French Chateau for Sale

Buying a French château is no longer the preserve of the French aristocracy, film stars or millionaire businessmen. For the cost of a small flat in parts of London, Paris or New York you too could own one of France’s fairytale chateaux and live the life of a châtelain(e).

But before you buy your French château you need to wake up to the realities of renovating, running and maintaining one – or your fairy tale could fast turn into a nightmare.

For a start the cost of renovating a château in France can sometimes equal the purchase price! And then you have to budget for on-going running costs, maintenance and heating bills. Most château owners look more like Cinders or Cinderella than they do a prince or princess when guests or TV crews aren’t around!

Featured & Latest Properties

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6 Bed. Chateau, Near ST-JEAN D'ANGELY in Charente-Maritime For Sale
  • 6 Bed. Chateau
  • Plot Size: 7.28 acres (2.95 ha)
  • Charente-Maritime
  • Near ST-JEAN D'ANGELY
  • € 176,550
17 Bed. Chateau, Near RODEZ in Aveyron For Sale
  • 17 Bed. Chateau
  • Plot Size: 12.36 acres (5 ha)
  • Aveyron
  • Near RODEZ
  • € 515,000
10 Bed. Chateau, Near Uzes in Gard For Sale
  • 10 Bed. Chateau
  • Plot Size: 0.65 acre
  • Gard
  • Near Uzes
  • € 2,595,000
15 Bed. Chateau, Near JUNHAC in Cantal For Sale
  • 15 Bed. Chateau
  • Plot Size: 4.2 acres
  • Cantal
  • Near JUNHAC
  • € 1,290,000
11 Bed. Chateau, Near LIMOGNE EN QUERCY in Lot For Sale
  • 11 Bed. Chateau
  • Plot Size: 2.97 acres
  • Lot
  • Near LIMOGNE EN QU...
  • € 595,000
7 Bed. Chateau, Near AULNAY-DE-SAINTONGE in Charente-Maritime For Sale
  • 7 Bed. Chateau
  • Plot Size: 6.91 acres (2.8 ha)
  • Charente-Maritime
  • Near AULNAY-DE-SAI...
  • € 689,520
9 Bed. Chateau, Near MEZIN in Lot-et-Garonne For Sale
  • 9 Bed. Chateau
  • Plot Size: 14.43 acres (5.84 ha)
  • Lot-et-Garonne
  • Near MEZIN
  • € 860,000
20 Bed. Chateau, Near NIORT in Deux-Sèvres For Sale
  • 20 Bed. Chateau
  • Plot Size: 15.62 acres (6.32 ha)
  • Deux-Sèvres
  • Near NIORT
  • € 1,595,000

And that’s one possible solution – set the château to work as a business so that it pays for its keep. Gone are the days when you could fund the purchase of a château on the back of a business plan – but a successful business could go a long way to meeting your renovation and running costs.

Could your château become a luxury wedding venue, a hotel, an art or yoga retreat or a base for cookery and/or wine-tasting holidays? Do the land and facilities lend themselves to equestrian pursuits, or the lake to angling holidays?

If you’re looking to maximise your head count then the vast attic space that tends to come with most chateaux could be converted into guest suites.

But if you aim to have no more than five guest rooms (for a maximum of 15 people) you could avoid the red tape associated with setting up a hotel and run a Chambres d’Hôtes (B&B) - possibly supplementing your income by providing Tables d’Hôtes (evening meals). There is even less regulation involved in setting up a Gîte (self-catering) business.

You could initially restore just one wing and live in the lap of luxury while renting out the rest of the château as a holiday let or hiring it out as a filming location.

Whatever the business, the closer your château is to a TGV station or airport the more accessible it will be for paying guests. With a business it’s even more than ever a case of location, location, location.

With the sums of money typically involved in the purchase of a château we would especially recommend the use of a surveyor pre-purchase. While the subsequent discovery of ‘la merule’ (dry rot) might be a financial setback in a small house, in a 50 or 100 room chateau you could be looking into a bottomless pit. Never was the maxim ‘Caveat emptor’ or Buyer Beware more appropriate.

If your château is listed you may be eligible for grants (subventions) from the French state to restore it, contact your local DRAC (Direction Régionale des Affaires Culturelles). Your local VMF (Vieilles Maisons Françaises) will advise if you are entitled to certain tax exemptions.

It can be difficult to get a mortgage on a château, most buyers sell their existing property or remortgage and dip into their equity. On the large sums of money involved even the smallest fluctuation in exchange rates can make a difference of thousands of pounds or dollars so work closely with a currency exchange specialist and lock into an advantageous rate with a forward contract or market order.

For advice on setting up a new business in France contact Sedi via their English website (www.sedigroup.com) or their offices in France and the UK. You could also stay in a chateau as a paying guest, benefit from the experiences of the owners and get some pointers as to the pitfalls to avoid. How would they have done it differently if they had known what they know now?

There may be a lot to consider but a faint heart never won a fair lady so if you want to breathe new life into a slumbering beauty and bring her back from the dead your fairytale could start here!

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