French property dream: a ‘half château’ in Tarn

French property dream: a ‘half château’ in Tarn

Still battling with that château-buying dream? Rachel Johnston finds a very tempting compromise in Tarn

It may be that you’ve always dreamed of being a French château owner, but harbour less dreamy thoughts about its price, its size or its upkeep. And these are very valid concerns – the world of château ownership is not one to enter into half-heartedly or without both eyes firmly open. But the prospect of scary finances and complex utilities needn’t shelve your dream and leave it collecting dust for another 10 years. What about taking a smaller, more manageable bite of the château apple? This stunning example is a ‘perfect half’ of what was originally one very large residence, and since being separated and lovingly restored, it is now on the market with a price tag of €895,000.

Located in Tarn’s ‘golden triangle’ between the towns of Albi, Gaillac and Cordes-sur-Ciel, this unusual residence is a completely self-contained ‘half château’, beautifully restored with many original features and enjoying spacious accommodation which, at the same time, escapes any laborious management. The château was occupied for 400 years by the ongoing local notaireand his family before its conversion into two properties. With its handsome, imposing facade, this section has lost nothing of the prestige expected of a French château and is set in private landscaped grounds with its own walled swimming pool. Entering through double wrought-iron gates mounted on stone pillars, the first delight is the garden – a fine expanse of lawn with lovely planting and a path that borders the length of the château. There is even a jardin secret here – but I’ll leave that part as it should be.

The pool, measuring a generous 10×3.5m, is adjoined by an extensive dining terrace facilitating long lazy meals al fresco. Once passed through the magnificent front door, the château’s ground floor unfolds into spacious reception rooms – an extended hallway leading the way – with all the character features you would hope for in such a residence: original tiles, a flagstoned staircase, ceilings à la française. The sitting room boasts an open fireplace, the snug has its own bar and there’s a formal dining room with French doors to the garden, while the spacious kitchen has been skilfully planned to combine old with new. Granite worktops gleam and the flicker from a woodburner glows against open stone. Five bedrooms are spread across the upper two floors, the master of which retains its original marble fireplace surround and an en suite with twin basins. There’s great potential for expanding the existing accommodation in the loft too, whose windows keep the space light in spite of its heavy beams.

The château achieves that enviable balance of privacy without isolation, situated on the edge of a historic village and walking distance from an excellent restaurant and bar. If you need an income to support your lifestyle, the draw of the aforementioned nearby towns also puts you in a strong position to offer chambres d’hôtes. Guests can explore the viticulture of Gaillac and Albi’s riverside red brick to their hearts’ content, before returning home from Toulouse airport, just 45 minutes’ drive from the property.

Agence L’Union

Tel: 0033 (0)5 63 30 60 24

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