Canal du Midi
Château – estate with 3 gites
between Toulouse and Carcassonne
€1,250,000 * (ref 123)
The Canal du Midi – a 17th century engineering masterpiece – links Toulouse to the Mediterranean sea. It is now a tourist waterway with small boats, barges as well as cyclists and walkers using its water and towpath. There are practically no B&Bs or tourist accommodation near the Canal.
A former military fortress transformed into a Palladian-style chateau by an Italian architect, this property goes back a long way. Luckily the present owners have made great efforts to bring the chateau up to modern-day standards without compromising on the authenticity of the materials or décor. In other words, there is no IKEA furniture cluttering up early 18th century drawing rooms.
As befits a chateau of this standing, the property is completely surrounded by its 5.8 hectares of grounds with no near neighbours. A broad swathe of lawn drops down from the chateau to the Canal du Midi. This part of the canal is relatively quiet – between Castelnaudary and Villefranche-de-Lauragais – but there is a steady traffic of pleasure boats, a sprinkling of cyclists and some walkers in summer.
Château on the Canal du Midi
The chateau has three storeys covering roughly 420m² each. Ground floor comprises the vast entrance hall, large lounge, dining-room, kitchen, study, artist’s studio and diverse pantries and cloakrooms. The second floor has a billiard room (which could double as a ball-room), four bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms, at least 3 servants’ bedrooms and a warren of corridors, secret passages and service stairs. The top floor is attic space with headroom for giants, split into about 6 very big spaces.
The grounds are a mix of woodland and lawn, French-style garden and horse paddocks. They include a 3 bedroomed cottage near the canal of around 120 m². The other two gites are in the west wing of the chateau. There’s also an old forge and a bakery (with a bread oven). In other words a selection of accommodation which could be used to generate a bit of income.
The local village has shops, café, restaurant and post office. Castelnaudary (with all services – even a hospital) is only 4 kms distant.
Our opinion: Since the Canal du Midi has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, there has been a mini-boom in property prices along its banks. As the canal itself is owned by a Govt organ – the VNF – Voies Navigables Françaises – which does not allow any building or commerce within 6 metres either side of the canal, you can appreciate the value of this sort of property. We would rig it out as a luxury Guest House (using the existing 4 en-suite bedrooms) and offer a table d’hôte befitting the status of the place. The gites could be re-decorated and let at once. The cottage could serve as living quarters for the owners while the servants’ quarters were turned into a comfortable manager’s flat. The whole chateau could be let to groups or wedding parties. There is no limit to what could be done.
* agency fees included reference n°: 123
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