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Martel
€350,000
Property features
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  • 5 bedrooms
  • 11 habitable rooms
  • 295 square meters of living space
  • 824 square meters of surface of the outbuildings
Property description
An old clothing factory with its shop, workshops and residence in the north of the French department of Lot - ref 850990
This area, 2¼ hours from Bordeaux and 1¾ hours from Toulouse, at the tourist crossroads of the Upper Quercy, Lower Corrèze and Black Perigord regions, is one of the most appreciated in France not only for the richness of its surroundings but also for its historic heritage and the quality of its gastronomy. This is an ideal spot for exploring the Dordogne Valley (classified as a Grand National Site) as well as the Lot and the Célé Valleys, the Grands Causses Park, the medieval villages of Martel, Carennac, Collonges-la-Rouge and Rocamadour, sinkholes such as that of Padirac and numerous castles. Twenty or so minutes from the town centre of Brive-la-Gaillarde (international airport and rail network), a dynamic town standing where the A20 (Paris-Toulouse) and the A89 (Clermont-Ferrand-Bordeaux) motorways meet.
This property stands in the midst of a village with all amenities. It can be seen from all directions, standing where two roads meet, about a hundred metres from a train station with links to towns such as Brive, Figeac, Rodez and Aurillac. The arrival of the railroad, at the beginning of the last century, led to the creation and development of the town as of 1912. Becoming a centre of attraction over the years, it soon boasted numerous shops, bars, restaurants, businesses, professional and trades people as well as processing industries. 1934 saw the opening of the Vauzou clothing factory. The building was the work of architect Louis-Macary, several of whose works have been recognised for their quality and are protected by the French Historic Monument Society; one example being the Hôtel-de-la-Truffe-Noire in Brive. In 1944, the company employed some fifty people and dispatched its production throughout seven French departments. Although its notoriety grew over the years, the Vauzou clothing factory was nevertheless forced to close its doors in 1987. So as to escape the textile crisis, it capitalised on distribution whilst diversifying its merchandise. The shop remained open until 2014.
Robustly constructed from concrete faced with regional sandstone, this building spans four levels (including a basement and the partially converted attic space). This construction, topped with open gable or Mansard-style slate roofs with tall roof dormers, consists of two separate adjoining buildings set at right angles to one another: the residence and its professional extension comprising the shop and the old workshops. On the first floor, the roof of one of the large sales rooms is partially used as a terrace for some of the residence’s bedrooms. This property also includes a private carpark, closed by wide gates, and a small garden.

The residence

The architecture of the residence is representative of certain tasteful codes from the 1930’s, its construction era. The sober facades feature numerous openings (on the west side), some of which have semi-circular arches, enhanced here and there with small balconies, with finely wrought ironwork.
The interior, awaiting restoration, is no less pleasant. The rooms are bright and of a good size. The building has no structural problems. The decoration is that of another era, just like the facilities (plumbing, electric wiring, heating) which, nevertheless, still work.
The entrance hall provides access not only to the living rooms on the ground floor but also to the shop’s large sales’ room. A superb wooden, half-turning stairway with intermediate landings goes upstairs. Most of the floors are covered with parquet flooring, laid in strip and herringbone patterns, or with period tiles. The ground floor comprises a lounge, a dining room, a kitchen and a toilet. Upstairs are 8 bedrooms with a wash-hand basin (some opening on to a terrace or balcony), a bathroom, two rooms awaiting conversion and a toilet. The house also has an attic which could be converted.

The old factory

This building, set at right angles to and extending the residence, houses the workshops and the show rooms. Although austere in appearance, it features numerous picture windows, notably on the north side, like an allusion to the 2-storey style artist workshops, made fashionable in towns in the 1920s and 30s. This facade also features the secondary factory entrances providing access to the workshops, including the garage set up for repairing vehicles.
The main entrance is on the west side. It provides access to the large sales room (approx. 185 m²) on the ground floor, where three large picture windows let in copious amounts of light. The atmosphere here is still one of times gone by. The floor is covered with lino, concealing the old parquet flooring, more difficult to maintain. An office is on the left-hand side of the entrance. At the other end is a room once given over to mending as well as that used for greeting customers and taking payment. A straight wooden stairway provides access to the old sewing room (approx. 196 m²) on the first floor. Another wooden, half-turning stairway with an intermediate landing goes directly to the second floor and the other show rooms.
The old sewing workshop is widely illuminated via large picture windows set in the west and north facades. The floor is covered with good quality, strip pattern parquet flooring that merely requires a little attention. In the period following the war, work clothes and “fancy” outfits were cut and sewn at a rate of some two hundred and fifty shirts per day. A straight stairway goes to the garden level once used for dispatching and receiving deliveries.
On the upper floor are four successive show rooms (approx. 35 m², 97 m², 100 m² and 85 m²) similar to those on the ground floor. Light floods in through sections of glass roof and large picture windows. The floors are covered with period tiles, lino and strip pattern parquet flooring



Our opinion
This house was laid out in two separate sections to integrate the shop and the well-designed factory. It was built for a brand, the name of which still resounds in the region’s collective memory. These premises will surely be included in the Lot’s outstanding industrial heritage inventory. Long renowned as a sign of quality, this property is still in an excellent state of repair, thus immediately benefitting any project developed here. Furthermore, it has the essential asset of being easily reached via train, road and even airplane.
Martel, France
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