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Aticle on Loire Valley - House & Home, on Dec, 2nd, 2017

Aticle on Loire Valley - House & Home, on Dec, 2nd, 2017

Loire châteaux fall to ‘realistic’ prices

Loire châteaux fall to ‘realistic’ prices
Would-be winemakers can find vintage and vintnery with proximity to Paris
Brexit arrives early in Frankfurt property market
NOVEMBER 30, 2017 Hannah Roberts 3 comments
With more than 4,000 vineyards dotted along the Loire, this fertile river valley is the epicentre of French white wine production. Spring frosts threatened to make 2017’s harvest an année blanche, or lost year, but a warm summer saw central Loire recover to produce an earlier harvest and a small but promising vintage.
Loire was the “summer retreat” of the French aristocracy during the 15th to 17th centuries and the high concentration of manoirs and stately piles keeps prices relatively affordable, according to several agents.
Prices have fallen 40-50 per cent since the financial crisis, according to Jane Marshall of Sotheby’s International Realty. They are now priced “realistically”, according to Wolfgang Grell, French châteaux specialist at Engel & Völkers, who claims they should not drop much further. Small châteaux can sell for €700,000 or less, better value than equivalent properties in Spain, says Grell.
Some buyers are looking for a large historic property to turn into a chambre d’hôte, wedding venue or equestrian business. Others, given the fruitful surroundings, are looking to become winemakers. “But hobby vineyards don’t make money,” warns Roger Willoughby of Prestige Property.
With its sophisticated cities and towns — including Angers, Tours, Chinon and Blois — rich history, good restaurants and winery visits, Loire is the second most popular choice for châteaux in France, after the more expensive surroundings of Paris, says Grell. A six-bedroom manor house 40km east of Angers is on the market for €535,000 with Prestige Property.
Les Tourelles in Châteauneuf sur Loire, €645,750
A four-bedroom 16th-century manor house near Blois is on the market with Engel & Völkers for €790,000.
The “convenience factor,” is everything says Willoughby. Being within a reasonable distance, usually 2.5 hours of a Paris airport, is often non-negotiable. Properties towards Orléans or near Tours, where there is a small airport and a station for TGV high-speed trains, are more likely to find buyers.
Les Tourelles, a nine-bedroom château in the Forest of Orléans, is on the market with Sotheby’s International Realty for €645,750. The agent is also selling a nine-bedroom château, 40km from Tours, for €2.4m.
Low interest rates energised the French property market this year, with inquiries at Knight Frank up 48 per cent in the first half of 2017 year on year. Transactions through the agency were 8 per cent higher in the first quarter of 2017, year on year, and some 29 per cent above those of 2015.
Confidence in the French market further increased following Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the presidential elections in June, says Mark Harvey of Knight Frank, thanks to his plans to lure international talent and restructure the economy. “French citizens, who moved their lives and wealth overseas during Hollande’s presidency are starting to return, drawn by historically low prices and Macron’s pro-business stance,” Harvey says.
Macron’s reform of France’s notorious wealth tax (which contributed to the exodus of as many as 12,000 millionaires a year) will come into force at the end of this year. Other international buyers in the Loire tend to be from the US, Germany, Australia and, increasingly, China.
Nine-bedroom château near Loches, €2.4m Cédric Chardron © Cédric Chardron
Rental interest is steady, with 80m tourists visiting France every year, more than any other country, according to Marshall. Around Le Mans, where a motorsports endurance race is held every June, the weekly rental charge of properties around that time is high enough to cover a year of expenses, according to Marshall. A 19th century castle with 18 hectares land near Le Mans is on the market with Sotheby’s for €1.264m.
Not all buyers want large properties with land. Barbara and Peter Pescod from the UK bought a townhouse in Chinon, after discovering the area during a walking holiday. “We chose Chinon because it felt authentically French, it’s not too far from the UK, and with châteaux and vineyards there’s always something to do on a wet day”.
While town houses offer convenience, châteaux and manoirs are “a lifestyle choice”, says Willoughby, and should not necessarily be seen as an investment as restoration can cost as much as the property. “A château roof can cost €200,000-€300,000 and the heating alone can cost €20,000-€30,000 a year,” he says. If the property is listed you have to use French artisans to do restoration work, he adds. When it comes to selling it can take “two to three years”, says Grell. “Each one is unique and needs a unique buyer to be found.”
Would-be vintners looking for a vintage property and favourable terroir will find plenty to pique their interest in the Loire, although they may need to dig deep to restore their new home to premier cru standards (or just fix the roof). Investors hoping to earn a healthy return on their châteaux anytime soon may want to think twice before putting down roots.
Buying guide
Offers are written and binding for a period of exclusivity
Allow 7 per cent for taxes and fees
Capital gains tax of 30 per cent will be applicable on sales from 2018
What you can buy for...
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€535,000 A six-bedroom manor house east of Angers
€800,000 A four-bedroom 16th century manor house near Blois
€1.25m A 19th century castle on 18 hectares near Le Mans
Photographs: Getty; Cédric Chardron
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Article in New York Times - Nov, 22th, 2017

Article in New York Times - Nov, 22th, 2017

House Hunting in … Bordeaux, France

A LATE 19TH-CENTURY HOME IN BORDEAUX $2.34 MILLION (1.98 MILLION EUROS) This six-bedroom, late 19th-century house, just west of the center of Bordeaux, was renovated by its current owner, preserving original elements like the marble staircase, fireplaces and hardwood floors. Past the front door, glass-and-wood double doors open to an entrance hall with a half-bath, a translucent glass ceiling and stairs leading down to the garden level and up to the main floor. The garden level has a large bedroom with a shower, a laundry room, storage and a half-bath. The main floor has an open kitchen-and-dining area and a living room with dove-gray walls, a fireplace and French doors to a terrace and the garden below. The second-floor landing serves as an office; a half-bath is adjacent. (The landing’s glass floor is the entrance hall’s ceiling.) The second floor has three bedrooms, including the master suite, and the third floor has two more bedrooms, both air-conditioned. In all, there are four half-baths, one on each floor; five bedrooms have en-suite showers, and the master suite has a bathtub and shower. The 3,500-square-foot house sits on an approximately 7,000-square-foot lot. The owner, Jérôme Nivaux, said he saved as much of the original detail as possible during the renovation, although the layout was reconfigured and the paint, plumbing, electricity and double-paned windows are all new. The house is a few steps from a boulangerie, cheesemonger and market; tram stops and a supermarket are about 400 yards away. A new high-speed train makes the trip to Paris in two hours from the Bordeaux-Saint-Jean station about three miles from the house. Bordeaux’s international airport is a 20-minute drive.

Bordeaux, which has a population of about 250,000, has “exploded with optimism and enthusiasm” in the last five years, said Michael Baynes, an executive partner of Maxwell-Baynes, the affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate in southwestern France. He credited Bordeaux’s restaurants and its proximity to the beach and wine country, as well as the high-speed train. Thanks to limited supply and increased demand, especially from French buyers outside Bordeaux, properties tend to sell quickly and prices have been rising, agents said. Parisians, in particular, have been moving to Bordeaux and working remotely, said Aymeric Sabatié-Garat, associate director of the Bordeaux branch of Barnes, a luxury real estate agency. This year, there are about half as many luxury properties — homes priced at 1 million euros or more — on the market as there were in 2015, Mr. Sabatié-Garat said. And since 2014, luxury prices have gone up between 50 and 60 percent, he estimated, while in the general market, where there is more supply, prices increased by only about 20 percent during the same period. Etienne Delpech, a broker with Bordeaux Sotheby’s International Realty, which has the listing for this house, said the first half of 2017 was busy for his agency, with homes selling quickly and usually at asking price. Since the end of the summer, though, some properties have been discounted during negotiations or lingered on the market, he said, many of them in the city center, where prices have increased the most. Desirable areas include Le Triangle d’Or, the blocks around the Public Garden and the fashionable Chartrons neighborhood, agents said. In the most coveted places, prices of luxury properties start at 7,000 euros a square meter (or about $770 a square foot), Mr. Delpech and Mr. Sabatié-Garat said. Luxury prices throughout the city center average about 3,500 to 4,500 euros a square meter (or $380 to $490 a square foot), Mr. Baynes said. Chateau vineyards constitute a separate market in the Bordeaux region. A small winery can be bought for 500,000 euros (or about $590,000), Mr. Baynes said, but the “vast majority” sell for between 3 million and 5 million euros (about $3.5 million to $5.9 million), while some 20 percent fetch upward of 5 million euros.

Most home buyers in Bordeaux are French; those who buy vineyards are more likely to be foreign. Mr. Delpech said that fewer than 10 percent of his buyers this year were from foreign countries, including Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, the United States, China and Lebanon. About half of his French buyers were local, he said, and the other half were mostly from Paris. Mr. Baynes said that only 10 percent of his vineyard buyers were from France; 40 percent were from the United States, with the rest from other parts of Europe and Asia.

Real estate transactions in France require a notary, and sometimes a lawyer as well — when a transaction is particularly complex, for example, or for tax optimization, or when a sale involves a residence and a business, as in the case of a working vineyard, said Vianney Rivière, managing partner of Rivière Avocats Associés, a Bordeaux firm that specializes in real estate and tax law. For a home valued around 2 million euros, like this one, closing costs paid by the buyer — including the notary’s fees, a value-added tax on that service, stamp duty and a mortgage registration fee, if applicable — would total around 7 to 8 percent of the purchase price, Mr. Rivière said.
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Article in Mansion Global on the Château de la Barben- 2017, July, 17th

Article in Mansion Global on the Château de la Barben- 2017, July, 17th

A 1,000-year old French castle with a prominent history is on the market for €15 million, (US$17 million).
“It’s almost like a historic theme park,” said Nick Johansen, of Sotheby’s International Realty, the listing agent for the property.

The 60-room, 50,000-square-foot Château de la Barben is 20 minutes from Aix-en-Provence, in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, a southern French region known for its picturesque landscapes, rosé wine and elite residents, like Angelina Jolie, Baroness Michelle Mone, Brad Pitt and Rod Stewart.
The medieval fortress has an incredible history. It was first mentioned in Abbaye de Saint Victor in Marseille in 1064, according to the listing, and was occupied by  various royal families until 1474. That year, La Barben was sold by King Rene to the de Forbin family. Jean II de Forbin was one of the key figures in bringing Provence back into the kingdom of Louis XI, according to the property’s site.

The gardens were designed by one of Louis XIV’s most famous gardeners and landscape architects, Andre Le Nôtre, the man behind the park of Palace de Versailles. La Barben is also the site of the love affair between Princess Pauline Borghese, the sister of Napoleon I, and Auguste de Forbin. It is said that the princess used to bathe in the ornamental pond of the gardens, the listing stated.
Fast forward 500 years: André Pons, an agricultural engineer, bought the estate from Marquis de Forbin family in 1963. It was Mr. Pons who invested in the property’s repairs and modernization. He opened up half of the castle to the public to generate revenue for maintenance and started holding events to bring life into the estate, according to Mr. Johansen. La Barben was restored by Mr. Pons to a livable state, throughout his family’s residence there.
Current seller Bertrand Pillivuyt, owner of the Pillivuyt porcelain company, inherited the property from his wife’s father, André Pons, in 2006.“They’ve put so much work into it and I think they just want to move on,”  Mr. Johansen said.

Bloomberg first broke the story with an interview with Mr.  Pillivuyt, who could not be immediately reached for a comment.
The interiors are maintained to be authentically medieval and retain the property’s history.
Each of the home’s 60 rooms has unique architectural elements and design styles with tapestry, fireplaces and subterranean passages, which give a glimpse into the antique world.
Château de la Barben has maintained its medieval past with arrow slits, watchtowers, vaults and dungeons.
One of the main attractions of the 760-acre castle is how accessible it is. The property is very close to the airport, and the main town. Chateaus of this size are often tucked away in the hilltops and aren’t as easily to reach, Mr. Johansen said.
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Article in Mansion Global - Originally published on June 15, 2017

Article in Mansion Global - Originally published on June 15, 2017

Pasta Heir Lists Swiss Estate for About $72 Million - Riccardo Barilla, a descendant of the founder of the pasta company, is selling Domaine Pré Saint Jean, a roughly 10-acre estate just outside Genev

A Swiss estate owned for decades by a branch of the Barilla family, founders of the pasta company, is asking 70 million Swiss francs, or roughly $72 million.

Known as Domaine Pré Saint Jean, the roughly 10-acre estate located just outside Geneva in the wealthy suburb of Vandoeuvres is among the most expensive homes for sale in Switzerland right now, according to listing agent Alexander Kraft of Sotheby’s International Realty France—Monaco.

Owner Riccardo Barilla said his branch of the family sold their stake of the eponymous family business in the 1970s, after which his parents moved from Italy to Switzerland; the company is now owned by his cousins.

Mr. Barilla, a banker, said he first moved into Domaine Pré Saint Jean as a teenager in the 1970s, when his parents bought the house. After inheriting the estate a few years ago, he and his wife embarked on an extensive renovation of the interior to give it a more contemporary look.

With views of Mont Blanc, the main house measures about 9,470 square feet with four bedrooms, plus a terrace and a basement including the home’s original wine cellar, Mr. Kraft said. A renovated barn serves as a guesthouse, with five bedrooms, a kitchen and a garage; a former stable now includes three studio apartments for staff. Mr. Barilla obtained permits for two additional houses to be built on the property.

Mr. Barilla said the couple initially planned to live in the house once the renovation was completed, but their plans have changed and they now want to relocate to Italy.

Mr. Kraft noted that Geneva, one of the priciest cities in the world, has previously seen homes sales in the $80 million range.

written by Candace Taylor
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château de castille quoted in the wall Street journal

Wall Street Journal du 3 décembre 2015

Château de Castille Goes on the Market for $9.66 Million

In Provence, the castle’s Picasso murals are classified as historic monuments by the government.

Château de Castille, a castle in Southern France with Picassos etched on its walls, is going on the market for the first time in decades. It is seeking roughly $9.66 million.

The seven-bedroom stone castle was purchased in 1950 by the late Douglas Cooper, an art collector and friend of Picasso, according to Alexander Kraft, chairman and CEO of Sotheby’s International Realty France. The famed artist had five of his drawings—including nudes and bullfighting imagery—sandblasted onto walls at the castle, finishing the project in 1963, Mr. Kraft said. The murals, located on a covered outdoor loggia, and other parts of the castle are now classified as historic monuments by the French government, so they can’t be removed or demolished, Mr. Kraft said.

Located in Provence near the town of Uzès, about a 7-hour drive from Paris, the castle was originally built in the 1300s but embellishments were added around 1790. On roughly 5 acres, it has about 6,000 square feet of living space, including two dining rooms and several kitchens. While the castle “definitely needs some updating,” Mr. Kraft said, “structurally it’s quite sound.”

Art historian and Picasso biographer John Richardson, who lived with Mr. Cooper at the Château de Castille for years, said the artist often attended bullfights in the area and was a frequent visitor. “We’d have lunch with Picasso and go to the bullfight together,” Mr. Richardson said.

Picasso installed the drawings after Mr. Cooper expressed admiration for similar murals in Barcelona, Mr. Richardson said.

The castle is owned by the family of Nicolas de Bykhovetz, according to his daughter, Nathalie Benoit. She said the family is selling because now that her parents have died, they don’t use it as much. “We all feel sad, but we have to be reasonable,” she said.

Uzès Sotheby’s International Realty has the listing. 

By Candace Taylor

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house hunting in paris - new york times

New York Times

du 21 octobre 2015

House.... Hunting in Paris



This second-floor apartment is in a 1912 building designed by the architect Albert Sélonier in a transitional Art Nouveau style, blending the parquet floors, high ceilings and traditional moldings of the Haussmann era  with geometric design elements that were forward-looking for the time. The décor is by Kara Molinari, an interior designer, and features bespoke carpets and artwork. The furnishings in the 2,940-square-foot space will be negotiable as part of the sale. A spacious terrace shaded by an awning overlooks an interior courtyard.

“My idea was to bring the flat into the 21st century with classic style,” Ms. Molinari said. The focal point of the apartment is a traditional entry hall, with large paned doors opening into various rooms. Walls and woodwork in shades of dark blue are set against a gilt-framed mirror, a leopard-print rug and a settee upholstered in gold fabric.

To the left is an open-plan living and dining space, which is divided by Doric columns. Painted on the ceiling above the Jean Prouvé dining table is a geometric design inspired by the Russian Constructivism art movement of the 1920s. The living area features sofas by Philippe Starck, an Artemide Mercury light fixture, and a carpet designed by Ms. Molinari.

Beyond the living room is the master bedroom, which includes a walk-in closet and a boudoir with a Murano glass chandelier and gold leaf artwork by Ms. Molinari. The master bathroom has a 10-foot-long shower area, a free-standing tub by the Australian company Victoria & Albert, and matching floor and ceiling tiles by the Spanish company Porcelanosa. Ms. Molinari has embedded LED lights above the tub to create an impression of a night sky.

The modern eat-in kitchen, to the right of the entry hall, has a Siemens side-by-side refrigerator/freezer and induction cooktop, and sleek, integrated cabinetry, with quartz counters, made by the Italian company Arrital to Ms. Molinari’s specifications. Doors open to the terrace.

Down the entry hall is a family room and library with a custom carpet, a fireplace and doors that open wide to the terrace. At the far end of the entry hall, a service corridor with laundry facilities leads to the other three bedrooms and two full bathrooms. There is a storage room in the basement as well as parking under the building.

The apartment is in the Trocadéro neighborhood, in the 16th arrondissement, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower. The 16th is one of the largest arrondissements in the city. The area is served by the No. 6 Metro line, and offers easy access to the Périphérique ring road around Paris. Orly airport is about 30 minutes’ drive; Charles de Gaulle airport, about 45 minutes.



Foreign buyers have long gravitated toward the city’s historic core — the arrondissements, or districts, on either side of the Seine. On the Left Bank, that means the Seventh around the Eiffel Tower and the gallery- and boutique-lined streets in the Sixth along the Boulevard St.-Germain, which runs roughly east to west a few blocks in from the Seine.

The city’s highest real estate prices can be found in the Eighth Arrondissement on the Right Bank, home of the “Golden Triangle” of luxury shopping and hotels, followed closely by its neighbor to the west, the vast 16th arrondissement.

While Paris may have been eclipsed somewhat by the glamorous new high-rises of New York and London, overseas buyers value the city precisely because the pace of development has been slow, agents said. The market remains a conservative one, with little foreign demand for properties in gentrifying or trendy neighborhoods.

“People come to Paris to buy the typical Paris flat,” said Alexander Kraft, the chairman and chief executive of Sotheby’s International Realty France, which is listing the apartment. “They want the parquet floor, the moldings, the fireplace, the balcony that runs around.”

Home prices in Paris saw a run-up in the 2000s that largely continued through the collapse of Lehman Brothers, agents said. But uncertainty surrounding the presidential election of 2012, won by the Socialist François Hollande — who ran partly on a platform of raising taxes on the wealthy — sent prices tumbling.

“We were for over 10 years in a seller’s market,” said Marie-Hélène Lundgreen, the director of Belles Demeures de France, a subsidiary of Daniel Féau, which is a Christie’s affiliate. “Then in 2012, the elections, it was completely the contrary. We got into a buyer’s market with more inventory and prices went down.”

Prices have fallen about 15 percent since 2012, according to a report from Ms. Lundgreen’s agency. But the market has shown signs of rebounding, with the number of transactions rising, if not prices, in the  past 12 months.

“We are not expecting prices to go up again immediately,” Ms. Lundgreen said,  “but we see inventory coming down, and the market might change into a seller’s market again.”

Part of that activity is because of the weakness in the euro, agents said, but equally important is that sellers have started to negotiate more and even have cut prices.

“Finally, at the end of last year some sellers started to adjust prices,” Mr. Kraft said. “These days,  you bring an offer of minus 20 percent and sellers will say, let’s talk.”



The luxury market in Paris — for apartments $2 million and over — is notable for its diversity. “There’s not one predominant group, really,” Mr. Kraft said. In the last year, “Americans have come on strong,” he said, with the number of buyers from Russia and China falling sharply because of economic and political factors in those countries.

Data provided by Ms. Lundgreen showed that in 2014, 32 percent of buyers were from the Middle East, 23 percent from Europe and 19 percent from North America, with the remainder largely from Russia and Asia.

According to a survey from BNP Paribas, the number of properties in France sold to overseas buyers rose 1.5 percent in 2014, after falling the previous two years — 1 percent from 2011 to 2012, and 13 percent from 2012 to 2013. That upward trend continued through the first five months of 2015, the survey found. Corresponding to the strength of the dollar and the British pound against the euro, the number of American buyers increased by 12 percent in 2014, and the number of British buyers by 33 percent.

“Frankly, in comparison to other big capitals, Paris is quite cheap, really,” Mr. Kraft said. “Maybe one-third the price in New York or London. The attraction is very diverse, and this is reflected in the nationalities. For some, it’s fashion, for others it’s business.”


There are no restrictions on foreign buyers. All transactions go through a notary, who is responsible for details like contracts, verifying the legality of the deed and ensuring that taxes are collected and paid.

Buyers should budget about 8 percent to 10 percent of the sales price for taxes and notary fees, the majority of which are transfer taxes. It is usually not necessary to retain a lawyer.


City of Paris:

Paris tourism:

Buying property in France:


Property taxes for this home are about $4,000 a year, and condominium fees are about $13,700 a year.


French; euro (1 euro = $1.14)


Paulo Fernandes, Paris Ouest Sotheby’s International Realty, (011-33) 1 46 22 27 27;


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Article de Vanity Fair sur Sotheby's International Realty

​Vanity Fair USA le 22 juin 2015

Johnny Depp Is Selling His Private Village in France

The 37-acre estate includes a bar, a chapel, and a pirate-themed wine cave.

If you are a movie star of Johnny Depp’s caliber, we imagine that there are few places where you can go without being immediately detected, harassed by paparazzi, and overwhelmed by well-meaning fans. So that privacy predicament, when paired with savvy investment impulses, may explain why Depp bought himself his own Caribbean island and a private village in the South of France. Now, however, the actor is unloading the latter, meaning that if you have about $26 million to spare, you can finally live out your fantasy of being one of the world’s most sought-after actors, finding solitude in a secluded 37-acre estate.

Per the Sotheby’s listing, Depp purchased the Plan de la Tour, France, estate in 2001, and “spent a substantial amount of time on the property with his then partner, French actress and singer Vanessa Paradis.” The actor also spent over $10 million restoring the village, which is made up of “more than a dozen buildings, including a main house, several guest cottages, a chapel, a bar & restaurant, a workshop/garage, [and] a staff house.”

“Contrary to many other properties of major international celebrities, Johnny Depp's estate has not been decorated by an interior designer, but by Johnny himself,” explains Alexander Kraft of Sotheby’s. “As a consequence, the estate is not a ritzy showplace, but an utterly charming family home that truly reflects Johnny Depp's unique character and taste.”

As such, the property features a number of wonderfully Johnny Depp—esque features that Kraft outlined to The Wall Street Journal. Among them:
  • “A covered wagon that Mr. Depp outfitted with a bathroom and kitchen.”
  • “[A] church that Mr. Depp converted into a guest house; a former confessional is now a wardrobe.”
  • “A restaurant with a full professional kitchen, which Mr. Depp used as ‘basically the dining room.’”
  • “A laundry building and a garage, all made to look like local businesses.”
  • “There are two swimming pools, as well as a gym and a skate park with a halfpipe that Mr. Depp built for his son.”
  • “A wine cave in the main house has a Pirates of the Caribbean motif, with skulls and brightly colored scarves.”

In addition to getting a Pirates of the Caribbean–themed wine cave designed by the headlining pirate of the Disney franchise, Depp is also including a number of his personal effects with the property including, “furniture, books, DVDs, [and] art.”

Written by Julie Miller