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Le Chalet Olivet: A 19th Century Swiss Chalet Rental in the Loire Valley

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Le Chalet Olivet: A 19th Century Swiss Chalet Rental in the Loire Valley

May 15, 2024

Tucked away on the banks of the Loiret river sits a storybook Swiss chalet that was built in 1862 by the Swiss Delegation as a representation of traditional carpentry. The building was presented at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1889 where it was bought by a wealthy merchant who dismantled the chalet and reassembled it in the Olivet region of the Loire Valley. In 2007, French model and cook Alice Moireau’s mother received a postcard from a friend with a historic image of the chalet on the front and a note that it was located in Olivet where the family lived. She set out to find it and happened to see it while walking along the river. The chalet was for sale and, enchanted with the charming details of the building, she bought the property as a painting studio and workplace.

Fifteen years later, Alice and her brother, Emile Moireau, reimagined the chalet as a rental property with interiors recalling their bucolic childhood: “a life by the river, green and peaceful.” After eight months of work refinishing, painting, and sourcing antiques from the various flea markets and fairs of the region, the sister-brother duo opened Le Chalet Olivet in the spring of 2023.

Photography from Le Chalet Olivet.

while situated on a substantial 350 square meter &#8\2\20;jardin aromatique 17
Above: While situated on a substantial 350 square meter “jardin aromatique,” the petit chalet is just 70 square meters across three floors.

Alice and Emile took on the project armed with an inherited design sensibility (their was a designer for Faïenceries de Gien, Paola Navone, and Designers Guild) and DIY attitude. They demo-ed, cut stone by hand, refinished, painted, laid tile, and renovated the garden with the help of friends, local craftspeople, and Monika Klink, an architect friend who offered advice and sourcing throughout.

the striped kitchen is inspired by decorator and designer vincent darré. t 18
Above: The striped kitchen is inspired by decorator and designer Vincent Darré. The pattern in celadon and cream is defined by backsplash tile but continues down the length of the painted cabinets. Classic clay pottery and Falcon Enamelware in Samphire Green and Olive Oil echo the vintage lighting above. All tile was sourced from Winckelmans.
flatware and serving pieces are corralled with the german made \1969 vitra uten 19
Above: Flatware and serving pieces are corralled with the German-made 1969 Vitra Uten Silo.
using standard hardware store cup hooks, a row of kitchen utensils are at the r 20
Above: Using standard hardware store cup hooks, a row of kitchen utensils are at the ready. To the right sits a Smeg Tea Kettle and Smeg Toaster in pastel green and rows of vintage green glass wine glasses.
the traditional rattan cafe chairs and stools are handwoven in limoges from mai 21
Above: The traditional rattan cafe chairs and stools are handwoven in Limoges from Maison Grock. The tableware is a mix of vintage, pieces from Merci in Paris, and Sabre bistrot flatware.

Tableware is a passion of Alice’s who studied design at the Estienne art school, worked in New York as a food stylist and in Los Angeles of the set of a cooking show. After publishing a book of recipes by Éditions La Martinière, Alice launched Table, a line of playful tableware and home goods, alongside textile and clothing designer Caroline Perdrix.

a sitting area made up entirely of antiques sourced from the orléans flea  22
Above: A sitting area made up entirely of antiques sourced from the Orléans flea market.
the main bedroom and bathroom are situated on the second floor of the house. th 23
Above: The main bedroom and bathroom are situated on the second floor of the house. The bedside lamp is teh Germaine Lamp from M. Basiques.
the main bedroom is designed with textiles ranging from curtains made from line 24
Above: The main bedroom is designed with textiles ranging from curtains made from linen sheets to the yak wool Nomad Rows Throw Blanket from Norlha.
the main bathroom is designed with vintage fixtures. the cast iron clawfoot tub 25
Above: The main bathroom is designed with vintage fixtures. The cast iron clawfoot tub was found on resale site Leboncoin that Emile sanded and repainted by hand.
the whitewashing of walls and fixtures in the bath allows the custom tile patte 26
Above: The whitewashing of walls and fixtures in the bath allows the custom tile pattern to shine. The simple flower motif is designed in blue and brown tile sourced from Winckelmans.
the top floor houses a second bedroom. the bedside lamps are la lampe bien fait 27
Above: The top floor houses a second bedroom. The bedside lamps are La Lampe Bien Faite in Blanc Naturel from Bien Paris made of recycled paper, plaster of Paris, and flour in the South of France.
alice and emile renovated the terrace by pouring cement and bringing in special 28
Above: Alice and Emile renovated the terrace by pouring cement and bringing in special stones from Bourgogne.
a set of french country furniture in white painted wrought iron. 29
Above: A set of French country furniture in white-painted wrought iron.
the moireau duo sourced and refinished four vintage bicycles for guests. 30
Above: The Moireau duo sourced and refinished four vintage bicycles for guests.
the garden&#8\2\17;s view of the loiret river. 31
Above: The garden’s view of the Loiret river.
alice rowing in a wood boat that seats up to five people. they found the boat o 32
Above: Alice rowing in a wood boat that seats up to five people. They found the boat on Leboncoin and painted it light green.

Before

the historic chalet before the moireau duo&#8\2\17;s takeover. 33
Above: The historic chalet before the Moireau duo’s takeover.

Located about an hour from Paris by train and a little under two hours by car, Le Chalet Olivet is available for day or week-long rentals, for private events, or photoshoots. Contact the Moireau duo for more information.

For more vacation rentals throughout France see our posts:

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