Friday Fun: Manor Houses for Sale

They are officially listed under ‘chateaux’ on the exclusive property site Belles Demeures, but they range from medieval castles to 19th century extravaganzas for the lord of the manor, and the prices are far more reasonable than in England (the scenery often far more beautiful too). My conclusion after closely examining every single property on the site is that not enough people make use of all the space they have to create wonderful libraries…

[Apologies for the watermarks on the pictures, since Belles Demeures is an aggregate site for a collective of estate agents in France].

How I love the symmetry of this French chateau near Nantes.
Turrets and a massive park make even the plainest of houses more interesting, as in this example from Pontchateau.
This 19th century building in Nouan is being used as a hotel.
I just love this peaceful terrace at this manor house in Vannes.
Italian influence in this courtyard in Provence.
This castle in Chambery has the perfect demonstration of what a turret staircase might look like.
The more recent manor houses have wider staircases in wood, of course, like this example in Lisieux.

Friday Fun: Chateaux in the Snow

I gather there is a film currently on one of the streaming services featuring a popular novelist who can afford to buy a Scottish castle just in time for Christmas, so I couldn’t resist combining two of my favourite topics: castles/palaces/manor houses and snow. Of course, not all of these are ‘chateaux’ strictly speaking, but ‘palaces in the chalices’ or ‘castles for the passels’ just don’t quite have the same rhyming resonance, do they?

This is of course the castle everyone thinks of when they imagine winter, mountains, snow and overly-romantic situations. Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, from Travel Triangle.
But I raise you the Winter Palace in St Petersburg with a colour that really pops out amidst the white, photo credit Minigaleeva Elena.
The Russian Czars really did know how to get palaces built that would fit in well in a snowy landscape. Alexander Palace and Park, from Nicholas II site.
More modest, in a land more given to rain than snow, Drimnagh Castle in Ireland still looks beautiful. From the castle’s restoration page on Facebook.
Ah, now we’re coming to the chateaux, in this case Chenonceau in the Loire Valley, from My French Country Home Magazine.
Chateau Amboise is equally breathtaking in winter, with its terrace overlooking the Loire. From the castle website – don’t forget to visit the tomb of Leonardo Da Vinci while you are there.
Peleș Castle in Sinaia, Romania, may look medieval, but it was built in the late 19th century and had all the mod cons, as well as a beautiful location in the Carpathian Mountains. From Peles.ro
More of a fortress than a chateau, Rasnov Castle in Romania is a popular post-Christmas dinner walk away for the locals (or maybe that was just my family?) From brasovstiri.ro

Friday Fun: Mansions with Musical Links

Not that we need any excuse to show beautiful mansions or palaces, but, following the Canadian novel about musicians that I read earlier this week, I was inspired to find a bit of a musical theme to the following gorgeous pictures.

Chateau Vendeuvre in Normandy, still privately owned, does not really have any famous composer living here, but does have a rather annoying musical theme tune when you go the website.
The Sarkozy-Bruni household lives in this mansion. Carla Bruni of course was a model and singer before she became Madame Sarkozy.
The Chopin Museum in Warsaw is considerably grander than Chopin’s birthplace in the country manor house, where his father was a tutor. From muzeum.nifc.pl
Leith Hill Place in Surrey was a place where Vaughan Williams spent most of his childhood. It is currently being restored as a National Trust property. From nationaltrust.org.uk
The house of Robert and Clara Schumann in Leipzig, where they moved right after they married. The couple met in Leipzig too. From Leipzig.travel
The grandest privately-owned mansion in the United States, the Biltmore Estate, hosts annual summer music festivals. Still home to the descendents of the Vanderbilt family, from romanticasheville.com

Friday Fun: Josephine Baker and Her Rainbow Tribe

Something a little bit different for this Friday Fun post. Josephine Baker achieved her greatest success outside her country of birth, the United States. She moved to Paris when she was still very young, and it was there that she became idolised as the Black Venus of cabaret performance in the 1920s and 30s. She was also active in the French Resistance during the war and in the civil rights movement in the US in the 1950s and 60s. Part of her activism was her well-intentioned but rather misguided ambition to raise a Rainbow Tribe. Unable to have any children of her own, she adopted a total of 12 children of different ethnicities to prove they could grow up together in harmony. She also deliberately raised them with different religions. At her magnificent estate in the Dordogne Chateau de Milandes she created something of a theme park, including a hotel, a farm, rides, and the children singing and dancing for visitors, included in the price of admission.  That sounds to me horrendously like a zoo, and she certainly was not beyond typecasting the children to ‘represent’ their ethnic group, but she no doubt meant well. She later had to sell the chateau as she got into massive debt, and was taken in by her friend Grace Kelly, by then Princess of Monaco. The chateau is now open once more to visitors.

The rainbow tribe in the mid 1950s.

Chateau de Milandes in the present-day, from its own website.

Josephine Baker with her fourth husband and her children. From YouTube.

The front aspect of Chateau de Milandes, a genuine 15th century French chateau in the Dordogne.

Josephine at the chateau with the children in the 1960s.

The dining room at Chateau des Milandes. From TripAdvisor

Finally, another of Josephine Baker’s houses, in Le Vesinet, Paris, bought when she first achieved fame in the 1920s. The house is privately owned and not available for visiting, but this is where Josephine walked her pet cheetah.

Friday Fun: Back to France

Who am I kidding? English country mansions are all very nice, but my heart beats faster when I see a French chateau – or even a ‘humble’ maison de maitre. And, who knows, maybe in the region Bourgogne -Franche-Comte, it might even be affordable? My ‘retirement’ plans are to acquire one of these and organise writing, reading and thinking retreats. Any takers?

Gracious stone pile in Besancon, from immobilierfranche-comte.fr
Modest little house from Mitula Immobilier.
This one is slightly more expensive, but has extensive grounds and outhouses. From clairefontaineimmobilier.fr
My kind of farmhouse building in the Jura, from regions-of-france.com
House in Bourgogne, close to the vineyards, from my-french-house.com
The real dream, this 13th century renovated chateau in Oyonnax, only 9 minutes from Geneva by helicopter! From Cortebil.fr

Friday Fun: Return to the Small Chateaux

This week, a group of women writers whom I am honoured to call friends, L’Atelier Writers, are having their annual retreat in a French chateau. I joined them one year and it was magical. You bet that I am extremely envious. So I’ve found some additional chateaux to make them envious too!

Yes, a majority of them are French, but I am including a few from other countries as well. This time round, small and compact are the keywords. Well, for chateau standards at least.

Alone in Copenhagen, from Pinterest.
The comforting standard French shutters, from Architectural Digest.
The House on the Lake, in Brussels, photo credit Quentin de Briey.
Less of a chateau, more of a manor house in Gascogne (land of D’Artagnan), from Architectural Digest.
Hidden amongst flowering trees, French chateau from Thingsthatinspire.net
Solar de Alvega in Portugal, from manorhouses.com
In England we call them manor houses, but they are still chateaux to me, like this one for sale in Woodstock, from Country Life.

Friday Fun: Beautiful Misc

I love the word ‘miscellaneous’ and I love what it represents, so here is a beautiful mix of interior design elements that I hope will inspire you as much as they did me!

Impeccably organised living room, for music and book lovers. From Tumblr.
Chateau Dazaye-Rideau on the Loire Valley, from Jarrod Castaing.
Abandoned villa in Thessaloniki, Greece, from V Light Photography
Pure escapism on Laucala Island Resort, from deluxe-escapes.com
Missed opportunity to turn that window seat into a reading nook and far too much space on the shelves, but yes, a nice home library. From Rose Pingouin.
And, to end on a squeee note, a spotted piglet. From AnimalRights.com

Friday Fun: Chateau Location Scouting

Some grand old manor houses look good by day or night, and here are some which would make a great backdrop for a film or a book. Any additional suggestions of appropriate films or books would be much appreciated.

Chateau owned by Catherine Deneuve, from Le Matin.
Chateau owned by Catherine Deneuve, from Le Matin. Suitable for Netherfield Park in French version of Pride and Prejudice?

Another beauty near Poitiers, from Le Figaro property section.
Another beauty near Poitiers, from Le Figaro property section. Cyrano de Bergerac might be hiding in one of those bushes.

Chateau near Rouen, from
Chateau near Rouen, from Selectimmovexin.com. I could see the Three Musketeers hiding here and bewitching the lady of the house on their way to new adventures.

Chateau d'Artigny. Wouldn't this be a great location for Gatsby's famous parties? in the Loire valley, from winerist.com
Chateau d’Artigny. Wouldn’t this be a great location for Gatsby’s famous parties? in the Loire valley, from winerist.com

Chateau in Provence, perfect for a Russian aristocrat forced into exile with all of the family jewels. From Maisonsavendre.fr
Chateau in Provence, perfect for a Russian aristocrat forced into exile with all of the family jewels. From Maisonsavendre.fr

If Tintin ever does decide to get married at Captain Haddock's chateau, this Chateau Buffemont would be it. From French Wedding Style.
If Tintin ever does decide to get married at Captain Haddock’s chateau, this Chateau Buffemont would be it. From French Wedding Style.

Finally, for thirsty pirates landing in the Bordeaux region, the cellars of Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron might prove irresistable. From Wikimedia.com
Finally, for thirsty pirates landing in the Bordeaux region, the cellars of Chateau Pichon Longueville Baron might prove irresistible. From Wikimedia.com

 

Friday Fun: It’s Those Chateaux Again!

Yes, I know I said there were some beautiful palaces all over Europe (and I haven’t even gone to other continents – that’s a thought for future posts!). But I still dream of that perfect little chateau somewhere in France… Perhaps because there are so many of them to choose from, something for every taste.

Chateau in Bergerac, of modest proportions. From Angloinfo Property website.
Chateau in Bergerac, of modest proportions. From Angloinfo Property website.

I can never resist a beautiful staircase, such as in this chateau in Aveyron.
I can never resist a beautiful staircase, such as in this chateau in Aveyron.

Another chateau in the same area, this one for doer-uppers, from excellentissimmo.com
Another chateau in the same area, this one for doer-uppers, from excellentissimmo.com

In the heart of Cognac country, from groupemercure.fr
In the heart of Cognac country, from groupemercure.fr

Another one ripe for renovation, Chateau de la Rochette, from Chateaux en France website.
Another one ripe for renovation, Chateau de la Rochette, from Chateaux en France website.

This one in Normandy seems to have an endless variety of wings, from Vitruve Associes website.
This one in Normandy reminds me of Windsor Castle, from Vitruve Associes website.

Nothing like a large conservatory for reading, like in this chateau near Tours, from masterhomes.net
Nothing like a large conservatory for reading, like in this chateau near Tours, from masterhomes.net

 

Friday Fun: Not Only Chateau in France

There are other countries that have beautiful chateaux, you know, even though they may call them Schloss, vár, palat, hrad and so on. Here are a few lesser-known favourites, some of which may even be for sale.

Austrian Schloss in Kärnten for sale, from immowelt.at
Austrian Schloss in Kärnten for sale, from immowelt.at

Or this Baroque splendour in Bavaria, from Schlossburgverkauf.de
Or you might prefer to fork out for this Baroque splendour in Bavaria, from Schlossburgverkauf.de

This Schloss near Dresden has been largely renovated already. Ready to move into! From schlossburgverkauf.de
This Schloss near Dresden has been largely renovated already. Ready to move into! From schlossburgverkauf.de

This Hungarian property is a bit of a doer-upper - you can really put your mark on it! From casa-mia.at
This Hungarian property is a bit of a doer-upper – you can really put your mark on it! From casa-mia.at

This beauty in Slovakia is not for sale - perhaps because it is rumoured to have ghosts? From allwomenstalk.com
This beauty in Slovakia is not for sale – perhaps because it is rumoured to have ghosts? From allwomenstalk.com

You may want to go further back in history and get a medieval Tuscan tower in Pienza, from romoliniimobiliare.com
You may want to go further back in history and get a medieval Tuscan tower in Pienza, from romoliniimobiliare.com

Although, if you like towers, this Thuringian castle is also worth considering. From Schlossburgverkauf.de
Although, if you like towers, this Thuringian castle is also worth considering. From Schlossburgverkauf.de

Palatul Mogosoaia- a more modest affair just outside Bucharest - you can only have your wedding here, not buy it. From zambetsisanatate.ro
Palatul Mogosoaia- a more modest affair just outside Bucharest – you can only have your wedding here, not buy it. From zambetsisanatate.ro

Pakatul Cotroceni is the White House I prefer - official residence of the Romanian president, formerly a royal palace (and a monastery before that). From presidency.ro
Pakatul Cotroceni is the White House I prefer – official residence of the Romanian president, formerly a royal palace (and a monastery before that). From presidency.ro