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A Castle of One's Own
By Maile Pingel | Photo: Villa Paolina photo by David Wear; Château de Saint-Élix by Polo Garat | February 2, 2015
With beloved television series Downton Abbey returning for its fifth season this winter, who isn’t dreaming of life in a grand home? Live like a noble in any of these five historic estates currently on the market.
THE LOWDOWN Just a 25-minute drive south of Toulouse finds you in the tiny medieval village of Saint-Élix, where Château de Saint-Élix stands ready for its new owners. The restored brick towers and slate roof enclose nearly 20,000 square feet of living space with period decoration by sculptor François Lucas. A dramatic moat only adds to the romance.
THE STATS Ten bedrooms, 10 bathrooms, numerous reception rooms, original wine cellars, 18th century gardens and a fishing lake on more than 1,200 woodland acres
THE LAST WORD Legend says King Francis I fell in love with a woman on the site and built the castle for her in the 1540s.
CONTACT Leggett Prestige, 00.33.0.5.57.55.06.06
THE LOWDOWN Even Downton’s Dowager Countess of Grantham would smile upon seeing Kingston Lisle Park, a Georgian home just a 45-minute train ride from London. At more than 17,000 square feet, the house was featured in Country Life magazine in 1971, where its floating staircase was praised as “the most breathtaking” of its kind.
THE STATS Thirteen bedrooms, seven bathrooms, a grand entrance hall, five reception rooms, a swimming pool, a tennis court, formal gardens, cottages, stables, lakes and a golf course on more than 250 acres
THE LAST WORD An octagonal study, flower room and loggia make the home all the more bucolic.
CONTACT Knight Frank, 44.20.7629.8171
THE LOWDOWN From its hilltop perch, Villa Paolina overlooks magnificent formal gardens and the Tyrrhenian coastline in the distance. Home to several aristocratic families over the centuries (including the Bonapartes), the three-story, 12,900-square-foot estate is an incomparable and luxurious Tuscan retreat.
THE STATS Five bedrooms, eight bathrooms, reception rooms, a wine cellar, an elevator, a heated pool, three farmhouses, a chapel and a helipad on nearly 275 acres
THE LAST WORD The estate produces top-notch olive oil, a tradition its fortunate new homeowner will be able to continue.
CONTACT Tuscany Sotheby’s International Realty, 39.055.075.18888
Maybole, Ayrshire, Scotland
THE LOWDOWN Fifteenth-century Cassillis Castle’s massive renovation was documented on the BBC television show Restoration Home in 2012. Set on 309 acres and home to pheasant and salmon, the castle includes a 19th century addition with large windows and elaborate plasterwork. The castle is close to championship golf courses and just a 30-mile drive from Glasgow.
THE STATS Thirteen bedrooms, 15 bathrooms, a ballroom, a library, a gourmet kitchen and a scullery, a gatehouse, three cottages, a coach house and stables, and a walled garden
THE LAST WORD The River Doon, which flows through the property, was immortalized in the poems of Robert Burns.
CONTACT Savills, 18.104.22.16800
THE LOWDOWN One needn’t go overseas to find a grand historic home. Case in point: Fairholme, the 1875 Tudor Revival built at the height of the Gilded Age. Over 20,000 square feet, the house offers stately proportions at every turn. In fact, it’s the only house in Newport that can seat 120 in the dining room.
THE STATS Fifteen bedrooms, 12 full baths, a great hall, a receiving room, a salon, a library, a ballroom, a chef’s kitchen, an elevator, a tiled pool and a cabana
on 4.3 oceanfront acres
THE LAST WORD Famous visitors include Georgia O’Keeffe, John F. Kennedy and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor.
CONTACT Lila Delman Real Estate International, 401.284.4820