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PRIVATE LUXURY: Le Preverger, Provence, France
Set in a medieval village, La Garde-Frenet, in the hills above St Tropez, Le Preverger is the stuff that fantasies are made of.
Rumour has it that past owner Laura Ashley dreamt of buying this estate on the Côte d'Azur long before she was able to, having fallen in love with it on a motorbike holiday before her flowery fashion empire took flight. Ashley and her husband finally bought the property from actress Jean Moreau - and now it is owned by entrepreneur and hotelier John Spence and his Karma Royal Group.

le preverger
le preverger
bedroom
interiors by nicky haslam
pool
living room
the view

The original building was standing before Napoleon met his waterloo. Drive through the high iron gates and you'll see a romantic stone walled shuttered property and expansive grounds. The estate is made up of  a the main residence ,a four bedroomed chateau, there is also a  guest villa, a coach house and a  pool house, with  150 acres of olive groves, oak and chestnut woods, vineyards, landscaped gardens, pool and tennis court. All this just 15-minutes from St. Tropez.
And if these walls could talk, oh, the stories they could tell. Over the years Le Preverger has hosted a Who's Who of distinguished guests from Hollywood stars to royalty. Bridgette Bardot, Pablo Picasso, and Orson Welles were all entertained here by Moreau. The Ashleys' invited Diana Princess of Wales and Lady Margaret Thatcher. Imagine if they'd all stayed at the same time - what a shindig!
The neighbours are star-spangled too; the lush hillsides around Le Preverger provide a refuge for nearby residents that include Johnny Depp, the Redgraves and Liam Neeson.
Now it is your turn to stay. Because John Spence (Group Chairman and CEO of Karma Royal group)  is inviting a select few to share his slice of paradise in Provence. The estate was purchased in 2012 adding to the group's global portfolio of exclusive private enclaves.  "Entertaining is a huge part of the vibe and experience at any Karma, resort and when an opportunity arose to entertain in one of the most beautiful places in the world, in a chateau that has entertained some incredible people over the years, I felt this was the perfect opportunity to expand our private residences for the international guests and members of the Karma Royal Group" said John Spence.
Even better he has spruced up the whole place just for you. Under the elegant eye of designer Nicky Haslam (who has who previously transformed houses for Mick Jagger, Bryan Ferry, Ringo Starr Rupert Everett, Roman Abramovich)  Le Preverger has become the most tasteful  estate in the South of France. The refurbishment project encompasses the estate's four-bedroom main chateau, including the creation and curation of a new library overseen by Ultimate Library, the bespoke library service founded by English entrepreneur Philip Blackwell, and will eventually include the updating of the estate's gardens and grounds, five-bedroom guest villa, four-bedroom coach house and two-bedroom pool house. Haslam, has decorated the villa in his trademark opulent style. There are Over-sized sofas, rich wall hangings and classic furniture. The design style is English-elegance-meets-French-chic with some glamorous pizzazz thrown in (think tiger print and leather).
 
TLTB  specially likes vthe wine room  ajoining  the salon, with a large stone table to hold icy bottles of wine, leather banquettes to perch on and vintage photographs of  Jeanne Moreau.
'I have always admired the work of Nicky Haslam and it was an honour and a thrill when he agreed to work on the interiors at Le Preverger. Nicky has known the house over the years and, indeed, many of the people who have stayed here,' said John Spence. 'We were extremely keen to maintain the provenance and history of the house and its previous occupants, notably Laura Ashley and Jeanne Moreau. This he has done beyond expectation'.
The villa will cost you from 100,000 Euro a week including staff. Breakfast is also included as is some very decent wine (this is France after all). There are 14 guest bedrooms, 11 bathrooms, eight reception rooms, two little libraries, one Porsche and one helicopter (with pilot on call).
 
Hilary Doling 25/10/13
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