French Properties

Looking for the sweet life? The extraordinary history of a Pas-de-Calais chateau

Now and again a very special property comes up for sale, and this beautiful petit chateau that has been carefully restored by a local chocolate maker is one of them. The 21-room property offers a buyer all sorts of possibilities…

This opulent Haussmannian-style property was built in 1920 using Paris limestone. It’s located in Béthune, a bustling town 55 minutes from Calais, and 1hr 45 from Paris, with some high-quality restaurants. Its beautiful façade is decorated with garlands of carved flowers that hang under the first-floor balconies. On the site of a religious building – its famous arches remain and are a well-known local landmark and part of the town’s heritage zone – the mansion was built to replace the sugar beet factory that was its next incarnation.

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Now, after being purchased as a ruin by a local chocolatier – Jean-Claude Robert Jeanson became famous for making chocolate dresses at a fashion show – it has several elegantly decorated reception rooms currently used for special events. It also has nine bedrooms and three bathrooms, including two self-contained apartments on the top floor.

It is unfortunate that the local commune cannot make it into a museum – it is certainly worthy of one – but instead, it is available for sale at €2m. But what great potential, says Graham Britton, our local agent: “An architect for the Batiment de France has said there is scope to develop the property, so a hotel group or a restaurant could create more rooms. The current owner has used it for exhibitions and banquets, or as a wedding venue – the turnover for the property was over €200,000 per year,” he says. “It could also be purchased by a bank as an investment, and leased out, or by a company to use as their prestigious headquarters to host conferences and host clients.

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