€15m buys Provence gem

What is said to be the oldest chateau in Provence – the 11-century, 5,000m2 Château de la Barben – is for sale for an asking price of €15million.

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Prospective buyers have started visits through Sotheby’s International Realty to view the 60 rooms with frescoes, hand-painted ceilings and antique silk wallpaper. The 10,000m2 gardens were designed by André Le Nôtre and its tower has views over the Vallon de Maurel and to the Provençal hills. The sale also includes 307 hectares of grounds at the Bouches-du-Rhône site.

But, locally, there are fears that a private sale will damage businesses in nearby Salon-de-Provence because the chateau draws up to 30,000 visitors a year. Built as a fortress in 1064, it has since 1963 been at once a home, B&B and tourist site.