Château du Puy – authentic living !

This informative website is dedicated to the Château du Puy castle in Tourrettes in the Var department of the so-called Pays de Fayence, nearby major cities of Cannes and Fréjus at the French Riviera.  The castle is a 40 minutes drive away from the International Airport of Nice

When arriving the “Pays de Fayence” via the “St Cassien lake”, you soon see appear on the top of the hills of Tourrettes appear an impressive castle: the Chateau du Puy. This place with an atypical architectural design is a mysterious 19th-century castle on the top of the hills (some 300 meters above sea levels) of Tourrettes in the midst of the stunning Pays de Fayence region of Provence, close to the French Rivièra (Côte d’Azur).

Just to be clear. Tourrettes is not to be confused with the village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup in the nearby Alpes-Maritimes in the Nice vicinity. Tourrettes has also nothing to do with the “Tourrette syndrome“, causing people to have “tics”.

This atypical architecture design castle is a mysterious 19th-century castle on the top of the hills (some 300 meters above sea levels) of Tourrettes in the midst of the stunning Pays de Fayence region of Provence, close to the French Rivièra (Côte d’Azur).

The castle (former names: Château Général Fabre and Château Mon Plaisir as the General used to call it) enjoys direct and wide views over the whole valley.

There is no better place to view the nearby luxury Golf Resort “Terre Blanche” and the world-famous soaring airfield of Fayence-Tourrettes (LFMF) just down the hill.  Few people know, but Sean Connery (the first actor to portray fictional British secret agent James Bond on film) used to have a property where nowadays the Terre Blanch Golf Resort of Dietmar Hopp is located, both perfect viewable from the Château du Puy.

When the silent gliders return in the eevening hours from adventure flying in the Southern Alps, they literally turn into downwind in front of the castle. Spectacular views guaranteed. Several actual and past co-owners of the castle are aviation enthusiasts or pilots themselves as they have direct views from their apartments of the airfield.

This French Château was built by Napoleon’s General Alexandre Fabre, a military engineer who served under Napoleon.

until Fabre entered the Paris École polytechnique in 1801. He completed two courses in mathematics and technical drawing and was then referred to the École nationale des ponts et chaussées, which he graduated with honors in 1805. He then worked as an engineer for the general inspector of traffic routes. [1]

When Alexander I was planning to set up an institute for traffic engineering in St. Petersburg, Napoleon I recommended the engineers Pierre-Dominique Bazaine, Fabre, Maurice Destrem and Charles Michel Potier to him at the meeting in Erfurt in 1809. The four engineers were then invited to St. Petersburg. In July 1810, Fabre entered Russian service and became Podpolkownik in the Transport Engineer Corps on a salary twice that of his salary in France. He was immediately transferred to the reserve and appointed professor of applied mathematics at the Institute of the Transport Engineering Corps that had just been founded. In addition, he was responsible for the canal construction at the St. Petersburg Governor General. [1] [2]

At the beginning of the Franco-Russian War in 1812, Fabre, like the other three French engineers, was exiled to Yaroslavl, Poschechonje and finally Irkutsk on a simple salary. In view of Fabr’s precarious situation, at the request of the Irkutsk administration, he was again granted double his salary. [1]

In 1815 after the war, Fabre was able to return to St. Petersburg, where he accepted Russian citizenship. In the same year he was transferred to the fourth traffic route district. Then he carried out the projects for the construction of the ports of Taganrog and Mariupol and also the leveling of the Manych river. He became a member of a St. Petersburg Masonic Lodge. [3] In 1818 he was sent to Moscow to hang four bells in the Ivan the Great bell tower. In 1820 he was promoted to major general. In 1827 he became a member of the Council for Military Settlements of the Imperial General Staff. In 1831 he was transferred to the engineering corps of the military settlements. In 1833 he was dismissed from service due to illness. [

The French emperor sent Alexandre Fabre as a young officer to Russia where he spent most of his military career as a civil engineer in Russia, building major military buildings throughout the country and in the remote areas. He became notorious in Russia , but was also sent to Siberia when his French emperor attacked the Russian Czar. After the defeat of Napoleon, he was rehabilitated by the Czar and retired some years later from Russia, returning to his native village Tourrettes in the Var with the Russian title “General of Engineers”. As a notorious Russian art collector, his plan was to built a palace-museum for his art collection. He boldly started with the construction of Château du Puy as a copy of a military school in Russia,  but his castle project was never finalized as he passed away.

After he passed away some 200 years ago, the place became a ruin,  and the bricks of the castle were used by the locals to built their houses with. The ruins of the castle became a playground for the children in nearby villages. Very sad ending, especially given the unique and atypical architecture of the place.

The Brussels lawyer Georges Hermans, who lived in Waterloo, learned about this magical place and started in the 1960’s to rebuild the castle. He realised his dream and managed to finalize the work of the 19th century Général Fabre. At it is a huge place, he decided to make a condominium out of it. The renovation took more than a decade and by the early 1970’s all the apartments were ready. The village of Tourrettes named the road to the castle after him, it is called “Avenue Georges Hermans”. Today, some descendants of Georges Hermans still own an apartment in the castle. Great story !

The castle is nowadays a privately owned condominium, whereby individual apartments are often passed on from generation to generation. There are some 20 private individual co-owners and some more apartments.  The castle as such can not be visited. It is not a museum but a place where private people are living.
If you like to live yourself in the castle (frankly, who wouldn’t), know that there are finally several apartments for sale these days (anno late 2020) at very reasonable prices with the local real estate agencies. It is an inspirational hideaway for living, writing a book, relaxing, remote working, especially in this Covid-19 era. The castle is however not a retirement home, neither hospital nor fire station as some websites wrongly mentioned. None of these, just a condominium occupied by private persons – of all ages – who love an easy lifestyle and enjoying authentic living. Several co-owners occasionally rent out their apartments as well on a weekly basis in high season.

The Château du Puy is a secluded space and enjoys absolutely stunning views of the whole Pays de Fayence. The landscape is every morning when you wake up so different. The sea influence is felt until Tourrettes, the reason why it is most of the time sunny with very clear skies. The Northern Mistral winds are most of the time quite weakened when they reach the castle. They however blow the clouds from the skies, it is a light therapy some say. The swimming pool and its sun deck of the castle are a popular place in the summertime but can only be visited by the co-owners and their guests.

The mountain villages of the Pays de Fayence offer a vibrant cultural life, there’s even a movie theater in nearby Fayence. The villages of Fayence and Tourrettes are at 5 to 7 minutes’ walking distance. You’ll find all kinds of amenities here, from fresh butter croissants to great expresso. I often tend to enjoy breakfast in Fayence. Simply, a perfect place to enjoy the French living. On Tuesday, Thursday, and especially Saturday, there’s a vibrant Provencal market at Fayence. The old village of Tourrettes is unique in its kind. In recent years, it flourishes more and more around the town hall where you find two nice restaurants. In the summertime, there’s at least once a week a band with live music Good vibes, I love to go there

Enjoy our social media links with plenty of pictures on Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter, and add your own unique pictures of the castle to your favorite social media links. There is a safe public parking in front of the castle – with always places available.

Any questions: just drop us an email and maybe we will get sooner or later back to you.

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In 2011, the Sodermans family became a co-owner of the Chateau du Puy in Tourrettes and began the painstaking process of restoring several units of the castle to their original splendour. Together with a local team of craftsmen, the Sodermans continue to restore, preserve, and protect this valuable piece of French history.

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