dreamy living in the south of france

by Sharon Santoni
Here is the story of a most remarkable 18th century château saved from dereliction by a young couple with loads of energy and great ideas.
The Château Margüi in the South of France was discovered by its present owners, Philippe and Marie: it had been abandoned for half a century and was without heating, without mains water and with ceilings collapsing while the grounds were disappearing behind a  forest of unkempt undergrowth.
Over ten years they have not only renovated the château to create a stunning family home,  but they have also renovated the extensive vineyards, and today produce an outstanding, organic wine.
On the ground floor of the chateau, they ripped out walls and inserted huge windows to create a large, kitchen, dining, living area with a very contemporary feel.
Elsewhere on the ground floor they have created another large space dedicated to music.

Upstairs, there are large, sparsely furnished rooms for the whole family, (they have five young children) that remain beautifully in keeping with the spirit of the Provençal château.

It would be many people’s dream to raise a young family on a property like this, and I love the way they have kept the interior very down to earth and approachable , rather than filling the chateau with priceless antiques.

This view over the rooftops of the property give a feel for the typical south french forest or maquis, that surrounds the château Margüi

If you would like to try their wines you can find all the information here

Photos thanks to Art & Decoration magazine



Atelier BE October 23, 2012 - 10:07 am

What an extraordinary place to grow up! Such fortunate children!

a breath of fresh air October 23, 2012 - 10:29 am

Gorgeous, thankyou for sharing their story and a wine to try too 🙂

Magnolia Verandah October 23, 2012 - 11:02 am

I am so glad they have lots of children, children deserve to live in such a beautiful place.

Pamela RG October 23, 2012 - 12:49 pm

So beautiful. Amazing that they renovated the place so stylish and comfortable. I love the statues outside the garden. Those wines must be delicious. I am definitely dreaming now.

The enchanted home October 23, 2012 - 12:49 pm

This story and pictures literally gave me goosebumps, good ones! What an amazing and beautiful journey….I wish they could make a movie about it so I could see it start to finish, it is spectacular!!!!!! What fun to see someone live out a dream I know so many of us have:)

Belle Inspiration Magazine October 23, 2012 - 1:39 pm

Always a pleasure when someone takes the time, moeny and very hard work to renovate a piece of history and make it sing again! My childhood was spent helping with renovations projects and continue to this day!
Thanks for sharing,

Carla Coulson October 23, 2012 - 2:29 pm

Wonderful story Sharon makes me feel lazy 5 children a huge renovation project AND their own vineyard producing wine!! Such a beautiful renovation to the Chateau and what a magical child hood their children are and will be having..
Carla x

Shabbyfufu October 23, 2012 - 3:05 pm

Recently discovered you and adore this home….thank you for showing it!

ShantyGirl October 23, 2012 - 3:11 pm

I love this home! The feminine colors against the stone is amazing! Thanks for sharing!

Sarah Malone, European Farmhouse Charm October 23, 2012 - 3:51 pm

Love this Sharon! That kitchen is beautiful…I must show Tom that stone sink!
We have a project next year, an outdoor summer house, and I want a really unique sink, he also might like this wine, lol…some of the french wine he liked when we visited we can't buy in the U.S:(.
XO, Sarah

vitadrömmarobusigabarn October 23, 2012 - 5:20 pm

Underbart vackert så fina bilder
kram tina

Kristie Franklin October 23, 2012 - 5:23 pm

Oh my, this a dream home and one I'd give anything to live in or even visit! HAH Simple, charming, and beautifully decorated…it fits all my criteria for a great home. 🙂

Amelia October 23, 2012 - 7:19 pm

If I have the inkling, the money and a derelict chateau to renovate and restore, this is how I dream of doing it. This place goes straight to my heart and mind.

Thanks for showing this place Sharon. Chateau Margui is gorgeous. Add on a viable and productive vineyard and life can't get any better than that.

The Blue Farmhouse October 23, 2012 - 7:31 pm

Energy time and you forgot to mention "money"! But it's beautiful and I enjoyed reading and dreaming.

PURA VIDA October 23, 2012 - 8:20 pm

oh wow…this is an amazing area!

Ofelia Bertrand October 23, 2012 - 9:02 pm

The place is amazing! 500 years since the last tenant, and it’s still beautiful. I have seen worse places fall into disrepair and only for it to come alive again. I think that a house is only “alive” when there are people living in it, and “dies” when it is abandoned. I love how the place came alive. The tenants really did a good job fixing the place up.

Yvonne @ StoneGable October 24, 2012 - 12:44 am

Thanks you for the beautiful field trip! What a gorgeous chateau! I love the very European stairs!!! What a work of art!

Lorrie Orr October 24, 2012 - 1:28 am

A really stunning home. Love the light and openness.

Vicki October 24, 2012 - 3:00 am

When people restore/renovate an old place, I almost feel as if they deserve a medal for saving it for the rest of us, even if we only see it once in our lifetime on a drive-by weekend outing. I've lived where beautiful, vintage homes and buildings have been torn down with absolutely no nod to the past, although it's better in these times than perhaps 40 years ago. It takes a lot of money, ALOT OF IT, and usual triple-times the budget so, unless one has wealth, a good part of the time restorations simply don't occur. If you're young and a do-it-yourselfer, you probably don't have the financial means yet (energy, brawn, ambition…but not nearly enough cash!).

Anyway, it's lovely to see the transformation of such a beautiful property. I have equally enjoyed reading the little bit we know about the actors Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie restoring the grand Chateau Miraval in the south of France. Brad Pitt is a big architectural enthusiast and some of the better rags say he is carefully rebuilding ancient stone walls/terraces, improving the vineyards…and I think the former owner is quite ecstatic with the dedication he's seen in his buyer.

I have previously worked for a pioneering family in my area, with nearly 200 years of land ownership (somewhat uncommon in the relatively "new" coastal-West of the U.S., which was among the last lands to be settled and developed in America). I have watched the succeeding generations gradually sell off the land and abandon the gracious homes of their ancestors and, frankly, I think it's sacrilege. One of the homes is in disrepair but, thankfully, the most signature of the homes has been bought by a wealthy woman who has kept it up respectfully and decorated it sumptuously, befitting its grand past. I was able to tour it and felt very relieved it had been saved…including the grounds, despite a majority of the acreage divided and sold off. There is another related home (cousins)…large, mid-19th century…which is an exception to the sacrilege, and I almost feel proud to say that a former classmate of mine is the new owner…and this is his great-great grandparents' home to which he has undertaken a massive renovation, it's almost done and looks better than ever after being a bit of an eyesore for my entire adult life (I actually thought it abandoned in the past 25 years, having no idea he had an elderly relative living there; it looked empty!). He plans to live in it. It has a tall and unusual barn with a steeple barn; the house is a registered historical landmark, and she's looking as good as new.

We have to protect our history of a place. We have to know from what we've come. We just can't erase our past and the people who lived here first, who worked the land and made the small towns…creating a place for the rest of us who followed. My opinion is that we have to try to save what we can; it's living history, after all. If kids can know about a place, see where and how people lived, what they did to survive and thrive, it makes them feel part of something bigger.

Pat October 24, 2012 - 6:08 am

So true! I hate to see our old and historic homes give way to McMansions, or worse to condos and parking lots. It's all about the money. So, do those French folks want to adopt another slightly older kid?

Anonymous October 24, 2012 - 6:19 am

Hi Sharon, this is a beautiful story and I am glad that the building has been rejuvenated and given another chance to live again 🙂 I have been wondering, and forgive me if I am naive when it comes to this, but why are there so many abandoned chateaus/homes in France and Italy? Are the French/Italians not interested in renovating them? If you could please shed some light on this for me. If I lived in one of these countries, I would love to live in one of these beautiful stone houses and yet they seem to sit abandoned, scattered all over the countryside. Thanks Kindly, Michelle 🙂

noreen October 24, 2012 - 9:18 am

What a beautiful love story. If you have the passion and drive, anything is possible.
Thanks for sharing these lovely images.

Nell October 24, 2012 - 9:42 am

Merci pour cette belle visite qui me rappelle que j'habite un pays merveilleux

sofia marielle October 24, 2012 - 1:03 pm

This house was amazing. I like the color combination in every area of the house.

Sofia of philippines properties

lissyparkerltd October 24, 2012 - 1:18 pm

This charming home is so warm and welcoming. I love the casual approach to the decor and the color scheme is so soothing. How wonderful that they are raising five children and make wine. Ahhhh warm friendly France.
xo, Lissy Parker

April Lane October 24, 2012 - 3:36 pm

So lovely and what an excellent investment of time, energy, love and passion. A real dream come true. I agree with the other comment that a movie about the process would be fun, rather like A Year in Provence…or several years!

LA CONTESSA October 24, 2012 - 4:36 pm

THAT Is my kind of home!My first thought was "WOW< They have loads of money!"My second thought was all white with FIVE kids.........GOT GOOD HELP!Then I read the VICKI comment and GOT IT!Just beautiful what they have done............wish I could save another!

Nancy October 24, 2012 - 4:40 pm

What a lovely story and such a beautiful home in a beautiful setting!
Thanks so much Sharon.

Carmen Lourdes October 24, 2012 - 5:02 pm

I love the chateau! How elegant, beautiful and cozy it is!…and all at the same time. The grounds are gorgeous as well. It is an excellent restauration.

peggy braswell October 24, 2012 - 5:32 pm

I am drolling + stunning. Blessings on the owners + their children. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

Enlightenment October 25, 2012 - 1:52 pm

very nice pics

Tyrone Speelman November 5, 2012 - 9:57 pm

“It would be many people's dream to raise a young family on a property like this, and I love the way they have kept the interior very down to earth and approachable , rather than filling the chateau with priceless antiques.” Exactly! From the outside, it looks like a fairy tale-like home, but inside, they incorporated some modern pieces. Anyway, the owners really did an excellent job! 🙂

Tyrone Speelman

Sell My House Fast Greenville July 22, 2023 - 3:52 pm

looking this very gorgeous we offer cash for selling home.


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