Alexis de Tocqueville

"The property is called Les Trésorières and located about three kilometers from Tours on the road to Saumur, in the valley of La Choisille. It stands on a featureless plateau and has no view whatsoever. That is its chief defect, to which it owes its principal quality, a steady, mild temperature. Ill winds never disturb its peace. . It is furnished and in fairly good condition. . There is more than enough to feel at home here. The floors are parquet. There is a small park and a vegetable garden, as well as stables and outbuildings. For anyone who likes the sun and detests wind, I can imagine nothing more perfect. But one is imprisoned in an oasis, and there is nothing for the eye to look at beyond the rather nice garden, which is not large enough for what I would call grounds but just big enough to grow herbs and vegetables and to accommodate a few shaded paths for short walks. It is a good place to bask in the sun, with shade when one wants it. . I believe it is the only place in the Loire basin so well protected against wind from the north, the northwest, and even the west.
(Letter to Gustave de Beaumont to Alexis de Tocqueville, April 19, 1853)

"Imagine an old house flanked by two stout towers, where little has been provided for the sake of convenience and still less to please the eye. Dark rooms, vast fireLieux that offer more cold than heat, armchairs that can easily hold three people, damp walls, and corridors through which the wind whistles as cheerfully as of an autumn evening. That is an unvarnished picture of my home. Add to that a clump of woods whose birth preceded my grandfather's and whose death I shall not live to see, and a long stretch of pasture that merges with the sea at the horizon, and there you have it. No, I am wrong, your imagination has not yet conceived the profound tranquility that exists here. None of life's tumult reaches your ears. No carriage has entered the courtyard for centuries, for the simple reason that no decent road leads here. . Now, tell me, why is it that I am not at all unhappy in such an unpleasant spot? To tell the truth, I have no idea. I believe that it is quite simply the spirit of possession. This place is full of memories for me. I live here in a world of wonders. Did you know that from the top of the tower I can see the port where William embarked on his conquest of England? Did you know that all these Lieux bear names well known in your history or ours? Do you know that on the horizon lies the country in which you were born, Mary, and, if so, can you still be surprised that even in my solitude I do not feel alone?
(Letter to Mary Mottley, July 1833)

"I intend, finally, that my wife shall enjoy the broadest and most extensive use of all the buildings included in the usufruct. She may, in particular, make any changes in the assignment and use of buildings as she may see fit; initiate new construction; alter the disposition of the gardens; create new ones; change the crops and rotations; cut down any natural growth forests, reserves, planted woodlands, and scattered growth, particularly trees which in Normandy are customarily allowed to grow amid hedges; dispose as she wishes of the trees thus cut without being required to account for them; make any new plantings; and negotiate and renew all leases. All the foregoing provisions I intend to eliminate any question of conflict of interest or business arrangements between my wife and my heirs so as to preserve between them no relations other than those of friendship and family.
(Will of Alexis de Tocqueville)

"My long walks take me to a delightful little spot near the castle. It is a hill that stands between a magnificent forest and an area of recent cutting. Below the hill lies a valley, at the bottom of which is one of those cool green meadows that are so common in this region. A little farther on, the turrets of the old castle rise above the trees, and beyond them lies the ocean. It all has an out-of-the-way look, which captivated me immediately, and while one does see a little of the world, it is only a small corner, and what one sees is admirable. It occurred to me that if I ever wish to live in Tourlaville, I would build a cottage on this hill. The castle is out of the question: it is completely unlivable.
(Letter to Mary Mottley, July 28, 1833)