Hidden away in the vast swathe that is southern France is one of the prettiest and most unspoilt departements – the Tarn. This lies to the north of the Languedoc and south east of Dordogne and although far less well known than either of those well-trodden areas, is highly treasured by the intrepid Brits who have discovered it. Toulouse and Rodez airports are only 50 minutes away and Paris can be easily reached by whizzing up the E9.
The Tarn is peppered with beautifully preserved fortified medieval villages, such as Puycelsi and Castelnau de Montmiral, and there’s a host of captivating towns to visit including Albi, which was the birth place of the diminutive French artist, Toulouse-Lautrec. Just outside Castlenau, an ambitious project – Chateau de la Durantie – is underway. This is being created through the vision of Tony Dowse, who runs the UK development company, Environ Communities and his financial director, David Boden. David, with his wife, Jeanne (who is project manager), moved to the Tarn 16 years ago and they have been instrumental, along with Paul Salvador, the mayor of Castelnau, in obtaining planning for the scheme.
Chateau de la Durantie is the perfect location for a second home. Quiet, rural but close enough to the village shops and restaurants and when completed will have its own gamut of facilities for residents to enjoy. The backbone of the scheme is to turn the elegant Belle Epoque chateau into a country club and spa – to be used by members only, who will be made up of both property owners and locals.
The chateau is surrounded by 37 acres of gloriously wooded grounds, in which small clusters of new houses will be built to a high specification and in the local vernacular with wooden beams and cathedral ceilings. “We want the whole development to be as rustic as possible” says Tony Dowse.
Within the chateau, there will be a drawing room, library, private dining room, bistro and bar. A spa, indoor infinity pool and outdoor pool, vegetable and formal gardens will also be created and by the time the project is finished two tennis courts, a croquet lawn, a beach volley court, allotments, playground and 9-hole pitch-and-putt will also grace the grounds. “We are also intending to create some artists’ workshops and I am hoping that the locals will use these. We want to encourage the local community to be a part of this development and some are already showing interest in the houses” says Tony.
The properties are being sold off plan and the target is for the first 18, plus the spa, bistro and gardens to be ready by mid 2014. Owners can only use their property as a second home and have to make it available for rental for a proportion of the year. Prices range from €325,000 for a two bedroom apartment up to €750,000 for a five bedroom house. A leaseback purchase option is also available.
For further information contact: Chateau de la Durantie: www.durantie.com; 01732 848316. Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org