The pennies seem to go a little further across the English Channel. Over in south-west France, a 17th-century equestrian estate with 647sqm of living space and five hectares of grazing is on the market for just €980,000. This pretty farmhouse is up for sale in Chélan, France in the Gers region. The small commune of Chélan has fewer than 200 inhabitants, while the larger village of Castelnau-Magnoac is 7km away, where there a historic monument and a large lake – which you can ride around – are the major sights. This village was key in the Resistance movement. The largest city nearby is Toulouse, France’s fourth largest city, which is 100km away.
Although Chélan is down in the south of France, don’t expect balmy year-round temperatures. It is close to the foothills of the Pyrenees and has an oceanic climate, with rainfall expected during every month, and even snow in winter. Skiers will be in their element. You can make a day trip to the excellent and extensive resort of St Lary Soulan with just an hour’s drive each way. Beach-goers can enjoy the Atlantic surf after a two-hour drive.
For equestrian events, Pau racecourse is just over an hour away. There are a plethora of tracks here, including a chase and hurdles track, the first all-weather Flat track in France and a cross-country circuit in the middle. The feature race in the Grade Three Grand Prix de Pau, a steeple chase over 3m2½f which has been a fixture on the calendar since 1887. And of course, in the autumn is France’s five-star horse trials, Les 5 Etoiles de Pau, also held at the racecourse venue.
For those who enjoy hunting, there is stag hunting in September/October in the Pyrenees.
This farmhouse in Chélan is on the market with Groupe Mercure for around £867,000. Let’s take a tour…
From the outside, the house looks for the most part like the 17th century property it is, however inside it’s a different story. The property is made up for two sections. The main house has undergone a contemporary restoration, combining the old beams with a modern design.
There are eight bedrooms in total, suitable for plenty of visiting family and friends. The main house has three bedrooms, a dressing room and two bathrooms. It also has a projection room (or mini cinema) and two terraces. The kitchen here is large and contemporarily designed.
There is a second, half-timbered building. This features a beautiful kitchen, as well as five bedrooms and four shower rooms and includes a self-contained flat.
Another highlight is the indoor swimming pool with a counter-current to help keep you fit – if there’s not enough to keep you busy outdoors.
Outside, the plot is five hectares (over 12 acres) of fully fenced land. There is also a pond, field shelters and automatic drinking troughs. There is a stable block with three boxes as well.
The beautiful Pyrenees are on the horizon, and the house sits in a commanding position with magnificent views.
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