Historic Building in Reims
The Villa Demoiselle, an architectural gem erected in Reims during 1890 under the direction of Henry Vasnier, stands adjacent to the Domaine Pommery along the Henri-Vasnier Boulevard. Originally named Villa Cochet, this stately mansion underwent a transformation in April 2004, emerging as the Villa Demoiselle.
With its acquisition by Vranken, the new owner dedicated the site to their flagship brand, Champagne Demoiselle, formerly headquartered in Épernay. Radiating the elegance of the Belle Époque era, the Villa’s interiors were meticulously renovated in the original Art Nouveau style. This movement is exemplified by motifs like the dragonfly, akin to the eponymous damsel insect—a symbol deeply intertwined with the Champagne region’s own heritage. Renowned artist René Lalique, who hailed from Champagne, contributed his opaline globes to the site, lending an air of artistry.
The commission for the villa came from Henry Vasnier in 1890, who aimed to create a residence and reception venue that resonated with his refined tastes. An “enlightened collector” of art, Vasnier held reverence for luminaries such as Corot, Millet, Gallé, and Majorelle. Collaborating with talented individuals, he entrusted the execution to Louis Sorel, an architect closely aligned with the “Art in Everything” movement, which sought seamless unity. Construction commenced in 1904, with innovative techniques introduced, such as constructing the villa on a primary concrete structure and incorporating a metal frame—a pioneering approach that aided in withstanding the test of time.
Following Vasnier’s passing in 1907, the villa was later baptized with the name of Louis Cochet, a subsequent director of Domaine Pommery. The villa remained inhabited until 1970 by Pommery executives, after which it endured a period of neglect and pillaging. A threat of demolition in the 1980s loomed over the villa until it was saved by architect Michel André. Ultimately, it was acquired by Paul-François Vranken and Nathalie Vranken in 2004, marking the onset of a comprehensive renovation that lasted nearly five years.
The Villa Demoiselle showcases a captivating fusion of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, encapsulating the transitional period between these two artistic movements. The external facade is reminiscent of the Art Deco aesthetic, while the interiors amalgamate both styles harmoniously. The restoration involved meticulous sourcing and curation of period-appropriate furnishings, including notable items like the Louis Majorelle mahogany bar and the “Gismonda” engraving by Mucha. Attention to detail was paramount, from the splendid fireplace by Paul-Alexandre Dumas to Alexandre Bigot’s Grès, Serrurier-Bovy’s chairs, and Émile Gallé’s ceiling lamp. The meticulous restoration of the artworks took two years, resulting in an exquisite tapestry of stenciled paintings enriched with 22,000 gold leaves.
Preservation and Heritage: Beyond its aesthetic appeal, the Villa Demoiselle also houses a prestigious wine library within its restored cellars. This commitment to heritage conservation is underscored by the respectful approach taken by Paul-François Vranken in revitalizing the villa and ensuring its place as a beacon of cultural significance. The Villa Demoiselle stands as a tribute to artistic vision, historical homage, and the enduring charm of the Champagne region.
This website uses affiliate links which may earn a commission at no additional cost to you!
Visiting Villa Demoiselle