Sometimes I find myself thinking how nice it would be to have a magic carpet. That’s what came to mind when I saw the article about Château du Grand-Lucé in Homes & Estates magazine: zip over to Loire Valley for an afternoon stroll through this fabulous and fully restored 18th-century French neoclassical château.
A French National Landmark, the 80-acre, 40,000-square-foot, 16-bedroom estate was constructed between 1760 and 1764, escaped destruction during the French Revolution and was even used as a hospital for wounded British soldiers during World War II. (They say that the château’s theater also served as a hiding place for paintings from the Louvre and other French museums during the war.)
Visited by such dignitaries of the Enlightenment period as Voltaire, Rousseau and Diderot, the property was purchased, renovated and decorated by award winning designer Timothy Corrigan, whose book, An Invitation to Château du Grand-Lucé (Rizzoli, 2013), chronicles the restoration. While the period design reflects a tradition of formality, Timothy Corrigan softened the spaces with comfort in mind. “If a room is beautiful but it’s not comfortable, it’s not successful,” he says.
Corrigan gave each bedroom unique décor, and while some of the original flooring, paneling, fireplaces and even hand-painted wall coverings were still in place, he had to install bathrooms and kitchens, since there were none inside the original structure. Of course, every château worthy of its name includes fabulous gardens, and Château du Grand-Lucé is no exception. There are boxwood mazes, waterfalls, formal gardens and kitchen gardens as well as a lake and a 42-acre wooded park. Just outside gates of the very private château is a small village, where fresh croissants perfume the air surrounding the local bakery.
There are two YouTube videos of Timothy Corrigan talking about Château du Grand-Lucé: a 2015 Architectural Digest interview and another in which Susanna Salk visits the designer and tours the château.
The property is available furnished – magic carpets and all!
Let’s not forget the fabulous Château Louis XIV, which sold in 2015 for $301 million, a world record-breaking price for a residential sale. It makes Château du Grand-Lucé begin to look like an absolute bargain! From the front, the two structures look like they were hatched from the same mold. The 57-acre, 53,000-square-foot château, designed by French architect Pierre Bortolussi for haute-couture estates builder Cogemad, was completed in 2011 with plenty of 17th-century opulence to go along with 21st century bells and whistles, such as an underground nightclub, a squash court, a movie theater and a moat with an underwater room that has transparent walls full of colorful fish!