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French fortress set for auction again after €900,000 bid falls through

A new auction is now due to take place in March with a starting price of €892,000

Fort Queyras, built in the 13th century, is perched on a hilltop in the commune of Château-Ville-Vieille in Hautes-Alpes Pic: Olivier Cochard-Labbé / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Fort Queyras in south-east France, which was once valued at €2m, is set to be sold by auction again next year after a series of previous sales fell through.

The imposing mountainside fortress in Hautes-Alpes has been bid for at auction several times but it will now be sold definitively on March 2, 2023, a judge has ruled.

The fortress was previously ‘sold’ at the beginning of November but the deal fell through after several investors outbid each other. This time, no other bids or offers will be accepted.

Fort Queyras, built in the 13th century and later remodelled by Vauban, is perched on a hilltop in the commune of Château-Ville-Vieille in Hautes-Alpes. It includes traditional ramparts, turrets, arrow slits, and dungeons; and is listed as an  historic monument.

  • 2009, 2015, 2018: Put on sale but no takers

  • 2019: Sale agreed but fell through due to the Covid pandemic

  • 2021: Fort Queyras is first offered at auction, and sold for €661,000 to the SCI Melma, based in Aix-en-Provence but the sale fell through after the company reportedly failed to pay within the prescribed period.

  • Early November 2022: The chateau is put back on sale, and bought by building trade entrepreneur Nicolas Chabrand for €811,000 after a starting price of €400,000

  • Mid-November 2022: A group of investors, BFM DICI, in the south of France, present a new offer, around 10% higher than the entrepreneur’s bid, for a total offer of around €893,000. This causes the sale to fall through.

  • March 2023: The fort is set to go on sale for the last time for approximately €892,000. If the same investors buy it, they plan to make it a “hotel, conference centre, wedding venue, or even an escape-room game centre”.

The investors say that if they are successful, they will make changes after consulting with local authorities to ensure that the plans work for the village. 

It is not clear if Mr Chabrand, who made the ‘winning’ bid in November, will bid again in March.

The sale of the chateau is being complicated by a commercial lease that runs until 2029. This blocks the new owner’s right to manage the fort until the lease runs out.

Authorities in Château-Ville-Vieille had wanted to open the building to the public but the commercial lease blocked this.

The fortress was previously owned by the army but was sold to private owners at the end of World War Two. 

It has been owned by the Marty family since 2001. It has been the subject of major online ‘hype’, with one valuation placing it for sale at €2.8million in 2019, but there were no takers.

The Marty family is now in financial trouble and a judge ordered the auction of their assets as part of a property seizure process.

Related articles 

Hautes-Alpes: Battle for €2m French fortress auctioned for €661k

Alpine fortress for sale on Le Bon Coin with keep, towers and drawbridges

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