To enjoy the genteel life in bucolic northern France, it’s hard to beat a chateau with a moat.
This 18th-century example sits near the city of Valenciennes, close to the border with Belgium. While known for the making of lace and as a cultural center that produced noted artists and architects, the region has the war-torn history of being a battleground. Much of the town was destroyed during both World Wars and since rebuilt.
So too, this castle-like residence underwent its own rebirth with a massive five-year renovation completed in 2013. The result is a restored 1700s exterior enclosing contemporary interiors.
Set on 2.5 acres of lawn and mature trees, and adjoining 86 acres of forest, the red brick chateau is accessed by a driveway and walkways that span the moat. Keystones top the arched windows, while stone window frames continue the ornamentation.
Quoin stones adorn most of the structure’s corners, including the raised tower above the drive. Corbelled corner turrets are topped with conical roofs on one face of the house. Dormer windows bring light into the top story.
Beyond the double-height foyer is open-plan space that weds a sleek living area to the white-walled dining room. Off that is the kitchen with an island.
Tiered seating and dark walls give the home theater a modern vibe.
Perhaps the most surprising interior feature is the indoor lap pool. A wooden deck with lounge seating softens one end of the room. Large windows flood the space with natural light.
Also unexpected is the extensive wine cellar with stone walls, floor and ceiling.
Other living areas include a cloakroom, a snooker room, a home gym, a playroom, a study and a library.
An elevator shaft, complete with ready-to-install equipment, will serve the four levels of the 12,916 square feet of living space. Some 3,230 square feet on the second floor remain to be updated. There are four bedrooms and four bathrooms.
Among high-end amenities are an integrated sound system and a four-person spa.
Attractions in Valenciennes include the Musée Des Beaux-Arts, the stylish Centre Place d’Armes shopping mall and historic churches such as the 12th-century Église Saint-Géry, which is designated as a French national monument.
The city is served by the modern Tramway de Valenciennes. Lille Lesquin International Airport is about 24 miles away.