With seven wins, including Best Drama Series, The Crown has been the talk of the town since the Emmy’s a few weeks back. Having almost no interest in British royals—sorry, your Majesty—I haven’t seen The Crown.
While I may not delight in stories of 20th-century kings and queens, I do enjoy a good period piece—the extravagant costumes, antique technology and bygone settings. When successful, these TV shows and films transport the viewer to a different time and place and give them a glimpse into the lives of generations long gone.
Period pieces that center around the lives of the aristocracy transport the viewer back to a period of decadence. A time when the wealthy built their homes with extreme ornamentation and when dukes and duchesses lived their lives in manors outfitted with the grandest of details.
For those of us in the United States, these 17th and 18th-century castles are all but non-existent. However, in Europe, they are plentiful and often found on the market.
Owning a castle is the ultimate fantasy, which is why I’m staying in one fit for a king for this week’s real estate reverie.
17th-Century Castle in Central France
As the king of my very own French castle, I rise early and look out my window to gaze upon my kingdom—a kingdom that includes 50 hectares of land overlooking a valley with a stunning view of the Chaine des Puys, a stretch of green cinder cones and maars.
It is autumn in central France, and the morning air is crisp as I walk through the forest to a small chapel built on the grounds. The property has been classified l’Inventaire Supplémentaire des Monuments Historiques (ISMH), meaning it is of regional importance and thus protected. Being a just and fair king, I allow guests onto my property to enjoy the beauty of the chapel.
Back at the castle, I take my breakfast in the dining room. The ornamental moldings on the walls and ceiling, the large paintings and statues on display and the Louis XVI furniture transport me back centuries to a time of French Baroque elegance.
Like Marcus Aurelius, I spend most of my day amongst my books (fortunately, the library at my castle is spectacular). Filled with a collection of 60,000 books that stretch across two stories, the library is any scholar’s haven.
Only 20 minutes from Clermont-Ferrand, one of the oldest cities in France, I hop in the car and drive into town. I stroll about and marvel at the ornate fountains, statues and cathedrals, some of which date as far back as the 10th-century.
Chateau in Southwest of France
Being a king is exhausting, so I leave my castle and head south for a little rest at my chateau in Pays de Belves.
With 188 hectares of land, there is ample room for me to walk through the meadows, forests and lakesides and clear my head.
If I don’t feel like walking, I can ride one of my world-class horses, as there are stables on the property. Other outbuildings include a farmhouse, caretaker’s house and an ancient priory.
There are eight bedrooms total at the chateau, which means I have plenty of room for guests to join me in my relaxation.
During the day, we ride horses and play lawn games in one of the many sprawling fields. At night we sit in one of the six lounge rooms and discuss art and philosophy as there is a strict no politics at the country home—save that kind of talk for the castle.