x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

French château with a truly classic pedigree

The Life: This 150-hectare property in the South of France dates back to the 13th century and is on sale at €12 million.

A château dating back to the 13th century is up for sale and stands around 25 minutes from the Marseille airport, a gateway to the oldest and second largest French city. The name of the 150-hectare property remains undisclosed as per owner request, according to Emile Garcin Properties, France, where it is listed. Credit: Emile Garcin Properties
A château dating back to the 13th century is up for sale and stands around 25 minutes from the Marseille airport, a gateway to the oldest and second largest French city. The name of the 150-hectare property remains undisclosed as per owner request, according to Emile Garcin Properties, France, where it is listed. Credit: Emile Garcin Properties

The south of France is known for its sunshine, Roman links and stunning mountain and coastal landscapes.

As a result, properties with long histories abound in the region, including in Provence's medieval capital Aix-en-Provence - founded by a Roman consul in 123BC, destroying a Gallic settlement.

Those looking to invest in their own piece of history might be interested in a 13th-century château located about 25 minutes from Marseille airport.

Set amid elaborate landscaped gardens with Lebanon and Atlas cedars, the château is on sale at €12 million (Dh58.15m) - down from the €17m it was first listed for three months ago.

The name of the 150-hectare property remains undisclosed as per owner request, according to Emile Garcin Properties in France, where it is listed.

In keeping with the layout and features of neighbouring properties, which include modern villas as well as traditional Provençal homes, the château includes a pool and ivy-covered rugged, stone walls.

The main building, approached via a cobbled pathway, has 1,000 square metres of living space spread over 30 rooms on three floors. The outbuildings provide another 3,000 sq metres of space. There are also outhouses to accommodate staff working at the château.

The ground floor is taken over by reception rooms, including a sitting room, dining room, kitchen and pantry. Another sitting room in the other wing leads onto the gardens.

The château overlooks the countryside and the property brochure promises views of Montagne Sainte-Victoire, a 1,011 metre-high mountain ridge that extends over 18km. The French painter Paul Cézanne featured the mountain in several of his paintings, once describing it as his beau motif - or beautiful pattern - to the writer Émile Zola in a letter dated April 14, 1878.

 

Q&A: where Romans were charmed

What do you get for €12 million apart from the main house?

The 150 hectares that the property sits on includes 100 hectares of woods, which is home to hare, roe deer, wild boar, partridge and wood thrush among other wildlife. The property also includes 10 hectares of formal gardens, olive groves and orchards plus a swimming pool. There is also space for a pool house. An old chapel and a dovecot, suitable for domesticated pigeons, completes the built structures near the house. There are also a variety of old houses, sheds and garages dotted around the property.

What does Aix-en-Provence offer?

The charm of this laid-back town seems to lie in its streets, according to various travel writers. Once-home to Paul Cézanne and Émile Zola, jazz and delicate French cuisine are the features of the night scene. The town is also known for its museums and opera houses. The Hungarian-French artist Victor Vasarely started Fondation Vasarely in the 1970s, a centre that features geometric art. On the luxury side, modern-day tourists can soak in the thermal waters of Aix, not unlike the Romans who frequented the baths more than two centuries ago.

What’s new in Marseille?

Marseille, the second-largest city in France and 30 kilometres south of Aix-en-Provence, has a new European and Mediterranean Civilizations Museum. The new national museum is dedicated to the cultures of the Mediterranean, their richness and diversity in terms of history and civilization.

 

ssahoo@thenational.ae