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Inside Brigitte Bardot's Post-Divorce Retreat

 The iconic film star spent her summers at this Medieval castle following her divorce from Roger Vadim.

Le Castelet in the South of France

Famed as the summer getaway of global icon Brigitte Bardot after her divorce from film director Roger Vadim in 1957, Le Castelet was her retreat from the glare of celebrity. It has recently been listed for sale for EUR 5.95 million with an affiliate of Christie's International Real Estate.

Perched atop a 1.46-acre hill within walking distance to the quaint village of Peymeinade, the sweeping views of the Bay of Cannes with the Esterel Mountains beyond are breathtaking. 

Currently used as a boutique hotel, Le Castelet includes a main residence of 6,458 square feet with eight en suite bedrooms. The estate also includes a separate five-bedroom guest house, a hammam with multiple pools, a wine grotto, pool house, and vineyards, said Christie's.

Renowned for her natural beauty, Bardot was also admired as a powerful embodiment of female emancipation during the highly censored 1950s. This ultimately inspired Andy Warhol to paint her, feminist author Simone de Beauvoir to write about her ferocious independence and Winston Churchill to discuss his landscape paintings with her. As to the latter, the actress, notoriously unimpressed by her fame, replied to Mr. Churchill: “You know, my films are not nearly as good as your paintings. And I never won a war.” After starring in more than 40 films, including the enduring classic “And God Created Woman,” she retired from movies in 1973 to focus on her true passion — animal advocacy.

Le Castelet was completely renovated between 1998 and 2011 to include state-of-the-art appliances while still retaining its historic character. Interiors of the four-level main house are distinguished by a traditional round bastide tower added in the 1800s, rustic rough-hewn beams accenting the light plaster ceilings and walls, period hardwood and exposed stonework throughout. The main salon is anchored by an original Louis XIV fireplace and multiple French doors with lunettes above — flooding the room with natural light and showcasing the stunning Provencal views — then leading to a massive outdoor terrace.

“This property is the perfect fusion of architectural history and modern sensitivities," says Helena de Forton of Christie’s International Real Estate. "The amount of light in a centuries-old structure is a rarity. What is even more extraordinary are the outdoor spaces.”

Two tiers of enormous stone decks, draped with foliage invites al fresco entertaining.The pool on the upper level where Bardot sunbathed has been transformed into a serene Japanese water feature. Stone steps lead to an infinity pool with underwater speakers and a spa that easily accommodates 16. Large plantations of cypresses provide privacy.

The five-bedroom guest house has its own infinity pool and outdoor kitchen with pizza oven. There is also a small garden cottage hidden among the vineyards. The orchards, terraced with ancient rock walls, include an olive grove of almost 100 trees, three vineyards, citrus and fig trees plus a private well housed in its historic stone structure and providing pure mineral water. 

The small village of Peymeinade, though quaint and peaceful, offers top-tier dining and shopping. Nearby is the medieval village of Grasse, acclaimed “Perfume Capital of the World,” given its optimal climate conditions, grows roses, jasmine, lavender and other flowers for Hermès, Dior and the iconic Chanel No. 5, to name a few. The town’s perfume museum and summer festivals honoring flowers are not to be missed. Cannes — with its international airport, vibrant urban atmosphere and host to the globally renowned Cannes Film Festival — is only 35 minutes away.