x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

French château fit for a king on sale at €6.2m

La Vermondie, a 12th century château in the Aquitaine region of France, is up for sale for EUR6.2 million

La Vermondie, Dordogne, France. Dating back to the 12th century, the entire 9,690 sq ft interior has been exquisitely restored. Christie's International Real Estate
La Vermondie, Dordogne, France. Dating back to the 12th century, the entire 9,690 sq ft interior has been exquisitely restored. Christie's International Real Estate

La Vermondie, a 12th-century château with a rich history in the Aquitaine region of France, has gone on sale for €6.2 million (Dh30.5m).

Set within 50 hectares of extensive woods, orchards and meadows, the property has its own boating lake and a leaning Gallo-Roman tower, about 20 metres in height, now listed as a historical monument.

Local folklore claims the English king Richard the Lionheart squirrelled away some of his spoils of war in the tunnels beneath the tower. Nowadays the estate is entirely private and there are no public rights of way, however architecture experts request occasional visits.

Fully restored, the castle is built over four levels and has a living area of 864 square metres, including five bedrooms, four bathrooms, one formal and one family dining room, a top-floor gymnasium, a swimming pool and pool house. The house is described as having “outstanding” south-west views.

The entertaining areas of the property include a summer and winter salon decorated with stone fireplaces, oak ceilings and tall windows offering views over the surrounding hills and valleys. The main sitting room leads to a courtyard with traditional flagstones, shrubs and flowers. To the south of the courtyard are the two guest apartments, each with their own access. This is also a 110 sq metres atelier that is currently used by the owner as an office but could also serve as a ballroom, a studio or art gallery.

On the lower ground level of the château there are several service and storage rooms, including a kitchen and a laundry room. There are also garages, workshops and barns for tractors and equipment. The latest renovation introduced sophisticated lighting, heating, electrical and security systems which can be controlled and monitored on-site or remotely.

“We rarely see French chateaux with this level of finish.” says Joachim Wrang-Widen, Christie’s International Real Estate’s Senior vice president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, who is handling the sale. “The history of the building combined with the recent modernisation offer the perfect retreat in one of France’s prettiest areas, with the added benefit of being able to move straight in to enjoy this rare quality of life.”

Q&A

The château is in Aquitaine. Where is that exactly?

In the south-west of France on the Atlantic coast. It shares a border with Spain as well as the Pyrenees mountains. The capital city of the region is Bordeaux. The luxurious seaside town Biarritz is also within the region. The Aquitaine coastline is popular with surfers. The region’s economic development was founded on agriculture, fishing and the metal industry. Today that has shifted towards the aeronautic and spatial sectors, with Dassault, units of EADS and Thales located there. Ford and Sanofi Aventis are two of the other major companies there.

And I believe the castle had a famous architect owner.

That’s right. The architect Gilles Saint-Gilles owned La Vermondie. His projects include private residences, castles, boutiques, banks and palaces including the Jeddah Palace in Saudi Arabia.

Who else is being said about the property?

Rupert Valpy from Maxwell-Storrie-Baynes, a Christie’s affiliate, has this to say: “Estates such as this are rare in Europe. The property is steeped in history. It was rescued in the 1990s by a celebrated French architect, who undertook a restoration project with great skill and sensitivity. He and the subsequent current owner have created a grand and elegant residence, a sanctuary where time stands still.”

lgutcher@thenational.ae