Chateau Livarot, Calvados, Normandy, France

The London Times recently ran a story: "Hundreds of French chateaux for sale as owners cut and run." They say it's due to environmental rules, bureaucratic initiatives, and the fact that younger generations don't have an interest in maintaining monuments. 

So, of course I had to go and find us a monumental French chateau for sale, and landed on "Castle Livarot" in Normandy, with its own 16th century dovecote (or pigeonnier).

Inside the house, some of the rooms look like you would expect, with oak beams and massive stone fireplaces.

Some of the rooms look almost like what you'd expect, with parquet floors and windows that swing inward.

And some of the rooms are not at all what you would expect...

I get that this design is tongue-in-cheek, and that the laminate floors are probably covering damage, but still. This room is an acquired taste. (I try not to be judgmental, but I saved this one as hotpinkmess.jpg.)

If it were mine, this room would be whimsical in a more castle-y way:

To quote designer and former chateau owner Timothy Corrigan, it needs to have a little "decadence and elegance." Which brings us to the kitchen, which has neither.

At first I thought it just needed a few little fixes, like this...

...but then I thought about decadence and elegance and found this to inspire us instead:

{source unknown}

The listing doesn't show any more interior photos, but the house has 11 rooms, 6 of which are bedrooms, in 450 square meters, or 4,844 square feet.

Here are the exterior photos, and can I just say how much I love this effect of the little house nestled into the big house?

This "outbuilding" is pretty incredible, too:

In researching Livarot (officially Livarot-Pays-d'Auge)  and Calvados I found another half brick, half-timbered, round dovecote like at our chateau, about 7.5 kilometers away. Here we can see what a marvel of construction it is:

It's at Bellou Manor, a tourist attraction:

You can stay there overnight and admire the 15th and 16th century architecture up close. By the way, there's also a similar dovecote at the remains of the similarly named 15th century Bellaux Manor in England. Coincidence?

This might make you think that doves must be the most notable thing about Livarot, but no, it's cheese.

Livarot cheese "dates back to the 13th century (and smells as if it does)...." It was first made by monks with milk from Normandy cows. 

I can only imagine the environmental rules, bureaucratic initiatives, and the monumental costs of either making Livarot cheese or maintaining a 16th century dovecote, but if you're up for the challenge, the listing is here.

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