France is famed for the historic chateaus that dot its countryside, but when one man built his very own Renaissance-style mansion in a beautiful corner of the south coast, he caused something of a stir.
A court has ruled that the building is illegal, and the €57 million ($64 million) Chateau Diter will now have to be knocked down.
Property developer Pierre Diter, who owns the chateau in the town of Grasse, in Southern France, has 18 months to raze the building and faces a fine of €200,000 ($226,000), Pierre-Jean Gaury, attorney general at the court of appeal in Aix-en-Provence, told CNN.
“Patrick Diter was accused of having executed important works on a land without authorization,” said Gaury.
“Mr. Diter transformed a home that was important because it was on a protected site, and subject to legal regulations.”
A house previously stood on the site, but Diter built a huge mansion with multiple buildings, a swimming pool and fountains, said Gaury.
The property, set on 17 acres, features 18 suites, two helicopter pads and manicured gardens, according to rental site Myprivatevillas, which lists Chateau Diter among its offerings.
“He made it very luxurious,” Gaury added.
According to a ruling on Monday, an extra €500 ($565) will be added to the fine for every day beyond the deadline that the chateau remains standing.
One company involved in the building work received a €200,000 fine, while another was fined €50,000 ($56,000).
Gaury emphasized that Diter bought the land legally and issues only arose because of what he did with it.
In addition to building without permission, Diter also hosted loud parties and events, Gaury said.
“Neighbors often complained a lot throughout the years,” he added.
Diter told French magazine Paris Match in 2017 that he and his wife, Monica, had been looking for a property in Tuscany, but they eventually decided to build their own Tuscan-style villa in this sought-after corner of the French Riviera.
Diter, who has not yet responded to CNN’s emailed request for comment, now has until March 30 to appeal the decision and take legal proceedings to the supreme court.