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Monasteries and Abbeys for sale: France gives new meaning to “living like a monk”
The Abbey of Pontlevoy in Loir-et-Cher did not find any takers at an auction organized in late December. Now no one knows what will become of the building – common trend for religious buildings looking for buyers, and a lot of questions arise.
Built in 1034, the Abbey of Pontlevoy has 8,900 square meters of living space and 6 hectares of land. Its only occupants are the animals abandoned by the former manager of the premises. For several years, it has welcomed study abroad students from Mississippi and the many attendees of the Classical Music Festival of Pontlevoy. Despite its price being cut down by half, the Abbey of Pontlevoy did not find any takers at 1 million euros on December 26. Seized by an American businessman, it is now in the hands of the bank HSBC.
The perfect second home?
Despite the help of local authorities, major renovation work remains to be done and the abbey is still looking for a buyer, like many others in the region. About 40 kilometers away, a 13th century priory has been for sale for over 6months.
Made up of three rooms with a kitchen on the upper level and a chapterhouse on the ground floor, the asking price has been reduced to € 380,000. But according to Patrice Besse, an agency that specializes in the sale of old properties, the abbey cannot be lived in like a classic second home. The property must be used in relation to the land, and for only certain kinds of projects: “we must use them for either a cultural or a commercial activity if possible”, he says.
An unknown future
For Pontlevoy, it is most likely going to be a luxury hotel project that will give the thousand-year-old abbey a new purpose.
France is strewn with monasteries and abbeys dating back to the Middle Ages. Despite their beauty and history, many are in some state of ruin and even the ones that are intact remain largely empty. Important but underappreciated monuments, monasteries and abbeys such as the one in Pontlevoy are seeking buyers to preserve them. About a dozen important religious buildings are on the property market in France today.
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Source: France 3