The sweetness of countryside life at Domaine Merida
Just 1 hour from Paris lies Domaine Mérida, a haven of peace nestled in greenery.
In good hands of the owner of Domaine Mérida, we had the chance to explore the history and secrets of this exceptional house just a stone's throw away from Paris.
A former farmhouse with typical French charm, ivy walls, small-paned windows, terracotta floors and ancient trees, Domaine Mérida has been charming visitors for over 50 years.
In the 1970s, one of France's greatest film icons and her husband fell in love with this lush refuge in the heart of the Île-de-France region. While the buildings boast all the musts of a country house - old stonework, exposed beams and a confidential location - it was the splendour of the garden that first won them over.
Half a century later, in 2015, it was love at first sight for the current owners, so much so that they decided to move to DomaineMérida immediately after signing the deed of ownership. They immediately fell in love with this house, which "seduces without being imposing", both vast and human in scale. The garden and its groves already seemed perfect, except for one detail: the original swimming pool would be kept, but it would have to be rebuilt.
Inside, while the spaciousness already exudes an unmistakeable countryside atmosphere, a great deal of work needs to be done. So, for the next four years, the owners worked closely with a local contractor to breathe new life into Domaine Mérida.
The lady of the house confides that she has fondmemories of this intense and enriching period, during which she was able to benefit from the expertise and know-how of passionate craftsmen, whose respect for ancestral techniques and loveofoldstone reminded her of the philosophy of the Compagnons du Devoir.
This balance between past and present reflects her vision for DomaineMérida, where she aims to combine the appeal of the old with modern comforts and contemporary touches.
To start, there were already noble, telluric materials present: natural wood, stone and iron. The stone was already there, on the floors and walls, as was the wood, even if it needed restoring in places, such as the superb backlit library upstairs, where the seventies woodwork had been complemented by a pearl grey paint job.
Wherever possible, the owner and craftsmen have taken care to preserve what was already there, in particular the terracottafloortiles in the main house. Sometimes they innovated, but always in accordance with the rules of the trade. To bring in iron, they imagined a magnificentglassroof and created bay windows, killing two birds with one stone: the sunlight and the nature of the garden cradle the interior spaces.
During the four years of work, a number of feats have become engraved in the memory of the lady of the house. These include the spiralstaircase in wrought iron that winds its way from the reception room to the dormitory, and the impressive bespoke hood in the outside dining room, designed on site by the ironmonger to blend in perfectly with the atmosphere of the place.
For its owners, DomaineMérida had to retain the essence of the country houses of their childhood, a clever patchwork of inspirations and memories, where families come to meet and flourish. In a joyful mix ofvariety and harmony, the furniture has been sourced, like the industrial lamps above the billiard table and the large dining room table, or commissioned, like the sofas in the games room.
Far removed from the minimalist style of hotels and the perfection of decorating magazines, this is a vibrant home, where warmth endures despite the passage of time. As a nod to this vintage countryside atmosphere, the wallpapers in the bedrooms are all different, selected by a renowned designer to give each room its own uniquepersonality.
An authentic family retreat, Domaine Mérida has several outbuildings, a dormitory, over ten bedrooms and even a caretaker's lodge. Fourteen people can be accommodated in this house designed for entertaining, but everyone can also enjoy their own independence.
Just an hour's drive from Paris, the estate is lived in all year round by its owners, who remain true to their desire to bring differentgenerationsand friends together. People come here to celebrate Christmas and birthdays, and to spend long summer days under the sun by the swimming pool and in the shade of the garden, basking in the warmth of being together.
Whether it's hosting a family meal for 70 guests under the birch trees, launching a pétanquetournament on the estate grounds, relaxing in the hammam, or even enjoying a quiet book in one of the house's two lounging areas, Domaine Mérida is the ideal retreat for bringing your loved ones together. The more adventurous may dare to venture out into the surroundingcountryside by bike or on foot, but everything you really need can be found at the heart of this bubble of greenery and tranquillity.
Like a song by Charles Trenet, Domaine Mérida reminds us of happydays and the invitation to live many more.