château de Montbrun
Dournazac, Haute-Vienne, France
Located in the Limousin region of France, this 12th-century castle, which passed from royalty to clergy to ministers of court until the last Lord of Montbrun was given the choice to lose his head or his home during the French Revolution, is an estate steeped in history
Two thousand years ago, high-end homes came with sprawling grounds and banquet halls to seat a hundred. In the 2000s, we have satellite television, home cinemas and centrally heated flooring. Montbrun Castle has been through as many restorations as it has historical battles, and it was most recently revamped in the 90s, which means that the 16-room estate maintains its medieval château feel but the floors have never been warmer nor the amenities more technologically sound.
Built in 1179 on the orders of King Henry II of England, the castle grounds are the burial place of Richard the Lionheart’s intestines. There’s even a resident ghost – although that didn’t deter Madame Pompadour, President de Gaulle, and, more recently, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie from visiting. The Jolie-Pitts were thinking about buying, but Jolie opted for a mansion in Provence, a fact that Pitt has publicly lamented.
Included in the asking price of €20.5 million are 500 acres of land, four lakes, stables and a tavern on the “public” part of the estate. The oak and chestnut forests are ideal for horse riding and hunting with falcons.
The living space extends to 35,000 square feet, divided among four towers that surround a courtyard leading to that 100-seater hall. There are 15 en-suite guest rooms, one colossal master bedroom, a library, servants’ quarters, three kitchens and a cinema in a vaulted tower.
The current owner, the Dutch businessman Maarten Lamers, has clearances from the Monuments de France heritage committee for the construction of pools, tennis courts, a golfing green, in-roads for owner access and even a private heliport. It’s little wonder, then, that Pitt said: “I wanted to buy this beautiful castle, but Angelina wanted to be closer to the sea ... unfortunately!” By Panna Munyal
Asking price: Dh100 million, negotiable