THE most expensive house in the world is going on sale for up to £860million pounds in the south of France, it is claimed.
The Cedars mansion is on the market comes as the country struggles during one of its worst recessions for years and the Socialist government tries to deal with a security crisis.
Despite all this, Nice Matin today reports that the former home of Belgium King Leopold II can be yours for ‘a billion euros!’.
The 10-bedroom property, which comes with an Olympic size swimming pool, is in the billionaire’s playground of Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, close to Nice.
It has one of the most beautiful gardens in Europe, which includes 35 acres of manicured lawns, 15,000 plants, and some 20 greenhouses containing rare tropical vegetation.
Close neighbours include British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and US tech tycoon Paul Allen.
Les Cedres is currently owned by Suzanne Marnier-Lapostolle, part of the Grand Marnier liqueur dynasty.
She is said to be downsizing, and looking for a buyer who will care for a house that has been in the family since 1924.
Some fifteen professional gardeners are currently employed by her full time, and she hopes all will be kept on.
But there are fears that speculators will move in, and build new hugely expensive properties in the gardens.
“Everything needs to be done to prevent that,” said an estate agent source in nearby Monaco, who has already received enquiries about the property.
He added: “We have not received instructions to sell. These kind of properties tend to be marketed very discreetly.
“Despite France’s problems, there should be a buyer around. The billionaire market does not have much to do with countries – there will be international interest.”
Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, which currently has a population of just over 2,000, has attracted celebrities and royalty from all over the world throughout its history.
Those who used to holiday there regularly on belle epoque estates include Winston Churchill, who loved painting the gardens.
Other regulars included actors Charlie Chaplin and David Niven, writer William Somerset-Maugham, movie stars Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and Prince Rainier III of Monaco.
The most high profile property transaction in the stretch of Riviera around Nice came in 2008, when Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov offered 320 million to buy Villa Leopolda.
The magnificent mansion in Villefranche-sur-Mer, next door to Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, was owned by Lily Safra, who had inherited it from her banker husband, Edmond Safra.
Mr Prokhorov pulled out of the sale following the 2008 financial crisis, leading to Mrs Safra successfully suing him to keep the deposit of 33 million pounds.
Source: The Sun UK