You often hear of such stories; stories of brave persons, who used to be successful and now risking all of what they achieved for a new beginning, leaving their predetermined path of career, preferring to re-define themselves as round-the-world yachtsmen, artists, wine growers or hoteliers, before they burn out. But these stories are often seen as nothing more than tales unless you all the sudden bump into such fabulous creatures yourself.
That’s what happened to us the other day, in the middle of the midsummer heat of the Alentejo, in the shady patio of the Villa Extramuros. We met its owners, François and Jean-Christoph, who exactly did that: they risked making the break and left behind their successful city lives of Paris to realize their dream, here, a stone’s throw away of Evora.
Here it stands, their dream, converted into stone: the Villa Extramuros. An avant-garde design villa amongst infinite holly oaks and olive trees, a reckless mixture of Parisian chic and archaic countryside experience, stunning concrete architecture, aggressively and fearlessly wedged into this innocent scenery.
We were more than pleased with what we saw and heard and stayed; only for two nights though, because we did not have more time. We had one of the three standard rooms as both superior rooms were already taken, but this is nothing to worry about given the size of room and bath. Although the rooms might appear bigger than they are, because they are essentially empty. Here they carry minimalism to extremes: one bed, one table, one chair, one seat cushion, all of it spread over approximately 30 square meters. Sure, there are also one picture on the wall, a mini-TV on the table and a little storage space in the corner, but other than that, there are only blank floor, concrete, wood and cork; besides the marble bath, as heavy contrast. The marble, quarried in the nearby stone mine, impressed with wild, partially head spinning patterns, to which one needs to get used to first.
All of it delighted. However, while strolling through the house and garden it quickly became clear: the rooms are only meant for sleeping. The way bigger part of the day will be spent somewhere else between terrace, patio, pool and living rooms, enjoying the ambient or simply flipping through the considerable book and magazine library of the house itself.
If you want, you can enjoy your day without even leaving the terrain. By request or advance order, François and Jean-Christoph will serve lunch and dinner. A service we happily made use of and let us bring a simple but tasty lunch to the shady terrace of the villa: a huge bowl of Greek salad, a characteristic starter plate (olives, raw-ham, cheese), yummy bread and a bottle of icy rosé wine. In addition and for free: a marvelous panoramic view of Arraiolos, the crackling silence of the midday blazing heat and the boundless joy about the fact that there are people like François and Jean-Christoph, whose vital energy and boldness enable such wonderful experiences like this afternoon in the Villa Extramuros!
Horta do Chaveiro, CP 209
911 192 550