Nestled in the modern-day region of Occitanie, the extraordinary Chateau St Martin oozes opulence and splendour. The recently renovated castle, which accommodates up to 14 guests is surrounded by 160 hectares of vineyards, in addition to the 3 hectares of park, and defines luxury accommodation. Combining the Chateau’s rich history with contemporary design, the beautiful grounds offer privacy and tranquillity for those looking to escape and rewind. We caught up with the owner to discover the inspiration behind the renovation, what makes Languedoc the perfect location and to get to know the history behind the marvellous building.
How long have you owned the fantastic Chateau St Martin?
After 20 years living out of France, we have proudly owned Chateau St Martin for six years after deciding to purchase the property at the end of 2011.
What was it that attracted you towards the property?
Before moving to Languedoc, I lived in a bustling city along with 20 million others. I felt as though I lacked privacy and space, so the 160 hectares of vineyards, pines and Mediterranean herbs instantly drew me to the castle. As a 16th century building, along with a 9th-century chapel also on the grounds, one of the most significant bonuses of Chateau St Martin is how peaceful it is.
Could you tell us a bit more about the history of the Chateau?
Formerly, the property belonged to a monastery. However, during the French Revolution, it was confiscated and sold to the local bourgeoisie. These were notable local businessmen who privatised the castle for over 200 years, shutting off access to the public. Now, we are fortunate enough to open the building and have a rich programme of events taking place over the year. With a calendar composed of exhibitions, concerts, dinners and conferences, the next scheduled event will be a concert featuring a Monegasque opera singer on 9th December.
Recently, Chateau St Martin was renovated. If you could select your favourite room in the building, which one would it be and why?
One of the defining features of the castle is the large windows that flood each room with a lot of light. If I had to select a favourite room, it would probably be the ballroom where we regularly organise and arrange concerts, as the light is particularly good in here. Due to the structure of the room, the volumes are fantastic, and the mix between the history of the building with the new, contemporary furniture and decorations is delightful. The room has also been featured in several design magazines to highlight the blend between different elements.
How long did the renovation process take?
Due to the nature of the renovation, and how we wanted to incorporate contemporary elements into the property, we had to wait for the necessary authorisation before it could begin. Overall, it took three years for the transformation to be completed. This involved renovating the castle, the wine cellar and another separate house which is also on Chateau St Martin’s grounds.
You’ve spoken about the mix between the different styles in the castle. What was the inspiration behind the renovation?
My Father was a designer in Cannes, so I spent my childhood surrounded by luxurious linen and furniture. Although I decided not to follow him in his career, I wanted to continue to ensure that my future endeavours included this level of splendour. Throughout the castle, visitors can enjoy the finest Italian linen from Missoni.
Regarding the inspiration, I wanted to pay homage to the historical character of the castle but also wanted to update it to feature 21st-century elements. That is the reason behind the New York-style loft that is linked to the castle, which features glass bay windows looking out onto the grounds.
Chateau St Martin is surrounded by vineyards. What is your favourite part of producing wine?
Above all, we are a wine producer. Each year, we export around 200,000 bottles worldwide, including to the UK. Wine is very aromatic and, in particular, the South of France offers lots of character. The wine that we produce also incorporates a lot of Mediterranean herbal scents, which is one of the reasons that we have been given awards in several different countries in wine tasting competitions. For example, our Picpoul de Pinet has been awarded as one of the Top 10 Languedoc wines by a jury presided by Tim Atkin.
Have you had any notable guests stay at Chateau St Martin?
The castle and grounds more commonly lend themselves to TV or movie shoots. Every day, it is featured on one of the prime French TV channels on a show watched by over three million people. In addition to this, filming has just been wrapped on a movie featuring a prominent French actor.
For first time visitors to Languedoc, what activities would you advise people to partake in?
With locations nearby such as Carcassonne and St-Guilhem-le-Desert, the heritage of Languedoc is very rich. Also, there are also a lot of smaller villages that are wonderful to explore when visiting the region. Gastronomy is also something that should be checked out. Sample some of the oysters for Bouzigues or travel to Roquefort to taste the famous Roquefort cheese if that is something that you’re interested in. Lastly, if you’re visiting Languedoc to unwind, a trip to the beach isn’t too far!
What made you choose to work with Quality Villas?
I hadn’t previously thought about renting out the castle; the fear of damages had made me very cautious about letting others stay. However, a friend of mine with a similar property told me that he has previously used Quality Villas and was impressed with each element of their service. After a bit of research online, the positive feedback of their service is what prompted me to seek out a partnership with the business.
If you’re interested in booking a stay to Chateau St Martin, or any of our other holiday villas in Languedoc, then check out our website for more information.
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