COURBEFY, the Haute-Vienne village being auctioned off for the price of a one-bedroomed Paris flat, goes on sale today.
The hamlet consists of 19 buildings, a swimming pool, stables and a tennis court and will be at a starting price of €330,000.
An American company specialising in animal and countryside photos has put in an offer at the asking price, though others interested will be free to make higher bids.
A number of other well-off buyers are expected to attend the sale at the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Limoges. For example, Belgian investors want to use the village as a centre for disabled adults and plan to spend about €3.5 million renovating it. A Dutch TV company wants to use it for a reality show where contestants would do it up and a Lebanese lawyer has asked on behalf of his clients if it would be possible to have permission for a helipad (the answer was yes).
The sale attracted world-round interest after the village found no buyers at a first-round sale, where it was offered for €300,000.
On that occasion the auction room was almost empty, with just a few locals having turned up.
Since then the local mairie and the lawyers in charge of the sale have been besieged by interest from around the world. “It was totally irrational, totally unbelievable,” the lawyer for owners Credit Agricole bank, Paul Gérardin, told Le Parisien.
The Connexion website received thousands of hits for the story – which was shared round the world and featured in The Huffington Post.
Abandoned once villagers left, an attempt was made to run Courbefy as a hotel and restaurant complex, but Crédit Agricole put it on sale in bankruptcy proceedings.