November 30, 2010
Le Preverger, La Garde-Freinet, St Tropez 1
Le Preverger, La Garde-Freinet, St Tropez 2
Le Preverger, La Garde-Freinet, St Tropez 3
Le Preverger, La Garde-Freinet, St Tropez 4
Le Preverger, La Garde-Freinet, St Tropez 5
Le Preverger, La Garde-Freinet, St Tropez 6
Le Preverger, La Garde-Freinet, St Tropez
The luxury estate home belonging to the late British designer Laura Ashley, in the village of La Garde-Freinet near Saint Tropez on the French Riviera, is on the market for 9.9 million euros.
The pre-Napoleonic mansion, known as Le Preverger, is set on a 150 acre plot and was bought by Laura Ashley and her husband as a holiday home in 1982 from the French actress Jeanne Mareau.
St Tropez became internationally renowned in the 1950s, partly because of Bridget Bardot and her love-affair with the glamorous French Riviera town. It is now considered a playground for the rich a famous, many of whom endeavour to buy property in this fascinatingly opulent French resort – an ambition that was certainly high on the agenda of the late Laura Ashley. According to Mrs Ashley’s son, Nick Ashley, his parents had promised to “work like hell” when they first started out their business ventures, in order to buy their perfect property on the French Riviera.
“My mother’s love affair with Province goes back to 1949, when she came here on her honeymoon on the back of my father’s motorcycle. They vowed to work like hell, become successful and buy their dream home in St Tropez.”
Laura Ashley, whose career started from humble beginnings in Carno, Wales and grew into one of the most illustrious and successful designers of all time, boasting more than 5,000 retail outlets across the globe, has always been inclined to start trends and cause flocks to follow like sheep. Whilst Bridget Bardot may have been the precursor in generating the St Tropez the world knows today, dripping in glamour, glitz and wealth, Laura Ashley’s luxury French farmhouse saw the biggest superstars on the contemporary worldwide stage flock to Le Preverger’s peripheries. A neighbour of the Ashley’s farmhouse is said to be no other than the Hollywood superstar Jonny Depp himself. Regular guests to the Ashley’s French Riviera ranch were Princess Diana and Baroness Thatcher.
“My father used to fly her (Baroness Thatcher) around in his helicopter – not that he was a Thatcherite, he just admired the woman,” says Nick Ashley.
With connections such as Princess Diana sipping tea in the gardens, Margaret Thatcher buzzing around the grounds on a helicopter and Jonny Depp as a neighbour, the question remains, “which megastar will end up buying the pre-Napoleonic mansion? And will they choose to redecorate?