The French Riviera is famous for a lot of things – beaches, glamour and sophistication – but the image it perhaps conveys most is an affluent lifestyle.
Whether it is the movie jet set attending film festivals in Cannes or their film production companies using casinos in Monte Carlo as the backdrop to their latest caper, the Riviera has been a playground for the wealthy for more than 150 years.
Some European aristocrats built impressive homes there that remain among the most spectacular anywhere in the world.
Le Chateau Malet is one such example. The house sits on a 14-acre site in the hillsides of Cap D’Ail, overlooking Monaco’s yacht-filled harbours.
Le Chateau Malet was built in 1892 for Sir Edward Malet, who at the time was Britain’s ambassador to the German empire. He appointed the Danish architect Hans-Georg Tersling, who designed Monte Carlo’s Metropole Hotel, to create the home for him.
It was completed in 1896, but extended in 1961 when the French architect Secondo Buzzi created an adjoining, perpendicular property. At the same time, the English architect Russell Page redeveloped the ground’s extensive gardens.
The property’s present grounds have olive trees, a rose garden, a palm grove and a number of exotic plants, as well as a rock garden pond with water lilies. It has a swimming pool that is 18 metres long and six metres wide that cascades between different levels.
Inside, it has 800 square metres of living space. There are reception rooms, a library, a dining room, a kitchen, a scullery, a cold store and guest toilets. There is also a 200-square metre Italian ballroom with a ceiling height of 15 metres. One wing contains a pool house, shower rooms and toilets, while another is used for staff and has two bedrooms, a bathroom, toilets and a service entrance.
Upstairs, there are five en suite bedrooms (two of which have their own lounges) and a laundry. There is also a staff apartment with two bedrooms, a bathroom and toilets, and a 220-square metre basement with its own wine cellar.
With two caretakers’ homes on the grounds of the property, it has a total of 12 bedrooms and eight bathrooms. Such a special property comes with an equally distinctive price tag. It is on the market for €48 million (Dh196m). This may seem steep to some, but is less than the €75m it was reportedly marketed for two years ago.
q&a access to the high life
The Emile Garcin Real Estate Group tells us more about the chateau:
What’s so special about Le Chateau Malet?
Homes of this stature only come onto the market “very, very rarely”. The property’s size and its location are key selling points. There are few properties with 1,000 square metres of space on a 14-acre site that is just five minutes away from Monaco. The diplomat who built it hosted members of royal families from several European countries, including Britain’s Queen Victoria and King Edward VII.
What about security?
The site is fully fenced off. There is a videophone entry system and electric gates.
What about the area?
Cap D’Ail has a beach, coastal walks and woods to explore, but Monaco is the star attraction. Some of the world’s most spectacular yachts are moored in its harbour, and there are palaces, cathedrals and an old town to explore. The principality is also a petrolhead’s dream. The highlight is the most famous event on the F1 GP Championship, the Monaco Grand Prix. But there is also a historic grand prix event for classic cars, the Monte Carlo Rally in January.
How accessible is it?
If you are in a rush to attend to business back home, private jets can be arranged from Monte Carlo. The nearest commercial airport is Nice International, which is 25 minutes away by road – or six minutes by helicopter transfer. Emirates flies directly to Nice from Dubai International Airport.
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