A caveau (le cave) is a wine store, traditionally a vaulted cellar, but in this region of France where cellars are rare the term is applied to any kind of building that houses wine and nowadays the word can even be used to refer to a wine-rack or a wine-fridge.
The building was constructed at the same time as the chateau in 1848. When the Broughton-Tompkins bought the property in 1995 some twenty or so fine old oak barrels were arranged on long runners in the section that is now the living room, still smelling deliciously of a good full-bodied red! The small stone niche that can be seen at floor level was the run-off from the “pressoir” (wine press) next door. A bucket, doubtless wooden, would have been placed in the niche to collect the dregs during the last pressing of the winemaking. Higher niches around the door were for ventilation.
Access to the building was through a heavy oak double door, now blocked off but visible near the stairs. During the creations of the gite the present double doors were opened up and the overall height of the building was raised by a metre. The window in the stairwell is original. The huge beam across the centre of the living room came out of cottage 2 – “La Charrue), because it limited height upstairs. On the patio outside the existing double doors there used to be stone poultry houses.