The World’s Best Leisure Development!

 

Environ Communities has received a ‘World’s Best’ award from the International Property Awards for La Durantie; the new development of vernacular villas and apartments in the grounds of a historical belle époque style chateau in The Tarn.  The International Property Awards is the world’s largest property competition with 98 countries participating this year and sponsored by Virgin Atlantic and Yamaha.

 

Having already competed at country level and throughout the regional stages of the International Property Awards, the finest architects, developers, interior designers, and estate agents from across the globe gathered at the glamorous Grosvenor House Hotel in London on Friday 6th December to attend a glittering gala and to hear the long-anticipated results of the International Property Awards ‘World’s Best’ crowning event.

 

On accepting the much coveted award Tony Dowse said: “It is an honour to be presented with the ‘World’s Best’ award for La Durantie as we have had to fend-off some stiff competition along the way.  We spotted a gap in the market for a leisure development with luxury homes that would appeal to a cultured community of active fifty-something’s and created the chateau country club and high-tech spa at La Durantie. A lot of detail has gone into all aspects of the development to meet the requirements of our highly discerning buyers and it is rewarding to have this work recognised by the industry and to be announced as the leading leisure development.”

 

Construction of Phase 1 consists of 57 vernacular designed single and two storey one to five bedroom detached homes together with two styles of apartments with either two or three bedrooms.  All properties have lush landscaped rear gardens and most have a private pool.  Renovation of the chateau is already underway and construction of the first homes on the estate is due to commence in the first quarter of 2014, with the delivery anticipated for the end of 2014.  House prices in the leaseback scheme start from €313,560 (approx. £262,300) for a 1 bedroom house and range through to 5 bedrooms starting at €731,640 (approx. £612,000).*

 

The highest scoring entries for each category in Asia Pacific, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, UK and the Americas were automatically entered into the annual grand final.  Judging is carried out through a meticulous process involving a panel of over 70 experts covering every aspect of the property business. The judges not only look for the most impressive projects, but also examine the sustainability and innovation of every property and development that comes under their scrutiny.

 

Stuart Shield, President of the International Property Awards said: “Our World’s Best developers have represented their countries well and ought to be extremely proud. This award demonstrates their talent for producing work that has the potential to better the world. We welcome the 2013 winners in joining this exclusive international club of outstanding property professionals.”


Autumn News From The Tarn

 

The weather this autumn has been simply amazing; the warm temperatures (up to 27deg c) combined with the Autumn colours has provided a simply magical environment for walking, riding and for those of us who love their rugby, watching the flare of French rugby in shirt sleeves!

 

The vendange has been and gone and thanks to the beautiful weather more than made up for the backbreaking work.  Difficult sometimes to focus on the job in hand when one is surrounded by such beautiful scenery and stunning views – hey ho, someone has to do it!

 

The traditional chestnut fare at one of the local towns was, as usual, a great success. We have an abundance of chestnuts locally, shared with our feathered friends; we’ve had our first chestnut roasting session over an open fire – delicious, dipped in salt with bacon lardons!

 

 

At Durantie we’ve had a very hectic Autumn with preparations moving a pace for the filming of a movie coming out next year starring a very well known British actress and produced by an even better known Hollywood icon………….more to follow!!!!  A truly amazing spectacle with cameras and lights everywhere, one hundred and fifty people scurrying and standing around in equal proportion in the magical setting that is Durantie.  A great crew, all of whom stayed in local farmhouses and gites, all of whom seemed to have loved the area, commenting on the beautiful countryside and how kind and welcoming the locals have been.  To a person they all said they would love to return and explore the historical villages and towns, also of course renewing their acquaintance with more Gaillac wines and lovely local food!

 

 

We remembered “the fallen” at a very moving ceremony at the “Monument aux Mort” here in Castelnau De Montmiral, a truly memorable event with the ensemble parading through the village in quiet remembrance both French and British alike – a very good example of how Europe should be; where the local children read out the names of the “fallen” from the village during the First and Second World Wars,  very often a family losing all their sons and a nation losing virtually an entire generation of their young men.  A retired British Women’s Royal Army Corp Major made a very moving speech (in French) to the community gathered commenting on the history of the “poppy” and how the new generation of young men and women show the same courage as they did nearly a hundred years ago.  Next year it will be the 100th Anniversary of the start of the Great War,  which will be commemorated by the residents of Castelnau De Montmiral with a special event.

 

We have had our first “casserole sanglier” of the season, delivered by one of our local farmer friends, hunted in the local Gresigne forest, which is one of the largest oak forests in Europe ; cooked in the Aga for 12 hours, beautifully tender having been marinated in local Gaillac red wine along with locally produced fresh autumn vegetables – Rick Stein eat your heart out!!

 

 

The Hoopoes have now flown south, the buzzards, falcons and kestrel swoop and hover respectively in search of field mice, voles and rabbits all in abundance.  I notice the song-birds are frantically feeding up on berries in preparation for winter .  Sightings of red deer and sanglier, a common occurrence, tempting the hunting instincts of the local chasse!

 

Wood gathered for winter and now we look forward to those crisp clear mornings, evenings by the fire and of course it won’t be long before we take to the slopes of the Pyrenees in December and Christmas of course………..!


Q+A

Tony Dowse is a busy man. With over 30 years of residential property development, he has been at the forefront of innovative housing and community design. The work that he has done with his company, Environ Communities, has led to many successful developments, including Lacuna at Kings Hill, Kent and Stonegate Place in Wye near Ashford, both multi award winning schemes.

 

Tony’s new project has seen Environ turn their attention to a different country: France. A first for the Environ team, the project includes the sensitive redevelopment of a chateau, a series of new properties, the creation of country club, spa and bar and bistrot. The master planning took a full year, whilst development is due to commence at the end of 2013, with the first homes to be delivered in December 2014.

 

Here Tony sits down and explains some of the challenges of such a project, the attractions of France for expats, and offers some top tips for those thinking of making the jump abroad.

 

How did you discover La Durantie and what inspired you to take on a chateau development?

My business partner, David Boden, lives in the nearby village of Castelnau de Montmiral, and he originally identified the site at La Durantie.

 

When I visited the site I realized exactly how special it was and began considering what we could offer that was different from other chateau developments scattered along the Languedoc coastline or in the Dordogne.

 

After extensive research on the area I realized many British ex-pats lived in this hidden gem which sits with the Dordogne to the north-west and the Languedoc to the east, fulfilling their dream of a better quality of life for their family.

 

 

What attracted you to the Tarn?

The warm climate was a key factor, as well as the location – you’re positioned roughly midway between the Atlantic and Mediterranean Coasts, plus you can reach the Pyrenees in a few hours for skiing during the winter. The fact you can be in France’s fourth largest city, Toulouse, in less than an hour, is equally appealing.

 

The landscape is beautiful here; the Tarn is often compared to The Cotswolds and to Tuscany due to its rolling hills and charming local villages, and some of the bastide hilltop villages are architecturally magnificent. Nearby Gaillac is producing exceptionally good quality wine, and is also one of the oldest wine growing areas of France,  then there are the local delicacies such as Foie-gras, truffles, nuts, duck, wild boar…

 

Transport-wise Toulouse airport is well serviced by the budget airlines as well as British Airways, and the train service to and from the city is excellent.

 

What inspired your designs/ideas for La Durantie? 

We looked at the way local French villages have evolved and decided to cluster our new homes around typically French courtyards with winding passageways. The architecture importantly integrates the local vernacular, but the houses are light and airy.

 

I was most interested in the concept of a Country Club, but wanted to integrate French locals with La Durantie residents/guests. I didn’t want it to become a UK clique- it is very important that La Durantie is integrated with the local community.

 

We also incorporated village squares with plane trees and water fountains, plus adapted the chateau and barns into a country club and state of the art spa, offering a bistro, library, 20 metre indoor and outdoor swimming pools and a natural swimming lake, tennis courts, croquet lawn, pitch & putt golf, outdoor dining terraces and a barbeque area.

 

What is the most exciting feature of the La Durantie development in your eyes?

I’m hugely excited about the country club. The country club concept is rare in France, and something I’m really delighted that we’re incorporating. The pool is designed with an infinity edge and housed in a huge expanse of glass, meaning guests see views of the landscape at all times of the year. The views down across the meadow towards the woodland and countryside beyond will be stunning and alter with the seasons. It also means that everyone will use and enjoy the chateau building rather than limit this privilege to a handful of owners. We did not want to merely chop the chateau into apartments, but to open it up for all to appreciate.

 

 

What have been the most difficult challenges you have faced so far?

The biggest challenge has been ensuring that we build something that is French and not British in style. This even incorporates the landscaping. It is vitally important that guests feel they are in France! Having an Anglo-French team behind the development has helped to ensure this.

 

How have you liaised with the French authorities?

My business partner’s wife is on the local council, which has been a great help in liaising with the local community and authorities. She has lived in the Tarn for many years, so although she is British she really understands the local bureaucracy.  She has helped to highlight differences between the UK and French regulations and the various requirements. We have also employed the services of a fluent business interpreter. This was imperative to ensure we and the authorities understood each other. We have also used a UK concept architect, but he liaises with a local French architect to make sure the designs were consistent with the regulatory requirements.

 

How can potential home owners at La Durantie be assured that they are buying into a quality development?

In October La Durantie fought-off stiff competition to win the coveted accolades of ‘Best Leisure Development France’ and ‘Best Leisure Development Europe’, at the International Property Awards 2013-2014.  The International Property Awards is deemed as one of the top awards in the industry and such accolades are recognised as a symbol of excellence throughout the global industry, and we are proud to be able to say that La Durantie is ‘Europe’s Best’.

 

Do you have any advice/top tips for foreigners looking to move to France and become expats?

My biggest tip is definitely to learn the language as quickly as possible to fully experience life in France and to integrate with the local society. Visiting and getting to know the local Mayor (Marie) is also a good way of familiarising yourself to the area.  If you’ll be using a car then you usually have about 6 months to re-register your car and driving licence in your local prefecture.  If moving with young children then the local town hall will have up to date information on local primary schools and are an excellent port of call for information. They also often have access to other important information you will need and if you don’t speak good French (yet!) you can ask if they have someone on the local council who might be able to help out. I’d also encourage people to look for local expat communities, who will be able to provide lots of info on the local area, as well as becoming great new friends.

 

There are some helpful websites which provide lots of information too, such as www.connexionfrance.com, www.france.angloinfo.com, www.expatica.com, www.frenchentree.com and www.expatforum.com amongst many others.

Europe’s Best Leisure Development

Left to right – Lord Bates (Deputy Speaker & Deputy Chairman of the House of Lords), Tony Dowse (Environ Communities), David Boden (Environ Communities), Andrew Tull (CDP Architecture Ltd), Stuart Shield (International Property Awards)

 

La Durantie, the new development of vernacular apartments and villas in the grounds of a historical belle époque style chateau in The Tarn, has fought-off stiff competition to win the coveted accolades of ‘Best Leisure Development France’ and ‘Best Leisure Development Europe’, at the International Property Awards 2013-2014.  As part of the long established International Property Awards, such accolades are recognised as a symbol of excellence throughout the global industry and this year has been sponsored by Virgin Atlantic and Yamaha.

 

The most recent addition to this innovative French leisure development is the re-introduction of a 1.3 hectare vineyard which allows owners to lease or buy their own rows of vines; giving them access to their own piece of French history and the enjoyment of drinking their own wine whilst sitting on their sunny terrace.  Also, La Durantie’s own Master of Wine, Andy Howard who is one of the World’s 300 Masters of Wine will be running wine courses and organising guided tours of the surrounding domains.

 

The awards were presented to the excited life-long friends who form the Environ Communities development team behind La Durantie comprising of Tony Dowse (Master Planner) and David Boden (Financier) with architect, Andrew Tull (CDP Architecture Ltd) at the high-profile gala and presentation dinner at The Grosvenor House Hotel in Mayfair on 24th September.

 

Commenting on receiving the accolades, Tony Dowse says: “We are so delighted to receive these two prestigious awards.  Until now, we have been immersed in meticulously planning La Durantie, as we want it to be a development that we are proud of and for our owners to form a happy leisure community in this beautiful part of rural France.  It is our aim that the renovated chateau building and spa will become the social heart of the development providing a country club where owners and annual local members can dine, relax, be pampered and entertained.  The International Property Awards is deemed as one of the top awards in the industry and we are proud to be able to say that La Durantie is ‘Europe’s Best’ and celebrate this success tonight.”

 

Stuart Shield, president of the International Property Awards, says: “In the continent most renowned for its timeless architecture and awe-inspiring buildings, these winning companies are creating modern buildings and homes that enhance the beauty of their old-world cities while incorporating modern and innovative features.”

 

The European Property Awards rank amongst the most prestigious commendations in the residential and commercial property industries.  A high-calibre jury of international experts identifies the most significant building projects as well as the highest quality European real estate agencies and consists of approximately 70 professionals including Andrew Panting, Director of Operations for the British Property Federation, Peter Bolton King, Global Residential Director of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS); and Christian Morris, Director / Owner of architectural firm Yotomo Ltd.

 

At the end of the year, the highest scoring winners from the European Property Awards will compete against other winning companies from Asia Pacific, Africa, UK, the Americas and Arabia to find the ultimate World’s Best in each category.


A Walk Around The Tower Quarter

 

Exciting plans are proposed for the landscaping  which will conserve the character of La Durantie within its setting. The conservation of the existing landscape is fundamental, and the development itself provides for substantial new areas of planting to integrate the development into its setting.

 

To blend the housing with the environs, we have planned that ‘Prairie Style’ planting will encircle the Tower Quarter. This consists of ornamental grasses and very tough perennials that are adapted to the climatic conditions. These will help to merge and blurr the transition from the domestic gardens to the wildflower meadow that surrounds it. This will provide colour and form even in the winter months- the grasses will gently sway in the wind, provide shelter to insects and seeds for birds, before cutting back the deciduous ones in spring, in readiness for the new growth.

 

There are 6 courtyards around which the housing is grouped with a winding central path meandering up to the Artist’s Tower which is located to benefit from the stunning views. Along the path you will discover water features with seating in the shade of fig trees to sit and enjoy the sound of water on a hot day, leading onto formal village squares with a central Plane Tree, so typical of this region, with its beautiful mottled bark. Ample seating is provided along the way to make a stroll so much more enjoyable!

 

 

The six courtyards create a community and intimacy to the houses around them, featuring a spreading tree to provide shade to the communal table where residents of that particular courtyard, can meet and share a glass of wine or a meal or play cards. Each courtyard is named after a local variety of grape, Negrette, Tannat, Syrah, Prunelard, Braucol and Gamay. The vines will be trained over the two storey houses with much care by the team that tend the vineyard.

 

The colour of the crepi to the houses and the planting has been planned to complement each other. As visitors walk through the housing, the colour theme of the plants moves from white through to blue, to pink, lilac and purple, moving on to the hot reds. The colour of the crepi and woodwork subtly harmonises with the colour of the planting, yet each property is totally individual. This helps to create a natural look that is seen in any local village, and distinguishes it from other new housing developments.

 

In the majority of the houses, there is a private entrance courtyard that is tiled with the same tiling featured inside the houses. This courtyard will be partially covered with a structure for climbers to scramble over , providing shade and shelter to perhaps enjoy a morning coffee in the cooler months. Some properties even feature an opening in the wall that separates the private rear garden from this front entrance, through which the enticing pool can be seen and heard, immediately adjacent to the living areas of the house.

 

 

The pool is designed as being part of the house and is viewed from the living area through full height windows . The pool is backed by  a rendered wall with a raised planting bed with non- leaf shedding phormiums, the colour of the leaf complimenting the colour of the render. In a central position amongst the planting, backed by a section of ribbed slate, water cascades from a water blade into the pool creating an attractive water feature.  Adjacent to the pool is an area of decking, with ample room for sunloungers,  under which the pool plant is discreetly concealed.

 

The living area flows out to integrated Verandahs creating a seamless transition from inside to out. On the outer periphery of the verandah wooden slatted blinds can be lowered to control the amount of sun, but still allow the flow of air. Generous tiled terraces  ensure there is ample space for everyone to sit in the sun, and a BBQ is even fitted to the outside chimney breast. And we even think of an outside store for chair cushions plus a logstore for firewood, filled up by the maintenance team.

 

There are gardens of all sizes fully enclosed by either rendered walling with tiled capping or Elaeagnus hedging to give an evergreen boundary treatment that provides privacy throughout the year. Some owners may like the hedge on the rear boundary to be trimmed at a lower level to benefit from the view towards the meadow and woodland. A rear gate into the garden is planned for access for the pool and garden maintenance team- an essential ingredient for a relaxing stay at Durantie!

 

 

Gardens will be landscaped with topiary and shrubs that are ideal for the climatic conditions, such as lavender, rosemary, perovskia, shrubby salvias and of course, roses in abundance. These plants will be used in a very French manner, quite different from the British approach to planting. The lawns are often terraced to gently accommodate the slope with planting around the periphery to create a formal garden in the French style.

 

In some gardens an avenue of upright Cupressus or topiary will lead to a seating area on the rear boundary to enjoy the view. Some may even feature an informal gravelled herb garden, but each garden is individual and designed to provide privacy and seating areas in the both the sun and shade. The Mandrine even features a tiled pergola perfect for evening meals, positioned to enjoy the views toward the woodland.

 

The ‘garden’ to the Brugnac is quite different again, consisting of a large expanse of decking raised above the wild flower meadow with an infinity pool overlooking the stream and woodland. There are raised planting beds to the sides to create a sense of interest and privacy plus channel the eye towards the view.

 

If you have any queries to do with the gardens, please do not hesitate to contact me via enquiries@durantie.com and I will be delighted to provide additional information.


Real French Homes With Gaillac Vines

 

Environ Communities is announcing plans to build a vine future at La Durantie in The Tarn department of Midi-Pyrénées in South West France.  By reintroducing vines to the 15 hectare country club and chateau estate means that owners of the local French vernacular homes can make the idyllic notion of drinking their own Gaillac wine whilst sitting on the terrace of their holiday home a reality.  La Durantie’s own Master of Wine, Andy Howard who is one of the World’s 300 Masters of Wine will be running wine courses and organising guided tours of the surrounding domains and owners will be invited to lease or buy their own rows of vines on the 1.3 hectare vineyard – giving them access to their own piece of French history.
Developer Tony Dowse, Founder of Environ Communities (UK) says: “When master planning La Durantie we wanted to be able to offer property owners the quintessential French dream of owning a vineyard home but without the maintenance hassle and substantial financial outlay. La Durantie is currently creating its own wine label and estimates that up to 15,000 bottles of wine per hectare will be produced in 3-5 years’ time.  Owners will be able to have as much or as little involvement in the wine producing process as they wish as Durantie is partnering with a local vineyard to blend and produce the wine and we are very much looking forward to enjoying our first bottle.”

 


Gaillac is one of France’s premiere wine regions with the first vine plantation dating back to the Roman time.  The town of Gaillac is just 10 kms from La Durantie and on 3rd – 4th August attracted wine-loving tourists and locals to its 35th Annual Wine Festival hosted at the Chateau Foucard.  The popular celebration provides the opportunity to meet today’s winemakers as well as enjoy live music, displays, fireworks, dinner and dancing, as well as lots of wine tasting.  Down the road at La Durantie, the same much loved L’Art de Vivre’ of Southern France including the local gastronomy and wine-tasting underlies the vision for the unique Country Club.

 

 

Within Durantie’s central agricultural buildings a multi-purpose hall with stage (‘Le Moyeau’) will be used for music, films, functions, events & courses.  The grand salons and terraces of the chateau will be home to the Country Club and will comprise a formal drawing room and private meeting and dining rooms, a library, bistro-bar, barbecue terrace and gardens.  It is here that residents, guests and local ‘members’ will come together during the day and into the evening to drink, dine and enjoy everything from courses and events to concerts.  Other onsite facilities will include 20 metre indoor and outdoor swimming pools, state of the art spa, tennis courts, croquet lawn, pitch & putt and natural swimming lake etc.  Environ Communities’ modern homes developments aim to achieve a true sense of that old fashioned notion of “community” and this is the reason they are called Environ Communities.

 

The Tarn region of south west France, on the same latitude as the Cote D’Azur, is almost undiscovered and takes you back to the ‘real France’, a warm and ancient region dotted with pretty stone farming villages and bustling towns, where vineyards spread out as far as the eye can see across unspoilt countryside.

 

 

Overlooking undulating vineyards and miles of dense oak forest, La Durantie will soon become home to 57 vernacular designed single and two storey one to five bedroom detached homes together with two styles of apartments with either 2 or 3 bedrooms.  In-keeping with the local villages, homes will be arranged in small clusters of approximately six homes with private spaces and landscaped internal courtyards.  Some homes will be stone faced and others will have the traditional render in soft hues bordered by local detailing in brick and stone.  Terracotta roof tiles will enhance the mellow and traditional character of the scheme and a choice of furniture packages will enhance the chic French feel from within.  Most homes will also have an ‘integrated’ private swimming pool set within the landscaped private gardens and the four apartments are clustered around a shared pool.


Andy Howard, Master of Wines

Andy Howard is one of the World’s 300 Masters of Wine and will be running courses on wine at Durantie.  He worked for Marks & Spencers for over 32 years, the majority of that time as a buyer in the Food Division but latterly, before retiring this year, becoming wine buyer.  He was responsible for Burgundy, Bordeaux, Loire, Italy, Chile, Argentina, North America, South Africa, England, Port, Sherry and Fine Wines –with an annual purchasing budget of over £50m

 

Andy with his wife Gill has had a second home in Gaillac for the past twelve years and made wine in South West France for six vintages from 1999 – 2004.  This experience was invaluable for understanding the viticulture and vinification process and discovering the importance of the terroir.  Invaluable knowledge for the planting of Durantie domaine and the forthcoming Durantie label.

 

He has chaired the judging for the SEVA (South Eastern Vineyards Association) for the past six years and also sits on the Plumpton College Curriculum Advisory Board with responsibility in particular for the vinery and vineyards.  He judges Burgundy and Bordeaux wines at the annual Decanter awards.  In 2010 he was made a Chevalier du Tastevin de Bourgogne.

Gaillac Fete des Vins

 

3–4 August 2013

 

Over the weekend of 3rd – 4th August wine-loving locals and tourists will descend on the market town of Gaillac to celebrate the region’s 35th Annual Wine Festival hosted at the Chateau Foucard.

 

Known as one of France’s premier wine regions, with the first vine plantations dating back to the Gallo-Roman era, the town of Gaillac itself is located just 10 km from La Durantie, making it an excellent local attraction.

 

The town square, which you’ll often find occupied by intense games of boules played out by locals (who may let you jump in if you’re brave enough), is home to numerous excellent cafes and brasseries, which serve as the ideal location to enjoy a glass of wine and watch the world go by.

 

In recent times the town has steadily become increasingly popular thanks to the critical acclaim its wines are receiving, with wine aficionados worldwide enjoying the many varieties that are grown here.

 

Predominantly grown in three specific areas (the gravelly, sandy terraces on the left bank of the Tarn, the hillsides on the right bank and the Cordais plateau) the region’s diverse range of grape varieties yields many different types of wine, with white, red and sparkling all available.

 

Throughout the festival numerous local wine growers will be displaying their current vintages (and of course sharing their selection of wines!), whilst there is also live music, displays, fireworks and a dinner and dance to enjoy.  Down the road at La Durantie, the same much loved L’Art de Vivre’ of Southern France including the local gastronomy and wine-tasting underlies the vision for the unique Country Club. And with further plans at La Durantie to reintroduce vines on the chateau estate, the festival is the perfect platform for future home owners to sharpen their knowledge of the local vines!

 

Once the tasting is finished, for a top La Durantie tip we’d recommend dropping in to Vigne en foule (www.vigneenfoule.fr), a lovely brasserie owned by a small group of wine makers, with a well-stocked cellar which is home to some of Gaillac’s finest wines.

 

Click here to find out more about the festival and its running schedule.


International Property Awards Winner

 

France – La Durantie has been informed that it is amongst the winning companies of the esteemed International Property Awards in the 2013 European regional competition. Chateau de La Durantie competed against a number of leisure developments in France to receive this recognition. Successful entrants have been invited to attend a high-profile gala and presentation dinner at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London on September 24th where the winning companies will learn which honours they have secured. The top-scoring winners who will go on to compete in the International Property Awards global competition will be announced at the close of the evening.

 

Stuart Shield, president of the International Property Awards, says: “In the continent most renowned for its timeless architecture and awe-inspiring buildings, these winning companies are creating modern buildings and homes that enhance the beauty of their old-world cities while incorporating modern and innovative features.”

 

Tony Dowse, Developer and Master Planner of Chateau De la Durantie says: “The International Property Awards are prestigious in the market and I am proud that I will be receiving this accolade on behalf of the team.  We have worked hard to ensure Chateau de La Durantie is positioned correctly with its Country Club and state of the art spa and to be acknowledged in the highly competitive category of Best Leisure Development is a most valuable endorsement for savvy property investors in the current marketplace.”

 

The European Property Awards are part of the long established International Property Awards, the world’s richest competition when measured by the value of the projects entered.  The award winners’ logo is recognised as a symbol of excellence throughout the global industry. The European Property Awards rank amongst the most prestigious commendations in the residential and commercial property industries. A high-calibre jury of international experts identifies the most significant building projects as well as the highest quality European real estate agencies.

 

At the end of the year, the highest scoring winners from the European Property Awards will compete against other winning companies from Asia Pacific, Africa, UK, the Americas and Arabia to find the ultimate World’s Best in each category.

 

The judging panel consists of approximately 70 professionals including Andrew Panting, Director of Operations for the British Property Federation, Peter Bolton King, Global Residential Director of the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS); and Christian Morris, Director / Owner of architectural firm Yotomo Ltd.

 

Building upon the success of business events first added to the 2011 award ceremonies, the International Property Awards will also host a Property Show at Grosvenor House Hotel during business hours on the same day, September 24th.  A number of professional networking events, including seminars, discussion tables and an exhibition will be attended by guests from the upper-echelons of their organizations, including chairmen, CEOs, and managing directors. The 2013 European Property Show is open to all industry related companies, property buyers and investors.

 

About International Property Awards

The International Property Awards are open to residential and commercial property professionals from around the globe.  Since 1995, they have celebrated the highest levels of achievement by companies operating in all sectors of the property and real estate industry.  The awards are split into regions covering Africa, Asia Pacific, Arabia, Canada, Caribbean, Central and South America, Europe, UK and USA.  The highest-scoring winners from each region are automatically entered into the overall International Awards, which ultimately determine the world’s finest properties and real estate professionals.


The Toulouse Effect

 

One could be forgiven for not wanting to leave Château de la Durantie, beautifully tucked away in an area of outstanding natural beauty in the Tarn countryside; a rustic gem in the undulating hills of South West France.  Located amidst the famed ‘Golden Triangle’ – the elegant trio of culture-rich Albi, wine-soaked Gaillac and the former bastide fortress Corde-sur-Ciel – it is easy to understand why the area warrants plenty of foreign investment.

 

 

Yet it’s not all crumbling farmhouses, sleepy villages and sun-baked vines that are attracting foreign interest. Head South West and within the hour one can find oneself in the beautiful city of Toulouse, Europe’s fastest growing city, and France’s fourth largest overall. As pioneers of industry (Toulouse is a leading player in both the aeronautics and space industries), the city has grown more than 20% in the last decade.  The former home of Concorde, and now housing Airbus’s headquarters, Toulouse remains the centre of the European aerospace industry.

 

However, if technology is the brains of the city, culture is very much the heart. Known as La Ville Rose (The Pink City) thanks to the reddish coloured bricks which were used to build many of the city’s buildings, Toulouse basks in its own glowing light. Boasting a world renowned university and a vibrant student population pushing 100,000, only Paris and Lille can lay claim to more resident academics. More famous than its aeroplanes are the city’s two sporting teams; Stade Toulousain, the power house of French rugby which has dominated the European scene in recent years, and the resurgent Toulouse FC, the Ligue 1 football side who are considered to be amongst the country’s top three or four teams, and who are keen to secure Champions League football for 2013.

 

For the real culture vultures, the magnificent Cathédrale Saint-Etienne, a blend of Gothic-Mediterranean architecture is open for daily services, whilst the The Musée des Augustins (circa 14th Century) houses one the most impressive collections of Romanesque sculptures in the world. Food lovers can rejoice in a leading hub of gastronomy, whilst France’s ubiquitous café scene is evident on the corner of every boulevard and cobbled square that you happen to wander down.

 

 

Throw into the mix the city’s fantastic transport links – Toulouse Blagnac Airport has daily low cost flights to all popular destinations, there’s an exceptional train service extending all over Western Europe, and plans for France’s revered TGV network to connect the city with Paris – and it’s no surprise to see how the ‘Toulouse Effect’ has taken hold.

 

Undoubtedly the city’s attraction is excellent news for residents at Château de la Durantie, not least for their own pleasure, but for the reassuring knowledge that this dynamic city and its hinterland is becoming a property hot spot and now has to be a good time to inveast.

 

No longer a rough diamond waiting to be found, Toulouse is a city well and truly cut to precision. Just make sure you don’t miss its beautiful pink hue as the sun goes down.


Flights to Toulouse Blagnac Airport

 

Summer programme for flights to and from Toulouse Blagnac Airport from March – October 2013:

UK

Bristol: 1 daily flight with Easyjet

London Gatwick: one or more flights with Easyjet

London Heathrow: one or more flights with British Airways

Birmingham: 2 flights per day (except Saturday) with BMI Regional

Manchester: 1 flight per day on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday with Jet 2

Leeds Bradford: 1 flight per day on Friday and 1 on Saturday with Jet2

Edinburgh: 1 flight per day on Wednesday and 1 on Sunday with Jet2

Dublin: 1 flight on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday with Aer Lingus

 

Canada

Montreal: 1 flight per day on Tuesday and Sunday with Air Transat

 

Turkey

Istanbul: 1 daily flight (you can find information on the flight correspondence network which is wide: 200 countries, mainly towards Asia, Africa and West America)