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Is there anything more exquisite than a chateau tucked away between the sun-drenched lavender fields and rose-dotted gardens in the south of France?
Like many of us, French designer Christian Dior fell in love with the charm and scents of Provence. So much so that he purchased the magnificent Château de la Colle Noire as a peaceful summer escape in 1950. The property, which spans 91 hectares, became the designer’s "haven of peace" when he decided to leave the fashion runways behind and seek out retirement in Provence. Little by little, he transformed the château into a lively place where he'd create and entertain. The designer, who had dreams of being an architect, decorated all the rooms with the refinement for which he is renowned and devoted himself to the creation of a grandiose garden.
Dior spent afternoons planting fragrant flowers like roses, jasmine, and lavender, as well as olive trees in the cypress-lined garden. It is exactly that heavenly rose-scented garden that inspired Christian Dior’s very first fragrance creation: Miss Dior Eau de Parfum ($105 sephora.com), and then a few years later the chateau's Lily of the Valley became the origin for Diorissimo ($85, saksfifthavenue.com). He also decorated the garden with a reflecting pool, an immense basin designed to recall the garden of Les Rhumbs, his childhood home in Granville.
To this day, many of Dior's favorite flowers are still planted in the chateau—and are often found in many of the brand's heritage fragrances. Like La Colle Noire, a more recently released fragrance directly inspired by the estate.
"In springtime, the Centifolia rose invades the gardens at Chateau de la Colle Noire," explains François Demachy, Dior's much-loved Perfumer-Creator. "It is an extraordinary time when the flower's fleshy, honeyed, and fruity scent lingers in the air. This perfume is an ode to that magical place and to the unique rose that grows in my home."
Inside, the property is just as impressive as the outside. The neo-classical chateau is filled with elegant 18th-century interiors and original objects like a 1950s telephone, floral designer wallpaper, and Dior's personal treasures like his monogrammed suitcases and tarot card collection.
To take a full tour of the spectacular property, head to Dior's Instagram.