Has the new series of Escape to The Chateau got you dreaming, like us, about buying your very own French chateau and emulating Dick and Angel Strawbridge’s picturesque life in the Loire? Or perhaps you’re a fan of Netflix reality show The Parisian Agency? which follows the Kretz family estate agency as they sell luxury properties.
With their grand, fairytale facades and gorgeous chateau-inspired interiors, not to mention endless grounds and outbuildings, French chateaux really do offer the dream of living in your very own castle.
What is a chateau?
Chateau is the French word for castle. However, France has a lot more chateaux than the UK does castles, because French aristocrats often chose to model their homes after the traditional castles of the 13th and 14th century, so the term is more comparable to the British manor or stately home.
How much does a chateau cost?
As with any house, the cost of a chateau for sale depends on the size, location amenities and, perhaps most importantly, the condition of the property. However, expect a mid-sized chateau in good condition to cost between €500,000 and €1,000,000. However, the grandest and largest properties can run close to €10,000,000!
If you want to live the chateau dream but don’t have a spare million or two lying around, one option is to buy a dilapidated property and restore it to its former glory, like Dick and Angel Strawbridge, who bought the 45-room Chateau de la Motte Husson for just £280,000 back in 2015. At the time, the chateau had been unoccupied for 40 years, and had no electricity, central heating or running water. As documented over the past six years of Escape to the Chateau, with time, patience and investment, they have been able to transform it into a luxury events venue.
The chateaux the YourHomeStyle team have chosen range from €468,000 to €9,000,000. See our picks below:
The best French chateaux for sale
6 bedroom chateau with 1.18 hectares of land, Dordogne
Chosen by Katie Dutton, Editorial & Digital Assistant for YourHomeStyle
- Price: €1,100,000
- Standout feature: swimming pool and tennis court
My kind of French chateau would have to be on the smaller scale (yes, six bedrooms is small!) as I don’t want the faff of worrying I’d left a window open somewhere when I go to bed. This 18th-century chartreuse, complete with tennis court and swimming pool will do me nicely thank you.
As a fan of the Japandi aesthetic, the interiors here are a little too maximalist for my liking so I’d want to pare it back a fair bit, although I do love the free-standing baths and exposed beams. I think I’d turn the loft space into a cosy library, plant a vineyard and set up an AirBnb in the guest house. That’s if I have any money left after the €1,100,000 cost of the house…
Find out more from prestigeproperty.co.uk
12-bedroom chateau with two hectares of land, Sauternes
Chosen by Debbie Graham, senior digital editor for YourHomeStyle
- Price: €890,000
- Standout feature: located in Bordeaux wine country
It was love at first sight with this amazing place, situated among the vineyards around Bordeaux, and priced at €890,000
This former charterhouse, built under the reign of Louis XIV in 1697, has history, charm and character oozing from every corner. Be prepared to be seduced by its many period features, including parquet-tiles-stones, woodwork, amazing fireplaces, beams… the list goes on
And with annexes, houses, an orangery, greenhouse, workshop, stable, sheds, bread oven, swimming pool and two hectares of land the world’s your oyster when it comes to business ideas and making it pay. From gites and luxurious guest suites to a wedding venue and event space, or even a vineyard, the sky really is the limit – we just hope the sizeable roof is in a decent state!
Find out more information from french-property.com
20-bedroom chateau with 167.4 hectares of land, Poitou-Charentes
Chosen by Thomas Poad, section editor for Your Home magazine
- Price: €6,360,000
- Standout feature: fairytale architecture
A 14th-century tower, lapping waters of a moat and grand entrance hall tick all my chateau boxes. Topped with steep charcoal towers, this chateau is currently used as a four-star hotel and is packed to the rafters with period details, marble staircases and chandeliers aplenty.
I’d keep much of the marble and wooden décor, then swap in lots of baroque furniture, linen soft furnishings and ceramics before changing its purpose to an artists’ residence, to make full use of the architectural inspiration and charming meadow settings. Truly, a chateau fit for a king (and his beast).
Find out more from prestigeproperty.co.uk
12 bedroom chateau with over 4 hectares of land, Charente-Maritime
Chosen by Sophie Ellis, editorial assistant for Your Home magazine
- Price: €1,899,000
- Standout feature: 10 minutes from the beach
This charming chateau has major kerb appeal – or should it be landscaped driveway appeal? – as its pale stones are reminiscent of a picture-perfect village. Its outbuildings also present an opportunity to create a second guest house with a private garden, adding a revenue stream for savvy entrepreneurs.
The chateau sits among 4.13 hectares of peaceful countryside, but is just a 10 minute drive from the beach at Royan – so if you become tired of swimming in the pool, you can take a dip in the sea. The décor admittedly needs a bit of a refresh, but who can resist those period features?
Find out more from prestigeproperty.co.uk
10 bedroom chateau with 8 hectares of land, Normandy
Chosen by Thea Jeffreys, Digital Writer for YourHomeStyle
- Price: €9,000,000
- Standout feature: sea view and period charm
Set in the heart of an eight hectare wooded park in the seaside town of Villerville, northwestern France, to me, this majestic Anglo-Norman chateau looks like it’s been plucked straight out of a fairytale.
While some of the rooms could do with a refresh, no interior enthusiast would be able to resist the plethora of original features this chateau boasts, including high vaulted ceilings, original tiles and solid Hungarian style parquet floors. The best bit? When you’ve taken in the wonders of the original interior, you can step outside and marvel at the panoramic view of the sea, or wander down to the swimming pool in the farmhouse – it’ll only set you back about nine million.
Find out more from kretz.fr
Five bedroom mini chateau with three acres, Pays de la Loire
Chosen by Catriona Burns, features editor for HomeStyle
- Price: €468,000
- Standout feature: renovated and ready to move in
https://www.french-property.com/sale-property/1624-AT3-010 Agence Thom
Not too big, not too small, this five-bed mini art deco château is just the right size for me. Set on three acres, there’s a vegetable garden and outbuildings that could be used to keep animals, so I could be a real country bumpkin and live off the land. Inside is just as impressive as the grounds, with a grand entrance, double sitting room and luxurious bathroom. The beautiful fitted kitchen opens up to the dining room, so I could chat to guests while I whip up French-style feasts which I’d serve with a few bottles from the château’s cellar.
With no neighbours close by, I’d love the peace and quiet that this property offers, but if I do ever miss the hustle and bustle, the towns of Mayenne and Ernée are just 10km away. Renovated to a high standard throughout, the château doesn’t need any major work – great for a reluctant DIYer like me – so I could move in straight away and focus on the decorating side of things, with a glass of wine from my very own cellar in hand.
Find more information at french-property.com
10-bedroom chateau with four hectares of land, Gironde
Chosen by Rebecca Messina, digital editor for YourHomeStyle
- Price: €2,950,000
- Standout feature: its own moat!
Surrounded by its own spring-fed moat and with crowned by two turreted towers, this 14th century manor is truly a castle of dreams. Its four hectares of parkland includes a heated outdoor swimming pool and a generous terrace, perfect for soaking up that south of France sun.
While the decor is definitely in traditional stately home territory, it’s not too over-the-top and all in lovely condition, following a major renovation in 2013.
Extra points for its proximity to my favourite city in France, Bordeaux, and to the sprawling vineyards around the charming medieval village of Saint-Emilion, famous for its wineries. Luckily, the chateau comes with a vaulted cellar to store all the bottles I’d be picking up!
Find more information at properties.lefigaro.com