For many, to make a trip to the French countryside is to fall in love and fall hard—especially with the idea of owning a bastide. Those who are serious about ownership will likely turn to the Lafourcade family, perhaps the most sought-after restoration and renovation specialists in the South of France. Since launching the business in 1968, Bruno Lafourcade, a self-taught architect who was made a chevalier in 1989, built a reputation on his talent for making the newly refreshed look old. His son, Alexandre, who is now 42, joined the company at age 15 and took the reins in 2012.
Prospective buyers looking to acquire a vacation home amid the vineyards face a bewildering thicket of regulations; they also will find that most new construction is prohibited, and most restorations must stick to the existing footprint and regional aesthetic. But for some 400 clients, the Lafourcades have made it happen, often in the form of a massive stone château at the end of an unobtrusive country lane. “Whether it’s a family’s second house or a vineyard property, [each result] will have the same spirit,” said Alexandre in a recent sit-down with Robb Report Home & Style. “The spirit of a very chic farmhouse.”