Posted: Oct 8, 2015
Many of us have dreamed of floating, princess-style, through a chateau beneath towering turrets, or strutting like a lord through a castle festooned with ramparts. That fantasy can come true. Here are 10 fabulous fortresses that offer a fairytale ending to any property search.
1. Chateau de Saint-Germain Beaupre, Limoges, France. Price on application
This magnificent chateau is way beyond anything that most medieval interior designers could have ever imagined. The Foucauld family owned the estate for 600 years. They rode with Jeanne d’Arc, went on the Crusades and were chevaliers in the Hundred Years War. But might have been a bit surprised by today’s bespoke furnishings, the Philippe Stark bathrooms or the Carrera marble kitchen surfaces. What they would have made of the state-of-the-art plumbing and electrics, who can say? The remote control drawbridge, however, they would have appreciated.
2. Dordogne, France £11.4m (€15.5m)
If you want to be lord of all you survey, this magnificent chateau should fit the bill. Sitting in 1,300 acres of woodland, meadows, pasture and farmland, it has 25 bedrooms and suitably ornate public rooms. It has been owned by the same family for nearly a thousand years and, in its current form, dates back to the 18th century. Now it is on the market for first time.
3. Antigny, near Poitiers, Vienne, France £2.95m (€4.75m)
If you enjoy fishing, this superb chateau has nearly a mile of river frontage as well as 79 acres of woodland and pasture. Immaculate formal gardens surround the typically turreted 15th century building. It has 13 bedrooms, with heavily carved stone fireplaces in all the reception rooms. There’s even a private chapel with exquisite and historically important frescoes.
4. Laval, France £1.29m (€1.76m)
This turreted chateau sits in 24 acres of land. Its perfect symmetry is reflected in the mirror-calm lake. With 12 bedrooms and numerous generously sized reception rooms, the opportunity to buy the furniture for €240,000 might be worth considering. It would leave you time to enjoy the woodlands, swimming pools, cinema room and wine cellar.
Home Hunts (0208 144 5501 www.home-hunts.com)
5. Near Limoges, Haute Vienne, France £14.75m (€20m)
Fancy swashbuckling around your own fiefdom? This sturdy chateau comes as part of a 400 acre estate, complete with medieval golf course and its own licensed tavern. There are 17 bedrooms in the castle, plus several other houses on the estate, and five barns.
Leggett Prestige (0033 553 60 84 88; www.leggettprestige.com )
6. Sant Andreu de Llaveneres, Barcelona, Spain. Price on application
Here’s a castle with a difference. It dates back to the 17th century and has a castellated entrance tower, a Moorish flavour and three banqueting halls. Its hillside location gives spectacular sea views. With 11 en-suite bedrooms and more than one commercial kitchen, the potential to run a boutique hotel here is obvious..
7. Estoril, Portugal £2.57m (€3.5m)
Royalty, celebrities and high-rollers have favoured this exclusive seaside resort over the years. Ian Fleming visited during the war and drank at the Hotel Palacio. Here he toyed with the idea of a fictional spy quaffing martini at the glamorous casino next door. This stretch of the Portuguese Riviera, close to Lisbon, continues to attract elite visitors. What better place to entertain your VIP guests than a 19th century castle with perfect sea views?
8. Impruneta Castle, Florence, Italy. Price on Application
In the 16th century, matching villa facades were added to this 10th century stone fortress. All the state rooms were decorated with dazzling frescoes which survive intact. Outside there is a private chapel, similarly decorated. It is already hired out for weddings, the fees of which could go towards renovation work needed upstairs in the castle.
9. Ferran Castle, Tarragona, Spain £2.6m (€3.4m)
From its humble origins as an 11th century watchtower, this building has gathered a number of architectural styles through the years, but is still clearly a castle. Situated a few miles northeast along the coast from the Mediterranean port city of Tarragona, it’s in a popular tourist area. The beaches of the Costa Dorada are a short drive away. The castle has eight bedrooms and a tempting swimming pool.
10. Chateau des Saules, Ansacq, France £2.76m (€3.78m)
Ansaqc is a tiny village in the Picardy region of northern France. Equidistant between Beauvais, Chantilly and Compiegne, it is just 35 minutes from Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. It sits securely within a moat, surrounded by 135 acres of meadows and woodland. The original building dates from the 9th century, but the current façade is 15th century. Popular as a wedding venue, it could provide an income from the start.