Why Travelers Are Booking Private Chateaux for the Paris 2024 Olympics – Robb Report

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Hidden among 12 acres of private woodland 35 minutes from the center of Paris, Château Bouffément is filled with five Napoléonic-era reception spaces, a sweeping horseshoe staircase, manicured lawns, and a mirror lake. 

Built in the 19th-century with nine guest rooms over four floors, a speakeasy-style bar, and a ballroom, it’s a favorite wedding destination over the summer months. But this year’s crop of brides will have had to look for a fairytale castle elsewhere.

“We have a family of 10 taking over the château for 10 days,” Château Bouffément’s managing director, Sarp Gogebakan, tells Robb Report. The family, he says, will be arriving with an entourage of chefs, drivers, security, and assistants for the Summer Olympic Games. 

“They have tickets for three days of events, other than that they have various activities in and around Paris planned,” says Gogebakan.

A doorway at Château Bouffément

Château Bouffément has space for family and extensive staff.

Courtesy of Château Bouffément

Paris 2024 presents what ultra-high-net-worth individual (UHNWI) “fixer” Thomas Staunton calls château buyouts a “unique accommodation opportunity” during the event—one that’s already drawing the world’s big fish away from Paris’s best hotels and into the countryside.

 “We have a few clients who prefer to pop in and out of château properties rather than stay in Paris itself,” says Staunton, an ex-superyacht crew member turned CEO of SoldOut Events. “That way they can invite larger groups of friends and family for a unique experience.”

As it stands, Staunton has personally inspected and confirmed four exclusive-use castle bookings for UHNWI clients flying in for the games from around the world. “The appeal of the château is absolute privacy and the ability to bring in existing house staff, chefs, butlers, and the like because there is space for it,” he explains. 

The price is right, too. Suites at five-star hotels in the center of Paris command five-figure nightly sums, even outside of Olympic periods. The Royal Monceau Suite at Le Royal Monceau Raffles Paris, for instance, has a price tag of $27,000 a night during the games. In comparison, taking over your own French château can seem like a steal: Château Bouffément’s nightly exclusive use rate is $9,300 in high season.

A helicopter at Château de Villette

You might recognize the easily accessible Château de Villette from “The Da Vinci Code.”

Courtesy of Château de Villette

They also don’t want to be jammed into the chaos of central Paris, since they are mostly targeting particular events.

“These are people who sail or ride horses or play golf or tennis, coming to Paris for their passion sport,” Staunton says.

That’s why a Korean family booked six nights at Château de Méridon, southwest of Paris. They’re coming to town to support their national archery team. At Château de Versailles, an American family is traveling for equestrian events.

“One of the families was eying Le Royal Monceau or Le Bristol, but decided to stay with us because we’re surrounded by greenery,” says Château de Versailles co-owner and managing director Jehanne Bosco. “They’re able to avoid the hassle of Paris yet are only 22 miles away.”

One of the groups coming for the Olympics found the $71,000-a-week property via Instagram. They were wowed by the Art Deco styling of the newly refurbished castle that once stood at the heart of the wildlife reserve of French King Louis XV. 

“We’re like a Parisian palace [a status awarded to exceptional French hotels], but people can enjoy the grounds, breathe in fresh air, and discover the rural side of France here, too,” Bosco says.

Some of the world’s top athletes are also eschewing Paris, and the traditional stay at the athletes’ village, for a château stay. A 45-minute drive from Paris, Château de Farcheville has a one month booking for one American Olympian and their entourage of around 25. The athlete was so sure of their participation that they made the reservation two years ago, property owner Conny Carlsson says.

Surrounded by a deep moat, the 13th-century castle promises total seclusion with all the trimmings including a swimming pool, a tennis court, and a spa and fitness center. 

The exterior of Château de Méridon

Château de Méridon is one of the event’s hottest bookings.

Courtesy of Château de Méridon

“It’s quite a big place but it’s intimate at the same time. When we close the gates, it’s like nobody can touch you in here,” Carlsson explains.

But getting one for yourself ahead of the games won’t be easy. It’s estimated that there are 500-plus châteaux in the Île-de-France region surrounding Paris, although some are ruined, while others are museums or private homes. And only a small percentage of what’s on the luxury rental market actually tick the boxes for the likes of Staunton’s clientele: swimming pool, helipad to fly in and out of Paris, and separate accommodation for staff. 

Still, not every gold medal worthy property has been snapped up. Just 40 minutes from the Champs Elysées, Château de Villette was finished by the same architect as the Château de Versailles and served as a location in 2006’s The Da Vinci Code.

A hall at Château Bouffément

Château Bouffémont poses the question: “Why rent a suite when you could have the whole hotel?”

Fabrice Rambert

“The Château has seven luxurious suites and regularly hosts events and A-listers as they seek respite close to Paris,” says Madison Littlejohn of luxury real estate agents Carlton International. 

John Travolta, Tom Cruise, and Lenny Kravitz are just some of those who have stayed at the property which is, at the time of publication, still available for the entire Olympic period at a cost of $76,000 a night. Both Château Bouffémont and Château de Méridon are also showing availability for dates in early August. Talk about historic wins.

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