

The answer to your prayers?
Perched atop a hill – closer to heaven – and linked to the local village via a Roman bridge, this beautifully converted chapel was last used for a religious ceremony in 1939. From then on it lay dormant until the current owners converted it into a fabulous four-bedroom residence, taking care to retain the original stone walls and window frames.

Built in 1858, history reveals that ‘La Chapelle’ – located 40 minutes south of Toulouse and boasting views of the Pyrenees – was used as much as a hospital than as a place of worship.

This converted train station could make a first-class home!

The property comes with no religious artefacts and there is no graveyard, but the owners have added a fantastic swimming pool!

Just the ticket?
Happy homecomings and sad farewells would once have been everyday occurrences as passengers passed through this former railway station in Deux-Sèvres in the Poitou-Charente region.

Now serving as a lovely five-bedroom home, the property was bought by the current owners direct from the French railway company SNCF when the local line was taken out of service in the 1970s.

The property’s origins mean it is sturdily built with high quality materials. Since being converted it has required very little maintenance to the exterior, which boasts distinctive striped brickwork.

A former winery – a property worth toasting!

Many of the original features remain, including wooden floors, fireplaces and tall windows. Railway enthusiasts looking for a character French home, join the queue!

Your perfect vintage?
You’re never far from a vineyard in France, a country famous globally for its viniculture and world-class vintages. And where there are vineyards, there are properties devoted to making wine, like this former winery just north of Cognac in the Charente-Maritime.

The main stone building has been transformed into an airy three-bedroom home, bursting with charm and authentic features, including a walnut staircase, mezzanine level, beams, stone fireplaces and tiled floors. And there is plenty of scope to create even more dreamy living space – namely in the attic and one of the outbuildings, which include the original 79-square-metre winery, complete with the wine storage vats and the old press.

Make yourself comfortable in this old convent!

The landscaped gardens are a further highlight. They surround the house and mature roses and pool and terraces with an undercover dining area.

Habit of a lifetime?
There could be a new life waiting for you at this majestic former convent just north of Pau in the southern Gers department. This 17th Century property might be where young girls once came to receive a formal – and often strict – education from nuns, but these days it is set up as a residence with gîtes, offering the potential for a more relaxed lifestyle.

Looking closer, the property is now split into private accommodation for the owners, plus three independent apartments, two of which are registered with “Gites de France”, thereby providing an income opportunity. The double-height chapel, with its stained glass window, still needs to be restored and provides a humbling reminder of this grand building’s history.

The property includes terraces and gardens, and stunning countryside views, thanks to its elevated position.

Written by Overseas Guides Company.

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