LUXURYCULTURE.COM - Chateau Gabriel

LUXURY NOW / POWERFUL EXPRESSIONS / CHATEAU GABRIEL

In anticipation of Christie's second epic auction of objets d'art from the estate of Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé, we take a rare tour of Château Gabriel, a sprawling, Proust-inspired estate in the idyllic seaside town of Deauville.

There’s a new lord of the stately 19th century manor that once belonged to the renowned French designer Yves Saint Laurent and his partner Pierre Bergé. In February, Russian tycoons Siman Povarenkin and Irina Povarenkina snapped up the elegant retreat for a cool 9.6 million euros. Set on 74 acres of verdant, private land, and overlooking the sea and the Seine estuary, the Château Gabriel is easily the most glamorous home surrounding the fashionable seaside resort of Deauville, Normandy.

Just a 45-minute helicopter ride from Paris (the estate boasts its own helipad and hangar), Château Gabriel was acquired by Saint Laurent and Bergé in the 1980s. The Napoleon III-style manor house was originally built in 1847 by a French architect for a wealthy American client. Saint Laurent and Bergé then spent the next three years restoring the estate with the help of French interior decorator Jacques Grange. Everything within the magnificent 9000-square-foot Anglo-Norman house is luxuriously crafted to perfection.

The sloping grounds of the paradisiacal estate, which are crossed by spring streams, also boast themed gardens, including a Japanese garden with a small brook, a walled garden, a colossal chess set featuring movable topiaries, a water-lily pond, a greenhouse, a magnificent, bountiful vegetable garden and direct access to the famous Deauville race course.

The park also houses a series of outbuildings, including a stunning, self-contained Russian-style dacha, which will surely appeal to the Povarenkins. Inspired by a trip to Russia taken by Saint Laurent, Bergé and Grange in 1987, the dacha is fabricated entirely from birchwood and is surrounded by a waterfall, a lake, a rose garden and an apple orchard. For Pierre Bergé, the dacha has always been a special place.

Yet, beyond the all of this, the real magic of Château Gabriel lies in its history. The French writer Marcel Proust, who once visited the estate, inspired much of the luxurious décor, as did the artist Claude Monet. The nine individually styled bedrooms are each named after characters from Proust’s “Remembrance of Things Past,” and the walls of the ground floor reception rooms are covered with white water-lily murals resembling the Monet’s famous paintings. Chateau Gabriel may be out of bounds, but on November 17 -18 art aficionados will once again get the chance to own a piece of the home’s celebrated story as treasures once belonging to the art-loving couple go under the hammer. The spirit of Yves Saint Laurent lives on within the chateau’s hallowed walls.

Related Articles

Saint Laurent and Bergé's Art Tour