PARIS — What did Louis XVI’s younger brother, the composer Cole Porter and the British-French financier James Goldsmith have in common? One of the most surprising properties in the aristocratic district of Faubourg Saint-Germain: a secluded house and garden hidden away near the Invalides, on the Left Bank.
A visitor approaching from the street first sees a traditional 19th-century apartment building. But, through a large wooden gate at the end of the building’s cobbled courtyard stands the unexpected: a white-brick, half-timbered structure that looks like it might have been plucked from the Normandy countryside and deposited in the center of Paris.
Built for Monsieur, as the Comte de Provence was known, the property dates to the construction of a stables complex that he commissioned from the architect Alexandre Brongniart in 1777-78. Mr. Brongniart went on to design several mansions nearby that became landmarks on the rue Monsieur, the street named for his patron.
(Unlike his brother, Monsieur escaped the Revolution to reign later as Louis XVIII.)
What remained of the original design was a converted stable and the residence, most probably once used by the count’s écuyer, or equerry in charge. By the 20th century, the two buildings had been merged into a desirable townhouse with more than 20 rooms in a bucolic setting that includes a garden covering 500 square meters, or 5,382 square feet.