If your Cote d’Azur vacation has been indefinitely postponed, there’s nothing like a little online chateau shopping, or at least browsing, to transport you to the lavender fields and olive groves of Provence. One particularly delectable morsel is a 17th-century chateau in Le Broc, half-an-hour’s drive north of Nice, perched on a hillside overlooking the Var valley.
The six-bedroom mansion, for sale for $8.17 million via Knight Frank, stands in 170 acres of classic, terraced, Provencal land and comes with a caretaker’s house, artist’s studio and farmhouse, encompassing more than 6,100 square feet of living space in all. The chateau itself was restored in the 1970s by the Riviera architect André Svetchine, who also redesigned homes for Christian Dior, Marc Chagall, Aimé Maeght and several luxury villas on Cap Ferrat.
An update in 2012 introduced elements of contemporary minimalism as a contrast to the ornate original features. The gleaming white kitchen, for example, is semi-professional and ultra-modern to the point of austerity, while the adjacent dining space is dominated by a grand carved stone fireplace, ancient roof beams and a chandelier.
The upper en-suite bedrooms overlook a circular heated pool, several terraces, an outdoor bar and a pétanque court, as well as panoramic views of the entire Var valley. The grounds contain 350 olive trees and the ruins of two ancient buildings: a 12th-century Knights Templar castle and a chapel dedicated to St. Marguerite. Another chapel (always good to have a spare), dating from the 17th century, has been quirkily redesigned as a rec room with a flat-screen TV and table tennis alongside what the realtor describes as “a small working organ.” Perfect for those long lockdown evenings.
Once the home of the mid-century English theatre impresario Sir Donald Albery, and more recently Lord Sandberg, former chairman of HSBC, the chateau has seen “good buyer interest and demand from the USA,” said Jack Harris, an agent with Knight Frank’s international residential division, “although travel restrictions have meant that US citizens haven’t been able to holiday in the south of France over the summer.” So, unless you’re the lucky holder of an EU passport, it’s Zoom tours only for now.