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The Domain

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Manoir or château

In the Perche, a «manoir», is a building in the local Percheron style, agricultural or military in nature; a «château» on the other hand is not vernacular in style but from the 18th century is influenced by the more urban style of the Ile de France and the Loire Valley.

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At La Mouchère the existence of old wells and a generous paved courtyard suggests that the site was already occupied in a distant past. In the Middle Ages,the land was probably cultivated by monks associated with the Priory of Sainte Gauburge, the name Mouchère deriving from the latin monasterium like other place names, for example Mouchetière, Moussetière, Moustiers, Moûtiers). The existence of the «domaine de la Mouchère » as such is recorded as early as the 13th century. Until the middle of the 18th century the main residence was the old «manoir», now the Ferme de la Mouchère. Then its owners come to regard the old ’manoir’ as too rustic, no longer appropriate to their status.

The château

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A new «château», was built, in an urban style on the westward brow of the hill on the site of an old structure (nowadays our kitchen, with its 80 cm thick walls, its old «potager», a niche-like window and an underground passage which used to link it to the «manoir»). The château was modernised on several occasions in the course of the 19th century as can be seen from the cement floor tiles and the Alsatian stove.Towards 1840, the Bodin-Monduit-Pasquier family arrives and remains at La Mouchère for nine generations.

The agricultural buildings

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For a long time the château was the centre of a thriving agricultural activity and was practically self-sufficient.The outbuildings are organised around the oval courtyard with its horsepond: stables, sheepfold, dairy, bakery, dovecot, rabbit hutches, etc...

to the south, behind the pigstyes, there is a heated green house and a kitchen garden whose different sections are marked by box hedges;
to the west, steps go down to terraced orchards with old espaliers and cordons; they are overlooked by a pretty building with a balcony: the fruitstore.

The Park

At the beginning of the 19th century a park in the English style was laid out to take advantage of the views to the south and west across the valley. It is planted with trees particularly valued at the time, such as cedars and Himalayan pines as well as relatively rare broadleaf trees (wild service tree and weeping ash).

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Beyond the paddock fences, meadows with fruit trees slope down to the river. To the north lies a ten-acre wood (oak, beech, hornbeam, yew and wild cherry) with its drive and caretaker’s cottage (l’Arpent) at the entrance.

Hydraulic infrastructure

In the 18th century, the river Chauveau is diverted and a mill built. After the Franco-Prussian War of 1870, M.Monduit, an industrialist specialising in architectural and sculptural commissions, arrives at La Mouchère and renovates and extends its hydraulic infrastructure :

  • canal,
  • sluices,
  • the mill’s reservoir and nearby waterfall.


In the valley :

  • a «lavoir»
  • a mechanical ram to pump water up to the house : the Bollée company in Le Mans HAD patented it in 1859 ; the one at la Mouchère probably dates from the 1870s. Repaired (1937) and maintained, this marvel of ecological engineering was still working in the early 1980s!

Higher up, near the château :

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  • a 30 meter well and
  • a water tower serving house and kitchen garden..
  • a network of rainwater drains to keep the courtyard dry and conserve water in tanks.
  • A greenhouse where a coal boiler provided hot water for the heating pipes.

The whole system worked with minimal energy, basically using the force of gravity and exploiting the techniques of the Industrial Revolution.