Cour du Baron at Les Bordes Estate in the Loire Valley, France, is a first-of-its-kind opportunity to own a home at one of the most exceptional private golf communities in the world. Surrounded by natural surroundings in a forest located in Saint-Laurent-Nouan, the 1,400-acre (560-hectare) property is roughly twice the size of New York’s Central Park. Les Bordes is one of the largest privately-owned estates in all of France.
Private real estate communities featuring world-class golf courses, spas and other resort-quality amenities have long existed in the United States, from Sea Island, Georgia to Hilton Head Island in South Carolina and the Yellowstone Club in Big Sky, Montana. However, in Europe, this has not been the case—that is, until now. Newly built luxury homes are a rarity in France, especially in the Loire Valley where historic castles, manor houses and large estates are the norm. So the opportunity to have a newly built home at a private estate with world class golf and an abundance of amenities in a desirable location in France is unique, to say the least, especially in the Loire Valley, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Luxury Residential Communities Are In Demand
New luxury residential communities have certainly grown in popularity all over the world, and there’s a heightened interest with people prioritizing wellness, nature, and a sense of escape following the pandemic, which many of these new projects emphasize, explains Massimiliano “Max” Binda, chief executive officer of Les Bordes Estate.
But what sets Cour du Baron apart from others is its location set within the coveted French countryside and relatively close proximity to Paris, which is why the area has for centuries been the respite for aristocratic families from the capital city. Château de Chambord is located only 28 kilometers away and there are fifteen Michelin-recognized restaurants within a 40-minute drive of Les Bordes.
Les Bordes is easy to get to from just about anywhere, including the United States, as Paris is only 90 minutes away and there are two private airports nearby. “Americans have easy access to a unique, rich culture and setting they can’t find at home,” says Binda. “At Cour du Baron, residents are immersed in the historic culture of the region, while enjoying all of the luxuries of a newly built home and a modern-day residential community, so it really is the best of both worlds.”
A.J. Jain, a Los Angeles, Ca.-based financier who with his wife, Mona, who is in contract to buy a home at Cour du Baron, was initially attracted to the cultural immersion the development offers. “Even though Les Bordes is a 10-hour flight from our primary residence, it is a place of cultural immersion for our family, which is very important for us,” the father of two young children explains. “You have all of the elements of France that we love—-the food, wine, the Loire Valley region, its history, the language, and the culture—-combined with a diversity of people from around the world in a secure, upscale 5-star setting.”
A Private Sanctuary With New Owners
Les Bordes Estate was originally established by Baron Marcel Bich in 1987 with the unveiling of a private golf course, known as the Old Course. Designed by Robert Von Hagge, the golf course was the Baron’s private sanctuary where he hosted family and friends and an occasional amateur or professional event. The estate thrived and developed mythical status under the Baron’s stewardship.
But after the Baron’s passing in 1994 many years passed by without clear direction. Control of the estate was taken over in March 2018 by the partners of esteemed private equity firm RoundShield Partners LLP and a few outside partners. RoundShield Partners manages approximately €3 billion of discretionary capital on behalf of pension funds, endowments, foundations, and other institutional investors. The firm has deep roots in real estate, specializing in providing private capital to mid-sized real estate, infrastructure, hard asset, and financial asset opportunities.
The new owners have brought new life into the region through the historic estate and globally recognized golf club. The investment firm opened a second challenging golf course, called the New Course, as well as a ten-hole par three course called Wild Piglet. RoundShield built or redesigned supporting golf facilities including a clubhouse and guest cottages and introduced a residential component called Cour du Baron residences. In the near future, a Six Senses Loire Valley and Branded Residences will also be built.
Spacious Floor Plans and Indoor-Outdoor Living
Cour du Baron will consist of 89 single family residences designed by renowned architect Michaelis Boyd, the designer behind Soho House. “They are thoughtfully conceived to feature spacious floor plans and indoor-outdoor living, taking advantage of the stunning landscape of the Sologne Forest,” says Binda.
Construction has started on the first phase of 21 residences with an estimated completion in the end of 2023. Eighteen of the homes were quickly sold to existing Les Bordes Golf Club members and two more are reserved, leaving only one available for purchase. The next phase of 24 homes are also available for purchase with prices ranging from €1.5 million to more than €6.5 million.
Three, four, five, and six -bedroom residences will feature spacious indoor-outdoor floor plans and many will have a heated private pool. Homeowners will also have the option of adding a plunge pool after completion. Estate sites range from half-acre to more than two acres in size, providing residents with private expansive retreats surrounded by unsurpassed natural beauty.
While modern, homes will reflect the defining elements of Les Bordes Estate and its sense of tranquility, privacy amidst nature, and peacefulness on a vast, secluded property. Home designs will emphasize natural daylight and ventilation, all to create private properties that feel like distinctive French countryside estates.
There are several home designs from which to choose, with each featuring sleek yet inviting interiors that reflect the spirit of the Loire Valley. Designs include a variety of stone and timber options with color schemes in earth tones such as traditional light grey, cream, and medium grey. Kitchens will be outfitted with luxury Miele appliances.
Homeowners who prefer a fully furnished, turnkey home will have the option to select one of the developer’s several, well-curated furnishing packages offered by a luxury furniture design company. Residential move-ins are anticipated to start in late 2023.
Turn-Key Home Ownership
Homeowners at Les Bordes will have access to a variety of services that would be found at a Five Star Hotel. A concierge service will provide such services to homeowners as help with stocking items, arranging travel plans, making offsite reservations, and more.
A property management program will provide 24-hour security, laundry services, landscaping services, childcare, and housekeeping. Owners will not need to worry about their homes when they are not in residence at the fully gated, secure development, as the property management team will look after everything for them. Homeowners will have the option to participate in a professionally managed rental pool, however they will have to choose one of the decorating packages offered by the developer so that each rental will all have a standard design. Homes will be rented to current Golf Club Members and their families.
All buyers at Cour du Baron residences must pay an annual estate management fee. The annual estate management fee will be based on the residence size, approximately €15 to €18 per square meter, which will also cover the management and operation of Cour du Baron’s residential estate services (landscaping, upkeep of the grounds, infrastructure, facilities, security and management). In addition, homeowners will also have to pay property taxes and utilities.
A.J. Jain and his wife, Mona, are in contract to buy a home at Cour du Baron. The Los Angeles, Ca. residents initially heard about the development from a friend who is a member of Les Bordes Golf Club. “Les Bordes Estate is known to be one of the most elite golf destinations in all of Europe, if not the world,” says Jain. “To have two world class, top ranked, and stunning golf courses at your fingertips is a golfer’s dream.”
The Jains were attracted to Les Bordes because it offers an escape into nature in a family-friendly, secure setting. “We fell in love with Les Bordes as a place for our family to unwind and recharge from the hustle and bustle of the daily grind in Los Angeles,” says Jain, a father of two young children. “The scenic landscape, the wild friendly animals such as stag and deer, and the fresh air make it a sanctuary for our family. Our kids can be free to explore without any cars to worry about. They can walk, run, and bike for miles on end and can participate in a multitude of daily activities with other kids from all over the world.”
One of Jain’s favorite activities at Les Bordes is simply relaxing at the clubhouse. “Think Yellowstone Club meets Soho Farm House in the U.K.,” says Jain, who will use his home at Cour du Baron as a summer residence. “The golf club does not feel stuffy or sterile like many clubs around the world. It feels authentic where you can be yourself. You see young families with children in the clubhouse, not only golfers, and everyone treats each other with kindness.”
“We love sitting around the fire pit with a drink in hand, interacting with members of the community, or just hanging at the outdoor terrace watching stag and deer roam freely in the distance,” adds Jain. “It’s truly magical.”
Three World-Class Golf Courses
Today, Les Bordes Golf Club is a private club which is accessible exclusively by its members and their guests. It is one of the world’s most acclaimed private facilities with a combined 46 holes of golf, two architecturally distinct championship courses, a world class short course and unrivalled supporting facilities. Les Bordes is a dream destination for golfers around the world.
The Club aims to offer the best private club experience in Europe. Launched in August 2019, the Founder Membership class closed in four months with over 100 members, representing 12 distinct nationalities. Since closing the Founder class, the Club continues to selectively admit new members with the aim of maintaining the Club’s geographical diversity and strong golf culture, with current members representing many of the most prestigious clubs around the world. Currently, there are 250 members of the golf club, of which are 40% American and 60% European.
The original course, known as “The Old Course” is widely considered to be Robert Von Hagge’s masterpiece and has been consistently ranked amongst the top three golf courses in Europe over the past 30 years. Material improvements have been made to the course; an overly penal rough and trees encroaching on the lines of play have been removed and the implementation of a new maintenance program is already yielding much firmer conditions that make the length of the course less impactful. The course carves a tree-lined, 7,009-yard-long, par-72 course through the Sologne Forest and a stunning complex of lakes. “The Old Course has trees and water and is very synthetic,” says Jack Laws, the Director of Golf at Les Bordes Golf Club. “It is very contemporary, very lush and picturesque.”
A second course, called “The New Course” opened in 2021. The course was designed by acclaimed golf course architects Gil Hanse and his design partner, Jim Wagner. Gil Hanse is renowned for designing such modern golf course masterpieces as Castle Stuart and Ohoopee Match Club and for restoring many perennial Top 100 Courses, including Merion, Winged Foot, Yale University and The Los Angeles Country Club.
The New Course was recently named among Golf Magazine’s Top 100 Courses in the World. Inspired by classical heathland style, the 7,391-yard-young course is Hanse’s first course in continental Europe.
The links-style course is very wide, natural and open. It was built in sandy soil with very interesting bunkering. It is also the only course in Europe with 100% fescue grass. “The New Course is very unique in style and there really isn’t anything else like it in Continental Europe aesthetically,” says Laws. “It is a combination of some of the best, most interesting golf courses around—a cross between Pine Valley in Philadelphia and National Golf in Southampton.”
A third 10-hole course that is a 1,557 yard (1,424 meters) long called the Wild Piglet, is another Hanse golf creation. The course consists of ten par three holes that pay homage to some of the most iconic holes in the world and is ranked amongst the Top 25 par three courses in the world by Golf Magazine.
There is a driving range and a very hilly short game area called The Himalayan, which is the largest putting green in Europe. There are no tee times required at any of the courses and golf carts are only allowed on the Old Course. Caddies are available to hire for both 18-hole courses.
Like the Old Course, the New Course is accessible exclusively to Members and their guests. Homeowners will need to apply for membership, but will receive priority status and be considered international members, which entitles them to lower annual dues and initiation fee. All homeowners will have access to The Wild Piglet course regardless of membership status at the golf club.
Today, Les Bordes Estate is a sprawling haven with stunning natural scenery that allows for a sense of calm and a reprieve from urban life along with exploration and recreation for all ages. “We like to think of it as an elevated playground without pretense, unlike anywhere else in the world,” says Binda.
Mature French oak, Cyprus, Sequoia trees dot the property. Activities range from a swimming in a lake with a white sand beach, to ziplining, fishing, horseback riding, archery, tennis, pickleball and bicycling. In the clubhouse there is a game room, golf simulator, exceptional dining, and much more. The entire property will be free of automobiles. Upon their arrival, homeowners and guests will park their cars in a designated parking lot and use electric golf carts to get around the property.
As part of Les Bordes Estate’s next phase, homeowners will also be able to enjoy new family-friendly facilities. Called Le Village, it will be located in a historic building formerly used as a priory for monks. The Village will serve as a community gathering place for relaxation and socialization and will include a residents’ clubhouse, restaurant, a café and juice bar, organic farmers market, wine bar, art gallery, event space, fitness center and other wellness amenities.
Residents of Cour du Baron will have access to a trail system that traverses beautiful forest land and many recreational activities right in their own backyard and of course, the opportunity to apply for membership at the renowned Les Bordes Golf Club.
“At Les Bordes, homeowners can have a private retreat to enjoy the area’s unspoiled nature and rich history, yet have easy access to exceptional dining, outdoor activities, culture, entertainment, and world-class wineries along the Loire Valley, the longest wine route in France,” adds Binda.
In addition to golf, there is an abundance of other activities onsite for people of all ages and interests to enjoy, from horseback riding, swimming, hiking and biking to tennis, pickleball, and fishing. There is a go-cart course and an elaborate playground for children to enjoy. An equestrian center offers the opportunity to take horseback lessons and to go on trail rides throughout the property. A petting zoo, located at the stables, has chickens, goats and rabbits. “We like to think of it like an elevated playground without pretense,” says Binda.
Managed Like A Five-Star Hotel
Les Bordes Estate is managed much like a five-star hotel. It is no wonder, as each member of the management team has experience working at top luxury hotels around the world. Members of the team are fluent in a wide range of languages, including English, French, Spanish, Italian and German.
Max Binda, for example, is a seasoned industry leader with over 30 years in global luxury hospitality. For nearly twenty years, he was with Mandarin Oriental, as part of its team overseeing opening, closings and re-launches in such destinations as Hong Kong, Geneva, Munich, Shanghai and Marrakech. Binda also held managerial roles at Sofitel Legend Metropole in Hanoi, Vietnam, and recently served as the General Manager at The Connaught in London.
The Chief Concierge, Vanessa Bugi, is a member of the prestigious Golden Key Society. Prior to joining the first-rate hospitality team at Les Bordes Estate, Bugi held the role of Assistant Head Concierge for eight years at The Peninsula Paris. She has also held concierge positions at Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, Brown’s Hotel in London, and Le Mirador Resort & Spa and Crans Ambassador Hotel, both in Switzerland.
Laws has more than a decade of experience working at renowned golf clubs spanning from the United States to London. He worked as the Head of Coaching at Roehampton Club in London, before moving to Houston, Texas to take a position at Royal Oaks Country Club. In England, Laws worked at Sunningdale Golf Club in Berkshire, England, which has been the host to several notable golf events, including the Walker Cup and the Ladies British Open.
Director of Food and Beverage, Adrien Piot, has two decades of experience in luxury hospitality. A native of Southwestern France, Piot has worked Greece, Ireland, Australia, New Caledonia, and the UAE. He was with the Park Hyatt in Shanghai City, China, the Park Hyatt in Dubai and served as Food and Beverage Director at Emaar Hospitality group in Dubai.
The Clubhouse serves all-day dining helmed by Executive Chef, Jérôme Voltat, who hails from Paris, and who has more than two decades of experience. Before joining Les Bordes, the chef worked at several Michelin-starred restaurants and five-star hotels throughout Europe, Asia, and the U.S. including The Bristol Hotel in Paris, Domaine de Chateauvieux in Geneva, One&Only Reethi Rah in The Maldives and the haute French restaurant L’Orangerie in Los Angeles.
Trained in modern and classical French cuisine, Voltat oversees the dynamic culinary program on-property, including creating elevated menus and experiences for members, residents, and guests. Menus are Voltat’s take on a lighter French fare and change seasonally based on the freshest local ingredients. In the future, the chef also be launching innovative barbecue and special event menus.
Six Senses Hotels Resorts and Spas To Open at Les Bordes
Les Bordes will be home to a new Six Senses Hotels Resorts and Spas, which is expected to open in 2025. The Six Senses Hotels Resorts and Spas, which is being developed by RoundShield Partners in partnership with Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations (the French sovereign wealth fund), will be located in Château Bel Air Bel Air Bel Air, a 19th century-era château on the property.
A pioneer of sustainable hospitality, Six Senses will offer spacious guest rooms and suites, fine dining, a lounge bar and a 1,600 square meter full-service spa. The hotel will have a medicinal garden, an organic kitchen garden, and Earth Lab encompassing the resort’s conservation initiatives, and elegant event facilities. The hotel will also offer branded residences for sale. Cour du Baron residents will have full access to Six Senses’ extraordinary five-star resort services and amenities as a part of their private community.
Homeowner Jain is particularly excited about the Six Senses. “It is consistently ranked as one of the top hospitality brands in the world, and we feel more people are drawn to their locations due to a focus on health, wellness, and high-quality farm to table cuisine,” he says. “The fact that Six Senses will have a presence in this community is a huge added plus for us.”
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