Slow tourism in Alsace
The Domaine Les Jardins de Madeleine is a guesthouse located on the edge of the forest surrounding the tiny village of Bernardvillé in Alsace, a small region in north-eastern France on the border with Germany.
A half-hour drive south of Strasbourg, the picturesque village of Bernardvillé has a few hundred inhabitants and a lush green natural setting dotted with hamlets and castles in an area that has been fought over for hundreds of years. Alsace did not become part of France until 1919, when it was ceded by Germany under the terms of the Treaty of Versailles. It is a multicultural region with a strong winemaking tradition traversed by the Alsace Wine Route, France’s first thematic tourist route linking 170 km of vineyards and wineries since 1953. The region has many attractions and is well-suited to small, friendly accommodation facilities that cater for a gentler, slower-paced kind of tourism where visitors can spend relaxing days in close contact with nature.
Les Jardins de Madeleine was opened in 2019 after the owner couple restored an old stately home dating back to the mid-18th century and set in 4 hectares of prime woodland.
Carried out under the personal supervision of owner Vanessa Timmers, the project involved renovating a traditional Alsace country building consisting of a series of volumes grouped around an open courtyard. Characterised by sloping tiled roofs, dormer windows and façades punctuated by regularly spaced windows with wooden frames and shutters, the structure was adapted to its new function while observing the rigid constraints imposed by the historic complex. The result is a series of refurbished rooms and apartments ranging in size from 30 to 130 square metres together with common areas and reception and service spaces.
To maintain the utmost authenticity, the owner chose to follow the local architectural tradition of timber construction throughout the Domaine Les Jardins de Madeleine, but opting in this case for wood-effect Italian porcelain stoneware, a material whose technologies and varieties make it ideal for any situation. In particular, tiles from Ceramica Fondovalle proved the perfect choice for this contemporary restyling project. The warm elements of the Komi series, chosen in the 24×240 cm plank version, recreated the old wooden floors to perfection and combined durability and contemporary appeal with a warm, modern ambience.
“The complex dates back to 1750 and uses wood throughout,” says Vanessa Timmers. “The biggest challenge of the project was to reconcile contemporary needs with the constraints of an old building, which meant we had to redistribute the spaces and adapt them to irregular walls and floors. It was a challenge from start to finish. The ceramic elements produced by Fondovalle provided the perfect link between the old domaine and the contemporary demands of a top-class accommodation facility.”
Water absorpion (ISO 10545-3): ≤ 0,1%
Chemical resistance (ISO 10545-13): GA; GLA; GHA
Resistance to deep abrasion (ISO 10545-6): ≤ 130 mm3
Stain resistance (ISO 10545-14): conforme
Frost resistance (ISO 10545-12): conforme
Modulus of rupture and breaking strength (ISO 10545-4): ≥ 50 N/mm2
Slip resistance (DIN 51130): R 10
Thermal shock resistance (ISO 10545-9): conforme