This Timothy Corrigan-designed chateau is a rejuvenation of an 18th century masterpiece.
Considered to be one of the most exceptional examples of 18th-century French neoclassical architecture in the world, Chateau du Grand-Lucé is a sumptuous 40,000-square-foot, 16-bedroom, fully restored French chateau. Occupying 80 acres of exquisite gardens and woodlands, the chateau is in the Loire Valley, a region of landscape known for its cultural monuments and great beauty that evokes the sense of a “once-upon-a-time” fairytale.
The chateau is owned by award-winning American designer Timothy Corrigan, who acquired private ownership of the property in 2005 and chronicled its thorough restoration and design process in his 2013 book “An Invitation to Chateau du Grand-Lucé.” Built between 1760 and 1764, Chateau du Grand-Lucé indubitably has a rich and fascinating history, and thus is protected as a French National Landmark.
Former visitors to the chateau include luminaries from the Enlightenment period such as Voltaire, Rousseau and Diderot, and, during his time there, Corrigan has shared the space with many friends and family members. “I purposely made each bedroom totally different, so that each one would reflect a different type of person, or personality,” says Corrigan. “Some of the rooms are feminine, some are masculine, one looks like an Army general’s room from the 19th century and other ones look more flowery. They reflect both guests who have stayed and people now that may have different styles.”
With multiple chateau restorations under his belt, Corrigan was perfect for the task of rejuvenating the property. “It was daunting, but it had all the original paneling, original wood parquet floors and fireplaces. There was so much that was a great beauty, and great values, so it wasn’t like you were starting from scratch,” says Corrigan. “There were virtually no bathrooms and the kitchens were located outside the chateau, so I had to put things in like that, but it’s what I do for a living.”
Of the 29 rooms, Corrigan’s favorite is the Chinese Salon (Salon de Chinois), with canvas walls originally painted by 18th-century master Jean-Baptiste Pillement, one of Marie Antoinette’s court painters. Only two rooms in the world exist that he fully painted. “A small painting of Pillement’s will go for hundreds of thousands of dollars, so having a whole room is absolutely priceless,” says Corrigan.
Even the gardens offer “rooms” of their own. As you step out of the limestone walls of the chateau the formal gardens (parterre) begin, with “green rooms” drawn in a maze of boxwood and garnished with assorted sculptures and a glistening antique waterfall. Descend a level to find a section of exotic gardens that offer unexpected tropical plants, followed by kitchen gardens, replete with squares of planted fruits and vegetables. Past the gardens, the enchanted landscape unfolds into an ungroomed, natural terrain with a lake and a 42-acre wooded park.
The chateau is its own private sanctuary, but nestled up against the property on one side, just outside its main gates, is a small village — a common occurrence given the economic abutment of wealth a grand estate brings. “My favorite thing about the chateau is you can walk outside the gates and get a baguette or a croissant at the bakery,” says Corrigan. “On the property, it’s like your little country, but then outside you have this wonderful village. You get the best of both worlds. It’s definitely one of the best selling points.”
With symmetrical, classical French architecture that achieves an ideal “peak standard of beauty,” and an interior that Corrigan describes as a “comfortable” signature touch in an otherwise formally planned home, Chateau du Grand-Lucé is ready for its next owner and subsequent part of history.
Chateau du Grand-Lucé
Loire Valley, France
Represented by Ron de Salvo
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage
O: 310.777.6200 | C: 310.560.9388
Article by Samantha Myers; This article first appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of Homes & Estates