Once upon a time, a magical castle came to life. At least those are the words that seem to spring to mind when you encounter Château du Pic for the first time, especially if you arrive at the dramatic fairy-tale hilltop in one of those colorful French air balloons bedecked with flowers, and sipping champagne. But any way you enter, the ?rst impression is the same. Bedazzled by the towering fortress above it shrouded in the rare?ed mist of the Midi-Pyrenees, and with heavenly vistas sweeping over the Gorges de l’Aveyron and Najac, one of France’s most beautiful villages, the sight is almost too perfect to be real. Built in the 19th century, it is a picture of gracious classical design, with its elegant façade, grand terrace, and prominent position. But even more, it is an impressive family home, additionally possessing the potential to become a prestigious countryside hotel. A gated drive sequesters the estate securely amid nearly ten acres that surround it with a stunning swimming pool, poolhouse, and two courtyard cottages. But as wondrous as the outdoor vision is, it is inside that you sense the past most poignantly. As one British expert put it: “Few properties have such a pedigree, and this one really stands out.” Paved with precious marble, and embellished with magnificent period ?replaces and stained glass, its light-bathed reception rooms and seven bedrooms pamper owners and guests alike in a splendor that really does stand out, even in France, a land that has long been celebrated for the splendor of its architecture.