PHOTO: The French chateau for sale for… €425 million

The listing price is the highest ever for a property in France

The chateau once belonged to the King of Morocco and has more than 100 rooms, stables, a hair salon, a pharmacy, and winter gardens

A chateau in northern France that once belonged to the King of Morocco is on sale for €425 million, the highest price ever listed for a property in the country.

The Château de Gretz-Armainvilliers is in Seine-et-Marne (Ile-de-France) and dates back to the 19th century, when it was built by the Rothschild family in an Anglo-Norman style.

It has 109 rooms, 2,500m2 of living space, and 17 bedrooms. It also comes with a stable block large enough for 50 horses, 1,000 hectares of land, and a 1km-long lake.

It previously belonged to King Hassan II, the father of King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

The property and possible interested parties are unsurprisingly shrouded in mystery, but Ignace Meuwissen, the independent Belgian estate agent based in Switzerland - who is selling the chateau - told Paris Match that the King had made many updates in a Moroccan palace style.

This includes the creation of European and Moroccan kitchens, reception and hunting rooms, several lifts (elevators), five sitting rooms, winter gardens, a hairdressing salon, and a large medical complex with a dental clinic, pharmacy, analysis laboratory, and examination room. 

There are also food storage rooms, cold pantries, and a network of underground ‘delivery’ tunnels so that the functioning of the house does not disturb the residents.

Mr Meuwissen - who only sells properties starting at €10 million and up - was reportedly involved in a “discreet sale” of the chateau by the Moroccan royal family for €200 million, to an unknown buyer "from the Middle East”, in 2008.

‘Totally unrealistic’ price point

Even in Ile-de-France, where luxury properties abound, the price tag is incredibly high. The top end of this market usually hovers around €15 million; this chateau is listed for 28 times’ that.

Stéphane Aguiraud, chairman of Groupe Mercure, a network specialising in the sale of chateaux, said that the land could be a major reason for the price tag. “It may attract some very wealthy individuals [who] wish to be completely isolated,” he told Le Figaro Immobilier.

But three other estate agents, who wished to remain anonymous, said the price was “totally unrealistic”. One said that they had been approached about the property two years ago, at a lower price, and had still turned it away for being non-viable.

Another said that it “doesn't make sense, it's absurd", while yet another said that “properties of this type would typically go for €20-25 million, or even €30 million” maximum.

The Chateau Vaux-le-Vicomte, Ile-de-France

One said that he “is not even sure that Vaux-le-Vicomte (pictured, above), which is not subject to any plans to sell, would go for this price”. Vaux-le-Vicomte is a famous and impressive Baroque chateau with landscaped gardens, also located in Seine-et-Marne.

Another expert said that “if a transaction were concluded at these price levels, I can imagine that the SAFER (rural land finance company la Société d'aménagement foncier et d'établissement rural) would take a close look at the transaction, believing that it would overvalue the land". 

In recent years, another similar estate nearby went on sale for a high price, that was still nowhere near this asking price, and was forced to accept far less as a result of SAFER investigations.