It would be difficult to find a private estate for sale in all of France with more remarkable gardens. They are, in fact, listed by the French Ministry of Culture as one of the more than 300 Remarkable Gardens in France.
The 9 hectares, or approximately 22 acres, of park and formal gardens surround a castle dating from the 13th and 15th centuries. The property is close to the village of Orcival in the Puy de Dôme region of central France.
Originally built as a castle, the property has been in the same family for almost 400 years. The fortress was demilitarized in the 17e century, like many others due to the political climate of the time, and rebuilt in residence.
The gardens were added in the late 1600s. They were designed by the studio of André Le Nôtre, the gardener of King Louis XIV and the landscaper whose formal gardens adorn the Palace of Versailles.
The castle gained notoriety when it was used as the setting for the novel by Nobel Prize-nominated writer Paul Bourget in 1914 The Demon of Noon.
During World War II, the location – far from the Nazi occupation zone – was used to safeguard the archives of the University of Strasbourg and the National Library of France.
The castle and gardens were restored in the mid-1960s.
Charms line the driveway leading to the castle, which retains the defensive towers that give it a fairytale look. The stone facade retains what are known as machicolations – openings supported by corbels through which embers or hot stones could be dropped on attackers.
A topiary garden with fountains is located in the courtyard. Nearby is a labyrinth which leads to a rose garden. Precisely trimmed hedges surround two other formal gardens with manicured lawns.
The interior looks like an aristocrat’s country house. A 16e-Retable in marble of the century, decorative 18eThe plaster moldings, the garrison rooms and the dungeons of the century add a museum quality.
A wooden beam ceiling tops the dining room, which features stone door frames and a massive stone fireplace. The castle has 16 main rooms including a chapel, 12 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms. The high-ceilinged rooms feature stately fireplaces, wooden floors and ornate wall panels.
The outbuildings include an annex house, a renovated farmhouse, garages, stables and a barn.
Sophie van Cayzeele of the Mercure Group is the listing agent for the property, which is priced at 2.5 million euros, or nearly 3 million US dollars.
Orcival, centered on the 12th century Notre-Dame basilica, has long been a place of pilgrimage.
The chateau is about 30 minutes from the larger university town of Clermont-Ferrand and from Clermont-Ferrand Auvergne airport.
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