New holiday homes on the southern route of the Tour De France include Chateau De La Durantie – the historical belle époque chateau and 15 hectare estate in The Tarn.
This year marks the 100th anniversary of the famed Tour de France and there is heightened British interest in the race thanks to the heroic efforts of last year’s winner Sir Bradley Wiggins. The 7th stage in early July climaxes in a sprint through the historic and beautiful city of Albi, voted ‘the most sporting town in France, 2012’, which is also home to the UNESCO listed Sainte-Cecile Cathedral. The new properties at Chateau de la Durantie, just 30 minutes from the centre of Albi, present an opportunity for Francophiles to own an authentic Tarn-styled home ‘en route’ in rural France. Other stages on the southern route also include the cities of Marseilles and Montpellier.
On 1st – 21st July massive international TV audiences as well as the French public and visitors to France for the occasion will line the route and watch in awe and admiration at the riders who push themselves to the very pinnacle of physical ability and endurance to claim the famed Yellow Jersey. Taking in all types of terrain, the tour will introduce viewers to many vibrant towns and regions and will showcase the relatively unknown rugged beauty of The Tarn in the Midi-Pyrenees of South West France. The Tarn is often referred to as the Tuscany of France and compared with The Cotswolds of the mid-20th century with its many historical hillside towns, rolling plains and dramatic hillsides.
A rare permit has been gained to develop in this Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and the belle-époque Chateau de la Durante is being sympathetically renovated and developed by Environ Communities (www.environcommunities.com). With scarce opportunities to enjoy a chateau lifestyle, Durantie offers the best of both worlds; 21st century living combined with the use of the sympathetically restored château building, facilities and club entertainment.
Durantie boasts an enviable location which is highly accessible by plane, train and car from the UK and is well serviced by direct flights and budget airlines such as Flybe, Easyjet and Ryanair to nearby Toulouse. The location is a haven for cycle enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts – located on the doorstep of The Gresigne forest and home to 3,500km of cycling and walking trails.
The Tarn has proved to be a popular destination for British expats, particularly in the region’s famed ‘Golden Triangle’, the area between the cultural city of Albi, the wine soaked vineyards of Gaillac and the majestic Bastide village of Cordes-sur-Ciel. Property owners at Durantie have exclusive access to the chateau’s own Country Club and Spa, which houses a gourmet bistro and is to be a hub of cultural and sporting events and outings.
Nearby cycle routes can be found at: www.tourisme-tarn.com
La Durantie received its first VIP guests onsite as five leading UK property journalists were invited to visit and report back to their readers on the chateau development. Publications represented included; Daily Express, French Property News, Evening Standard, Chelsea Monthly, Expat Telegraph and The Scotsman.
As well as familiarising themselves with the plans for Durantie and meeting the team responsible for bringing the chateau back to life the visit enabled the journalists to explore The Tarn and to see for themselves why so many have chosen to ‘up sticks’ and move here. The quality of life is hard to deny!
The château has seen several owners throughout its lifetime but significantly, the Schwarzkopf family, famed for perfumes & beauty products, bought the château in the 1980’s and held wild parties whilst farming the 800 acre plot. In the interwar period the vineyard estate was run by nuns and their peaceful influence can still be sensed when entering the gates today… the earlier rush hour bustle in London was long gone!
The chateau is surrounded by undulating vineyards and oak forests for as far as the eye can see. It is easy to imagine yourself on a warm summer evening sitting on the bistro’s terrace overlooking the pool and the hills beyond sipping a superb Gaillac wine and dining on delicious local delicacies. For those with a passion for wine tasting it is well-worth following in the group’s footsteps to visit the Château de Mayragues 10kms north of Gaillac.
The journalists received a warm welcome by Christian Riviѐre of the Tarn Tourist Board (www.tourisme-tarn.com) and the local Mayor, Mr Paul Salvador who joined the party for lunch at the nearby Château de Salettes (www.chateaudesalettes.com) which is a culinary treat for foodies! Other restaurants sampled included La Table du Sommelier in Gaillac, L’Ancien Auberge in Puycelsi and lunch in Toulouse at the Restaurant du Père Louis after an extraordinary guided tour of the Toulouse-Lautrec museum in Albi.
The warm winter sunshine made a stroll around the nearby Bastide village of Castelnau de Montmiral a joy as thoughts turned to property once more as the French pastel shutter shades were admired and expert Tony Dowse, pointed-out the traditional characteristics and materials being echoed in the new Durantie homes.
To read the resulting articles and to see for yourself what the journalists had to say about the visit the media testimonials section of our website…
Share-in our journey as the vision for the Chateau De La Durantie turns into a reality. We will also share with you some of the reasons why people are passionate about living in The Tarn region and keep you up-to-date with what is going on in the region.
Our first blog post…
The marketing of Chateau De La Durantie is now well underway and we have opened the historical gates to curious visitors who have shown their excitement about the renovation of this late 19th century gem. The idea is to turn the chateau and the surrounding 15 hectare estate into a country club and spa for members only, made up of both property owners visiting their homes in the grounds of the estate and locals.
Property prices have recently been released and construction of phase one is due to commence in the New Year. It is anticipated that the first proud owners will receive the keys to their French holiday homes in summer 2014.
Laurence Geddes, Deputy Mayor in charge of Culture and Heritage says: “I am interested in the preservation of the existing architecture and seeing the sympathetic development of this project. Alongside this, it will provide an economic interest for many within the local community.”
Developer Tony Dowse says: “The aspect that I find so interesting is that the local businessmen have come together to invest in the future economy of the Tarn to provide local employment as the structure of the local economy changes. Also, an Anglo-French team is being fully supported by the local Mayor and combines local builders and artisans with valuable local knowledge with a team of British designers and marketeers.”
The Developer, Environ, has built various award-winning homes in the UK and this is the first French project. However, Co-Developer David Boden knows the château well having lived nearby for 16 years: “Having lived here in this magical region for so many years and thoroughly enjoying our lifestyle I’m delighted to be able to share it with others as well as helping to sustain the local economy.”
For those who wish, the Country Club at Durantie will provide property owners with opportunities to interact with the locals and become involved in the community. The Chateau building will form the heart of the development and it is here that the residents, guests and local ‘members’ will come together during the day and into the evenings, to drink, dine and enjoy everything from courses and events to concerts…