'La Petite Touche' is an ancient 'lieu-dit'. This translates to 'a locality, not necessarily inhabited, which often has an anecdote about it'. We do not know of any specific anecdote about La Petite Touche (but see below the paragraph on the toponym of the name), however, we do know that it is marked on The Cassini Map, prepared by order of Louis XV, the oldest map of the whole of France on a topographic scale. This, first map in the world that was prepared based on geodetic triangulation, was measured by Cassini de Thury of the Royal Academy of Sciences from 1683 to 1744; the field work and the engraving of the map on copperplate started in 1750 and was finished in 1815.
Recent research on the internet suggests that parts of the main farmhouse date back to early in the first half of the Seventeenth century. The outer walls are some 80 cm thick and one of the doorways, an arch, is of a design not constructed since 1850 or so. The property is in fact an old farm (yard) complex, one of two that adjoined the East / South Eastern edge of Genneteil. We alas, only own the farm yard!
The main house is in the traditional Longère style - long and narrow, single storey with grenier or attic, with its back to the wind, typical of much rural French agricultural accommodation, particularly in western and central France, including Brittany, Normandy, Picardy, as well as in the Loire. It is built of local materials, with the Granary running full length above it, but divided by the main walls. There are huge Oak beams some of which are in a reasonable state of preservation, but others will need replacement as part of the renovations. The internal walls, where they remain original are up to 60cm thick and also constructed from stone.
We have also discovered that there was in fact an additional room at the Western end but which following a period of neglect and decay finally collapsed in the 1990s. (Interestingly we can find no trace of where the walls originally stood but we do have a photograph from around 1980 which clearly shows it still standing. Oh yes, and a very large pile of rubble!) Even so, the house is still one of the larger properties in the area.
Toponymically our research suggests that La Touche or Les Touches, were small areas of woodland, or groves which were spared deforestation in the Middle Ages. The word is prevalent in the northern territories of what was Roman Gaul (Northern France, Belgium and the Channel Islands – of which the Loire is part). La Petite Touche, as it is now known, was probably the smaller of two "Touches" in the vicinity. The word in the language of Oc (Southern France) is found in the form Touasc, Touesso or Tousco. The word, originally pre-gauloise, is the origin of many place names throughout France. (We know of several other properties in the immediate vicinity also called La Touche or a variation thereof.)
According to the Cadastral maps drawn up by order of Napoleon and dated 1837 the farm at that time spread from the southern edges of Genneteil, surrounded the house and covered approximately 6.3 sq. kilometres. Comparing that map with modern satellite images, some of the roads have moved but many of the cadastral outlines around fields, woods etc. remain visible.
...and more recently
The evidence of concrete floors in some of the outhouses suggests that it may have been laid when concrete first became commonplace, from the 1930s or so. La Petite Touche appears to have been run as a farm probably until sometime in the middle of the 20th Century. It was sold to our immediate predecessors in 2000, who started to convert what was in parts a quite tumbledown building into a luxury home. They renovated the roof (and rebuilt some walls) to a very high standard, using traditional methods which allowed us to leave some exposed hardwood beams and woodwork during our renovation works. The property became ours in September 2007.
Over the last 10 years we have completed our renovations to the main house, done some work on the other outhouses and turned a near derelict site into a permanent home for ourselves, with two holiday homes for customers and family.