Domaine de Val des Pres
Domaine de Val des Pres
The Domaine de Val des Près which is located at St Roch Au Cap, 16 km from Victoria is an experiment in re-creating the Traditional Creole Village as a mean of promoting the Seychellois Cultural Heritage, depicting the various activities that may be found in a traditional estate.
Centred around the Maison de Planteur, or the house of the plantation owner with its outside peripherals such as traditional kitchen, servant’s quarter and other amenities pertinent to the colonial era of the 18th - 19th century, this showcase of traditional Seychellois life in the early days of the history of Seychelles, is an example of the ways in which the culture of Seychelles may be seen today.
In addition, Domaine De Val Des Pres houses a famous traditional restaurant, the Pomme Cannelle, and (12) twelve artisanal kiosks, designed and built using architectural elements that blend well with the main plantation house.
Domaine de Val des Près has the mandate to provide a showcase of inherited cultural aspects of the Seychellois life style of the days gone by and to preserve such nostalgia for the ageing generation and for the benefit of the upcoming generations, in order to grasp and appreciate the value of our Seychellois Cultural Heritage
Domaine de Val des Près estate Plantation house was built around 1870. The gigantic timber house which once belonged to the Bailey family was sold to the government in 1972.
In 1926, Dr John Thomas Bradley (1872-1942) who was then chief medical officer of health in Seychelles gave the house to his daughter Dolly in 1920 who had married Douglas Bailey (1899-1974) a wealthy Anglican and fervent supporter of the Anglican Church in Seychelles. He was employed by the Eastern Telegraph Company. He was also a nominated member of the Legislative Council for 28 years. In the 1950’s Douglas Bailey bought the other nearby plantation house used today as the Creole Institute at Au Cap. The couple made generous donations towards the construction of many Anglican churches in Seychelles.
Plans to create a craft village as a tourist educational and cultural centre dates back to 1977, but construction work started in 1985, after the government of the United States of America agreed to finance the project.
After a construction time of almost four (4) years, the craft village was completed, consisting of a totally refurbished traditional plantation house, 12 new craft kiosks to host the most important local craft and a restaurant that serves traditional dishes. The new buildings were designed in a style that matches well with the architecture of the Plantation House.
Although it has been extensively renovated and refurbished in the course of which modifications were necessary, the Plantation house has retained all the traditional aspects of the colonial plantation houses: the pitched roof, the dormer windows and garrets, the wide verandah that en compasses the entire quadrilateral structure of the building, and of course the obligatory masonry plinths on which it rests.
A covered walk way at the back of the house leads to the traditional kitchen where, besides the wood stove, many items evoked the culinary memories of yesteryear. There is the kokosye (the half of coco de mer nut in which rice was washed before being put in the cooking pot) the lavann (a flat basket of woven pandanus in which rice was winnowed) the kapatia (a basket of woven coconut fronds in which fruits and vegetables were kept) and of course the indispensable marmit (cooking pot made of cast iron). Anything and everything was cooked in the marmit.
There is a replica of the servant’s dwelling house. Built of timber on squat stone pillars, it is a modest structure in which the servant slept.
The wooden walls are entirely covered with pages of newspapers and magazines. The dwelling has three compartments: the small living room, the bedroom and the kitchen.
Over 10% of visitors, visiting our shores do pay a visit to this estate, thus getting the chance to experience this unique journey into a traditional Seychellois cultural setting. . This place offers Seychellois and visitors alike a nostalgic glimpse of traditional life of yesteryear. Once in the village, standing under the breadfruit tree, one can visualize workers husking coconut, women laying out cinnamon bark in the hot sun to dry and one hears the distant lowing and mooing of cows and almost savour salted fish curry cooked with coconut milk and smoked pork.
A place worth visiting for everyone.