Dordogne Chateau For Sale: An Exceptional Restoration Opportunity

By Maxwell-Baynes Real Estate,

If you are looking for a Dordogne chateau for sale that needs restoration, then we have an exceptional ‘gem’ for you. There are a surprising number of searches online for ‘chateau for sale in France in need of renovation’, or ‘derelict chateau for sale France’ or even ‘abandoned French chateau for sale’. However none of those descriptions do justice to the exceptional French chateau restoration opportunity offered to you with our featured property today.

Here at Maxwell-Baynes Real Estate we are known for selling ‘Extraordinary Residences’ – residences that are described as luxurious, presented with stunning furnishings and immaculate grounds. However, although not currently habitable, Chateau L’Herm is certainly extraordinary, and we are excited at the prospect of someone embracing this chateau restoration opportunity and creating a unique residence.

Chateau L'Herm set in the peaceful Dordogne countryside surrounded by its moat with access over a bridge

Chateau L’Herm set in the peaceful Dordogne countryside surrounded by its moat with access over a bridge

Chateau L’Herm is no ordinary Dordogne chateau restoration project, but a labour of love. We thought you would love to hear the story beyond the stones and architecture, so Kirsten Pollard, the agent for this property, has shared plenty of fascinating insights with us.

The property was acquired by its current owners, Marie and Dominique Palué, in 1988. They are passionate about architecture, history, chateaux and the rich French patrimony of their country.

Historical Research

Marie, a historian, has carried out extensive research on the origins of the chateau and its history. She was also granted the rights to do archeological digs at the property in order to ascertain the chronology of the occupation of the site. This was done by doing soil cuts and recording the layers. All objects that were found have been dated and kept on display and include pottery, jewellery and glasswork. She also oversaw a project to unearth the remains of bread ovens and chapel adjacent to the chateau and in the process discovered there were originally 7 ovens.

Architectural Preservation

In the meantime Dominique has painstakingly preserved the chateau, matching the original materials and working by hand to prevent further deterioration of the features. This has been a true labour of love. Amongst his preservation projects he installed a temporary roof on the main body of the chateau, sealed the top of the walls so that they are now ready for the new roof, and installed platforms so that the chateau can be visited on all 3 floors to observe the architectural details found throughout.

Preservation work on the top of the walls ready for the new roof...

Preservation work on the top of the walls ready for the new roof…

Historical Monument

The chateau is open to the public from April until October when the owners are available to share their passion for this historical monument, which was listed as a Historical Monument in 1927.

Marie & Dominique’s research discovered that the site was first occupied at the end of the 11th and beginning of the 12th century. The current chateau was constructed over a period of 20 years from 1500 to 1520. This was a particularly interesting period in architectural history, the ‘Flamboyant Gothic period’, at the beginning of the Renaissance period, which lasted just twenty years, at the time of the reign of Louis XII until he was superseded by François I. As its name suggests, the period paid particular attention to the decorative elements of the architecture with many elaborate details that differentiated the period from previous styles.

Beautiful Architectural Details

At Chateau l’Herm the entrance has a very detailed moulded decoration above the front door. It leads in to the hallway with the stunning 5 meter wide stone spiral staircase, with three lines of moldings twisting round the three floors staircase culminating in a stunning stone palm at the top.

Stunning stone palm at top of central stone spiral staircase

Stunning stone palm at top of central stone spiral staircase

The chateau features no less than 13 monumental fireplaces, all of which remain intact, along with their sculpted coats of arms, and symbolic sculpted details such as curly kale, symbol of wealth, pinnacles and flowers.

One of the 13 decorative monumental fireplaces at l'Herm

One of the 13 decorative monumental fireplaces at l’Herm

The moat and bridge that surround the chateau remain intact.

Movie Location

Chateau l’Herm was chosen as the very apt location for the filming of ‘Jacquou le Croquant’, set in 1815, that depicted the revolt of a Perigourdian peasant who burnt down the chateau as a protest against his master, Nansac the Lord of Nansac, in this fictional tale written by Eugène Le Roy. This was initially filmed in 1969 with a remake telefilm filmed in 2007. The vaulted cellar at L’Herm was the used as the prison for Jacquou.  Here is our very own movie of this very special property . . .

Dordogne chateau for sale – are you the next owner?

The current chateau was built by Jean de Calivimont, a Bordeaux parliamentary advisor. It was then owned by a series of lords, particularly the Calvimont family between 1499 and 1586.

The Western façade

The Western façade

Marie and Dominique Palué are now ready to hand over their guardianship to the next owner who would ideally be equally passionate about the chateau’s history and architectural value. There is scope to restore the original slate roof, or create a more contemporary finish with a glass roof or a vegetal wall, as Dominique Palué, with his horticultural background had always imagined, and also to reinstall the original floors. With its 200m2 on five floors including the basement and the towers, this Dordogne chateau for sale could be restored to a comfortable residence. And if this story and the images of this chateau are inspiring you, and worrying you in equal measure, then think about what was achieved on the popular TV program ‘Escape To The Chateau’!

Chateau L’Herm currently sits on 1 hectare of land, including a small cottage and barn, and negotiations are in progress to acquire some of the surrounding lands. Being that it is a listed historical monument, government grants are available for between 30 and 40% of the renovation costs.

All legitimate candidates are welcome to present themselves…

For further details click here.

and to find out more about other properties for sale in the Dordogne area please make direct contact with our  agent Kirsten Pollard

Kirsten Pollard Agent for Maxwell-Baynes

Kirsten Pollard Agent for Maxwell-Baynes Real Estate