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British producer’s French dream turns to a nightmare as officers demolish extension at ultra-luxury eleventh century chateau that hosted Naomi Campbell and Madonna… then ship him £120,000 invoice after bitter 15-year planning row

British producer’s French dream turns to a nightmare as officers demolish extension at ultra-luxury eleventh century chateau that hosted Naomi Campbell and Madonna… then ship him £120,000 invoice after bitter 15-year planning row


It was as soon as the unique hang-out of royalty, overseas millionaires, movie stars and – in response to native mythology – a mysterious order of crusader knights. However by the Nineties, the eleventh century Château de Saint Jeannet had fallen into disrepair.

A brand new lease of life was breathed in to the property when, in 2001, the derelict fortress was taken on by British movie producer Jon Acevski, paying round €1.2 million for the location and investing way more in renovations – welcoming again the celebs when Naomi Campbell selected it for her celebrity-packed forty fifth party in 2015.

However the dream of preserving and increasing the three-and-a-half-hectare property close to Good within the south of France grew to become a nightmare when courts ordered the demolition of a number of extensions to conclude a gruelling 15-year authorized battle.

After slapping Acevski with a €140,000 (£120,000) invoice for the demolition work, authorities shared footage of how they tore down newer installations they declare have been constructed with out planning permission within the presence of the homeowners final month.

The Château de Saint Jeannet – previously the Château de la Gaude – has been razed and rebuilt many occasions by means of the ages. However after quite a few complaints have been introduced in opposition to its newest occupants, the State has roundly decreed that there are limits to how far homeowners can go to deliver it again to life.

After slapping Acevski with a ¿140,000 bill for the demolition work, authorities shared footage of how they tore down newer installations they claim were raised without planning permission

After slapping Acevski with a €140,000 invoice for the demolition work, authorities shared footage of how they tore down newer installations they declare have been raised with out planning permission 

The state turned up to tear down the extensions - and charged the owner for the work

The state turned up to tear down the extensions - and charged the owner for the work

The state turned as much as tear down the extensions – and charged the proprietor for the work

'No matter how long it takes, we will complete these procedures, whatever happens, appeals are not a profitable strategy,' a representative said as demolition commenced

'No matter how long it takes, we will complete these procedures, whatever happens, appeals are not a profitable strategy,' a representative said as demolition commenced

‘Irrespective of how lengthy it takes, we’ll full these procedures, no matter occurs, appeals will not be a worthwhile technique,’ a consultant stated as demolition commenced

Footage showed diggers tearing at walls amid piles of rubble around the main building

Footage showed diggers tearing at walls amid piles of rubble around the main building

Footage confirmed diggers tearing at partitions amid piles of rubble round the principle constructing

Guests can enjoy the 18m x 9m pool, which features an infinity waterfall and jacuzzi - before dipping into the pool house for a drink at the bar

Guests can enjoy the 18m x 9m pool, which features an infinity waterfall and jacuzzi - before dipping into the pool house for a drink at the bar

Company can benefit from the 18m x 9m pool, which options an infinity waterfall and jacuzzi – earlier than dipping into the pool home for a drink on the bar

The fortress had survived nearly a millennium through war, plague and recession - but was completely abandoned when Acevski took it on as a project

The fortress had survived nearly a millennium through war, plague and recession - but was completely abandoned when Acevski took it on as a project

The fortress had survived practically a millennium by means of warfare, plague and recession – however was fully deserted when Acevski took it on as a venture

Boasting 13 suites, out of doors house to accommodate 600 friends, a helipad with room for 2, a pool, a sauna and a Turkish bathtub, present proprietor Jon Acevski as soon as stated he might fetch as a lot as €135,000 per week to lease out the whole web site earlier than the 2008 world monetary disaster.

However the Macedonian-British movie producer – whose works embody an animated function a few frog parodying James Bond – was not the primary with lofty ambitions for the location. Between the Thirties and Nineteen Fifties, main French actress Viviane Romance spent ‘a fortune’ on the chateau in a bid to modernise the constructing, in response to The Instances.

Beginning her profession as a dancer on the well-known Moulin Rouge in Paris earlier than rising to change into considered one of France’s main icons of early cinema, Romance (born Pauline Ronacher Ortmanns) brushed shoulders with the celebs of French-Italian movie scene over an illustrious 45-year profession earlier than dying in Good in 1991.

However Romance was by no means in a position to full the venture, reportedly on account of lack of funds, and her residence fell into disrepair earlier than it could possibly be bought on by means of her daughter to fellow cinephile Jon Acevski in 2001.

The fortress, simply half-hour from Cannes and the Monaco Grand Prix, had survived practically a millennium by means of warfare, plague and recession – however was fully deserted when Acevski took it on as a venture.

 ‘It was not thought-about liveable once I purchased it,’ Acevski informed Selection in 2009, after he had renovated the 1,000m2 fundamental property right into a worthwhile vacation villa.

It was not the primary restoration job Acevski had been entrusted with. Native retailers attribute work on a monastery in Macedonia and a church in London to the historical past fanatic.

Enthralled by the duty, he was ‘current nearly every single day’ and labored with an area architect to ‘calculate the whole lot’ and ‘[choose] all of the supplies with nice care’.

This included travelling to Portugal to decide on the correct stones for the fortress and having a column of the central staircase redone again and again as a result of a element simply was not fairly proper. 

It took 5 years for Acevski to attain his aim and proceed the legacy of his predecessor, finishing a activity left on maintain for greater than forty years earlier than he arrived.

‘My husband needed a spot that revered the historical past and panorama of this place,’ his spouse Yasmin defined, years earlier than the state threatened to tear down their additions.

Legend holds that the location started as a Templar stronghold within the ninth and tenth centuries, however the earliest quotation referencing its building dates to the eleventh.

Dug right into a hill with gorgeous views of the French Riviera and the Alps, the Romans apparently first noticed the strategic worth of the location, surveying the historical Through Augusta, which nonetheless connects Italy with southern France.

Since then, the fortress has been demolished and rebuilt a number of occasions, and its historical past is dotted with footnotes of warfare and invasion. It was razed in 1536, rebuilt greater than a century later, after which as soon as extra forgotten and left to rot because it misplaced its army use within the mid-Nineteenth century.

Within the intervening years, the property’s homeowners have battled to seek out new use for the fortress, reimagining its goal in artistic methods to protect and shield its historical past whereas making certain it retains some perform.

With views of each the snow-covered Alps and the Mediterranean, Acevski dreamed of turning the location right into a luxurious vacation villa for outstanding friends at first of the twenty first century – and started putting in the extensions he believed have been wanted to see his dream materialise.

‘It’s extremely personal, quiet and secluded,’ Acevski informed Selection. Certainly, the unique venue – and its very unique pricing – has managed to draw a number of outstanding superstar friends trying to mark anniversaries or take a break with some privateness.

In 2015, Naomi Campbell hosted her forty fifth party on the chateau, inviting A Record names together with Leonardo DiCaprio, Kendall Jenner and Mary J. Blige.

MailOnline reported on the time the social gathering was so unique that some friends allegedly forked out as a lot as $1,800 every in charity donations to mingle with the celebs.

An insider talking to the New York Every day Information newspaper’s Confidenti@l column has claimed: ‘Individuals paid to get on the visitor record. Naomi needed to capitalise on the celebrated group of those who have been on the Cannes Movie Pageant and amfAR.’ 

However, the supply added, ‘a variety of the billionaires have been a bit upset as a result of she did not present up till midnight. Everybody else began arriving at 9pm.’ 

A spokesperson for the supermodel informed MailOnline Naomi inspired some attendees to donate to her charity, Vogue For Aid.

In a press release launched to MailOnline, a consultant stated: ‘Naomi had a party in Cannes this previous weekend.

‘Some friends have been invited to make a donation to help her charity, Vogue For Aid, at the side of their attendance on the occasion.

‘Vogue For Aid gives ongoing help for catastrophe conditions world wide. There was an unofficial invitation circulating with incorrect info, together with visitor names that have been apparently on account of attend the occasion.’

Sparing no expense, the highest supermodel appeared like she was having a ball as she was gifted a large birthday cake which was polished off with a macaroon tower. 

Jon Acevski, 77, is the director, producer and screenwriter who bought the chateau in 2001

Jon Acevski, 77, is the director, producer and screenwriter who bought the chateau in 2001

Jon Acevski, 77, is the director, producer and screenwriter who purchased the chateau in 2001

Naomi Campbell (pictured right, with DiCaprio and Mary J Blige) donned a Versace gown to celebrate her 45th birthday at the Château Saint Jeannet outside Nice, France in 2015

Naomi Campbell (pictured right, with DiCaprio and Mary J Blige) donned a Versace gown to celebrate her 45th birthday at the Château Saint Jeannet outside Nice, France in 2015

Naomi Campbell (pictured proper, with DiCaprio and Mary J Blige) donned a Versace robe to rejoice her forty fifth birthday on the Château Saint Jeannet exterior Good, France in 2015

A spokesperson for the supermodel told MailOnline Naomi encouraged some attendees to donate to her charity, Fashion For Relief

A spokesperson for the supermodel told MailOnline Naomi encouraged some attendees to donate to her charity, Fashion For Relief

A spokesperson for the supermodel informed MailOnline Naomi inspired some attendees to donate to her charity, Vogue For Aid 

Mary J Blige (left) poses with Naomi Campbell at her birthday bash in Nice in 2015

Mary J Blige (left) poses with Naomi Campbell at her birthday bash in Nice in 2015

Mary J Blige (left) poses with Naomi Campbell at her birthday bash in Good in 2015

The retreat was additionally chosen by Madonna as her base of operations when she travelled to the south of France for a live performance in 2008.

Madonna reportedly flew along with her then-husband Man Ritchie, daughter Lourdes and sons Rocco and David, to remain in £11,000-a-night fortress.

She stored 12 workers available to assist out across the advanced, together with her personal chef, a magnificence crew of six, a chiropractor and a masseuse.

However the journey made headlines when different workers complained they have been being handled like ‘second class residents’ after being given low cost resort lodging. 

A supply informed The Mirror on the time: ‘Everybody is completely livid along with her and a few of them wish to stroll out of the tour. 

‘They really feel they’re being handled like second-class residents, regardless of all their onerous work over the previous couple of months.

‘To make issues worse, they’re being compelled to remain in horrible locations and fly on low cost low-cost flights, whereas she has the lap of luxurious. A number of are already speaking about strolling if issues do not enhance.’

Acevski had managed to discover a new goal for the traditional fortress, arising with new sights and extensions to woo the world’s excessive spenders.

An undated weblog detailing a marriage booked on the web site referenced an ice skating present in the midst of summer time, acrobatics and a 17,000-firework explosion to high off the night time.

Rental web site StayOne – providing friends the prospect to remain within the ‘best one p.c of vacation houses – notes the previously derelict web site now boasts ‘greater than 6,000 crops and bushes … planted alongside many mature bushes which type a magical place’.

Company can benefit from the 18m x 9m pool, which options an infinity waterfall and jacuzzi – earlier than dipping into the pool home for a drink on the bar.

The reserving type assures friends they are going to be sorted by 24 hour safety, and that they will prepare for ‘workers providers’ together with cooks, housekeepers, butlers and chauffeurs.

However the extensions have triggered hassle for Jon and Yasmin with native officers opposing his renovations. They contested he had no proper to increase the caretaker’s lodge or to construct subsequent to the swimming pool, The Instances reported.

In 2009, a court docket in Grasse slapped Acevski with fines value €5 million and ordered the destruction of the outbuildings. He argued the case, however the lodge was in the end knocked down in 2017.

In 2011, the proprietor was additionally handed a high-quality of €300,000 accompanied by orders to tear down varied websites throughout the 12 months, threatening late charges of €75 per day.

On high of the outhouse, these included a ‘dwelling zone for employees’, two pergolas and a 65m-squared concrete terrace, in response to native media.

The modifications ‘ought to have taken place earlier than November 29, 2012 however nothing has been executed lately,’ Good Matin reported in 2017.

That 12 months, a 250m2 home situated on the property was focused for a primary demolition, in response to Le Parisien. Nevertheless it was removed from the top.

‘The delays are lengthy as a result of many homeowners chain appeals and apply an avoidance technique which doesn’t repay ultimately,’ a consultant stated.

Seven years on, Acevski has obtained invoices for extra demolition work totalling €140,000 – and solely weeks in the past noticed diggers transfer in on a demolition order that had been ‘ignored till twentieth February 2024, when the authorities took issues in hand and began flattening the offending constructions themselves’.

‘Irrespective of how lengthy it takes, we’ll full these procedures, no matter occurs, appeals will not be a worthwhile technique. Unlawful constructions can be demolished,’ a state consultant stated, reported by Good Matin.

Writing on X, previously Twitter, in February, authorities stated the ‘process’ was carried out by a bailiff, in entrance of the homeowners. Footage confirmed diggers tearing at partitions amid piles of rubble round the principle constructing.

The Préfet des Alpes-Maritimes stated the operation was carried out with the sub-prefecture of Frasse and the DDTM providers.

Additionally they stated they’d stick with it with ‘observational monitoring’ to ‘assure the State in opposition to a threat of litigation and to reply to the fears of householders’. 

Bu residents native to the chateau informed MailOnline they have been nonplussed by information of its partial demolition.

‘At any time when I requested my native buddies about that fortress, no-one actually knew what it was or its goal,’ stated Elsa, a resident of neighbouring Bonson.

‘Simply one other wealthy individuals playground is the overall consensus.’

‘I’ve by no means seen it from up shut,’ she continued. ‘Nevertheless it stands proud like a sore thumb.’

‘It actually is not essentially the most aesthetically pleasing constructing within the space.’

‘The préfet has been actually large on sponsoring and reviving the patrimony of the area over the previous couple of years… So actually I am blissful they’re doing one thing about it, fairly than letting the cash discuss.’

Twenty minutes from Nice and half an hour from the Monaco Grand Prix, the site has attracted wealthy visitors for decades - as well as various legions and crusader knights before that

Twenty minutes from Nice and half an hour from the Monaco Grand Prix, the site has attracted wealthy visitors for decades - as well as various legions and crusader knights before that

Twenty minutes from Good and half an hour from the Monaco Grand Prix, the location has attracted rich guests for many years – in addition to varied legions and crusader knights earlier than that

Aerial view of the Chateau de Saint-Jeannet in the azurean hinterland, 20 minutes from Nice, southern France on August 25, 2008

Aerial view of the Chateau de Saint-Jeannet in the azurean hinterland, 20 minutes from Nice, southern France on August 25, 2008

Aerial view of the Chateau de Saint-Jeannet within the azurean hinterland, 20 minutes from Good, southern France on August 25, 2008

Locals said they were pleased to see the state pushing back on 'illegal extensions'

Locals said they were pleased to see the state pushing back on 'illegal extensions'

Locals stated they have been happy to see the state pushing again on ‘unlawful extensions’

Certainly, because the prefecture strikes to guard native heritage, native sources say it has proven prepared to provide a face elevate to the close by Château de Gilette, constructed within the thirteenth century and left in ruins.

Outdated chapels have been ‘glammed up’ to their former glory and previous work restored to point out off the historical past of the area.

However for the Château de la Gaude, it appears, the latest extensions have been a bridge too far.

MailOnline contacted the Préfet des Alpes-Maritimes for remark.



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Written by bourbiza mohamed

Bourbiza Mohamed is a freelance journalist and political science analyst holding a Master's degree in Political Science. Armed with a sharp pen and a discerning eye, Bourbiza Mohamed contributes to various renowned sites, delivering incisive insights on current political and social issues. His experience translates into thought-provoking articles that spur dialogue and reflection.

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