Last week, while one Huffington regaled us with her escapades to the Bahamas, relaxing island style (and had most of us salivating over her days of endless beach walks, long restful naps and extensive reading – did she really read seven books?), the other Huffington Madame headed to France, expanding her horizons and visiting Normandy for the first time. We chose Normandy to celebrate my daughter’s college graduation, and in honor of her love of France and interest in history, we focused on the D-Day invasions and all the emotional events wrapped around world war II.
Although art history and houses are obviously my thing, and while my husband might tell you that I scour every real estate magazine no matter where we are, I loved being in Normandy on vacation with family and wasn’t the least bit tempted to go off hunting for a chateau — or art — to buy. Besides, although owning a chateau in Normandy sounds like a cool thing to do, it’s never been on my radar screen and I’ve never felt the slightest envy towards chateau owners. In fact, when I conjure up a “Chateau in Normandy” I think of some huge turreted bleak and grey medieval manse that would most likely be haunted, cost a fortune to heat, and have very bad plumbing.
This has always been my image of a “Normandy Chateau”:
I’m happy to say that we had a marvelous time, visiting art-filled sites, marveling at cathedrals and inhaling all of the history that surrounded us without giving any thought to the Normandy chateau thing.
And then on the very last day, when we were driving out to Omaha Beach for the second time, meandering through gorgeous fields and admiring the cow pastures, this gorgeous architectural apparition reached out and grabbed me:
And the rest is history: All of a sudden, I get it, I’m hooked and I want in. The Normandy chateau doesn’t have to be that big scary turreted Disneyland concoction: It can be something with gorgeous proportions, elegant in its setting, close to historic battle fields and within a stone’s throw of magnificent beaches. In short, a Normandy chateau could be paradise – or at least an extension of Huff Harrington Home.
I loved the vacation and the visit to Normandy, but now that I’m back, I can’t help but dream about that gently proportioned, 18th century chateau that sits gracefully on a hillside, surrounded by French manicured gardens, with rolling fields sloping into the distance … and the wheels start turning. I instinctively start the real estate search (and I have to admit that I’m an expert at searching the French real estate listings!), and this is the first one that piques my interest.
So how much is his gorgeous 18th century property which includes the 5,000 square foot chateau, a two bedroom caretaker’s cottage at the entrance of the property, a guest house with 3 bedrooms, a private chapel, stables, garages, an orangerie, a vegetable garden and formal gardens, all of which sit on 27 acres of rolling hills, within a 2 hour’s drive of Paris?
Well, we’re not really in the real estate business so we don’t want to get in to prices, but to give you an idea : Our Normandy estate has the exact same asking price as this 875 square foot apartment in Paris 7th arrondissement (Photos: Explorimmo.com):
Or for the same asking price, you could purchase this NYC apartment, on Bank Street in the West Village: (Photos courtesy Trullia)
Which one would you choose?
I love Paris and New York, and the Normandy thing is admittedly more of a crush than a serious affair at this point, but I know I’d start by doing some research and fantasizing about the Normandy chateau, and maybe get some inspiration from Charles Spada’s wonderful renovation that was featured in Veranda Magazine last year..
And then I’d get our magnificent design diva, Sam Jones involved (she is the one who helped me with the Paris apartment), and … well, can you see where this is going?
Are you coming along for the ride?
Ta ta …