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French Rich Run from Higher Taxes, Leave Castles Behind

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Just last week, the now-bloated, plane-pissing French acting legend Gérard Depardieu listed his customized, 20,000-square-foot compound in Paris for $65M, before renouncing his French citizenship and moving across the border to Belgium. While it's difficult to determine how many of Depardieu's wealthy compatriots have listed their French homes as well, the glut of high-priced properties suggests that more than a few are following in his shameless footsteps. Here are five high-priced properties listed this fall, following the proposal that French income taxes be raised to 75% on earnings over €1million. First up is a sprawling villa in the Côte d'Azur hamlet of Cap-d'Ail. Listed for $34.5M, the 12 bedroom, nine bathroom mansion lies just a couple miles from Monaco, the tax-haven of a principality that is probably going to see a surge in population as a result of the new French levies. The Belle Époque-style villa occupies a two-acre lot with sea views, a guest house, a terraced and tiled swimming pool, and a four-car garage with staff apartment above.

? Even the former home of one of France's greatest sons, the artist Edgar Degas, has come up for sale this fall. Set amid 172 acres of Norman countryside, the 13,000-square-foot chateau includes four reception rooms, 11 bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and both indoor and outdoor swimming pools. The grounds are home to a hunting lodge, a four-stall stable, barn, workshop, and caretaker's house. Given the famous backstory, the sprawling grounds, and the seemingly prime condition, this place should command a hefty price tag, but we'll never know, as the price is only available to qualified buyers, on request.

? During this great French sell-off, true castles can be had, like this 16th-century number, built on lands once belonging to Eleanor of Aquitaine. At the heart of a 30-acre tract, the 16,000-square-foot stone castle is surrounded by a moat and accessed by a gated bridge, but the fairy tale architecture isn't ruined by dust and drafts. The current owner commissioned an extensive renovation of the house and grounds, leaving behind a livable modernized home and verdant lawns. The price, as is the case with so many French mansions, is only available upon request.

? Huge mansions in the countryside aren't the only properties currently offered up by owners spooked by the new taxes, there are also plenty of huge mansions in the city. This 11,000-square-foot limestone mansion was originally built for a 17th-century noble family, on the Place des Victoires in Paris. Now divided into two residential spaces, with nine bedrooms and nine bathrooms, and two commercial units, the mansion will certainly command a price in the mid-eight-figures. The sellers are leaving just three years after an extensive renovation and update by lauded architect Laurent Bourgois.

? Over in the 7th arrondissement, this stunning contemporary townhouse was carved out of a massive 17th-century house once occupied by the Swiss author Germaine de Staël. The 3,500-square-foot, four-bedroom, five-bathroom home might be much smaller than most on this list, but it sits in the heart of Paris and includes two subterranean parking spaces, faces a gorgeous courtyard, and does not appear to have been lived in since construction. The property was listed this month for $12.51M.
· Embrace High Taxes in Gérard Depardieu's Knockout House [Curbed National]
· Actor Renounces His Citizenship in Snit Over French Tax Burden [NYT]
· Villa in Cap-d'Ail [Christie's International Real Estate]
· Chateaux [Daniel Feau]
· Hollow [Daniel Feau]
· Palatial Elegance [Christie's International Real Estate]
· Paris [Daniel Feau]