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Sacre Bleu! Pierre Cardin Wants to Turn His Town Into a Less Celebrified St. Tropez

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Today, in French real estate news, designer Pierre Cardin plunked down a lot of money to buy an estate formerly owned by the legendary Marquis de Sade and plans to turn it into a luxury destination. The chateau, located in the Provence region in a small town called Lacoste. Cardin purchased the property in 2001 and also bought 22 surrounding properties, planning to turn the area into a fashionable place to visit. So far, he has installed art galleries, converted buildings into guest houses, and launched an annual theater festival. While Cardin claims that he's doing all of it for the good of the community and as a way to stimulate the local economy, not all the locals are thrilled.

"Before he came I used to have friends here. We would meet for cards or a coffee. Now there's nothing. No life, no friends. He has killed the village. It is like an opera set," said one neighbor. In his defense, Cardin says "I can't force people to sell me their homes. They sell because they want to sell. I plan to make this village into a cultural St Tropez, without its showbiz side. I want to restore its authentic glamour, its truth."
· Pierre Cardin Sparks French Village Feud [Telegraph]