La Mirande, in France’s peaceful Ardèche, is a country home long associated with the Arts and conviviality. Originally a farmhouse, it was partially renovated during the 1970s by a French poet and publisher. In 1983, it became the property of Gray Veredon, international choreographer, ballet and opera director.
“I had been appointed director of the Ballet de l’Opera at Lyon after years as a freelance choreographer worldwide. Everyone in the company seemed to have a country retreat, so I bought La Mirande as a holiday and party house. The house and huge garden became alive with dancers and musicians at weekends.”
Gray, originally from New Zealand, had previously collaborated with David Hockney on the hit ballet Parade at the Metropolitan in New York. Two posters personally dedicated by Hockney still hang in the living room at La Mirande – colourfully in keeping with its theatrical lighting, monumental stone fireplace and seven metre high ceiling with dramatic timbered mezzanine gallery.
For years Gray also used the house as a tranquil retreat when working on ballet and opera productions. “The land here is volcanic and is said to have a special magnetic quality. Certainly the sense of space, ever-changing views across to the Alps and our location ‘above it all’ on the Coiron plateau are inspiring and soothing. The cares of the world below just melt away.”
It was this tranquillity that inspired Gray, after years of creating and travelling, to settle permanently at the property and reconnect with the land. Once again the house has been full of guests, this time attracted by chambre d’hôte and table d’hôte hospitality that has received rave reviews.
Guests stay in one of the three spacious boutique bedroom suites or the two-bedroom cottage. All have been renovated by local artisans using authentic materials and the property enjoys modern innovations such as a geothermal heating system.
Although secluded, La Mirande is easily accessible from autoroute A7 and 45 minutes from Valence TGV station. Local town is Privas, which has supermarkets and a twice weekly farmers’ market.
Now life is turning full circle for Gray Veredon as he receives offers that are enticing him back into the theatre, his first love. Reluctantly, he is selling La Mirande in readiness for this next chapter, positive for the property’s future as a continuing business or a family home.