Thursday, July 10, 2008

Hold On To Your Britches Children...

...because the latest real estate rumor sweeping the better boulevards of Paris and the glitzy seaside towns strung like rubies along the French Riviera is that London-based Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich is about to plunk down a mind numbing and record breaking £250,000,000 to buy La Leopolda, the legendarily high-maintenance estate hovering over Villefranche-sur-Mer.

Your Mama's bejeweled abacus had streams of steam coming out of it when we plugged in such huge numbers and flipped the conversion beads, but the ol' gurl managed to reveal that at today's rates the sale price converts to $493,310, unimaginable amount of money for 99% of the world, but pocket change to an oil rich oligarch worth a reported $23,500,000,000.

The property was once owned by the Belgian king Leopold, but the palatial pile and exuberant grounds came to its astonishing decadence and full flowering when it was built by noted American born decorator (and sometime architect) Ogden Codman. Later owners are said to include Izaak and Dorothy Killam, Gianni Agnelli (Mister Fiat, of course), billionaire banker Edmond Safra and his chic and severe looking wifey Lily and Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates. The current ownership of La Leopolda seems to be in some dispute. Some reports say Miz Safra sold the property to Bill Gates in 2006 for around $76,000,000, and some reports indicate Mister Abramovich is forking over the big bucks to Miz Safra. Who knows? Well, The Social Butterfly and another of Your Mama's sources say they think it's Miz Safra, but we can't say definitively.

Anyhoo, the hill topping ten acre estate rolls down the hillside and includes a monstrous mansion reported to have been done up and did over by Italian master of interior day-core fakery Renzo Mongiardino, the same decorating dude who worked over the Fifth Avenue apartment Veronica Hearst just sold to well bred hedge hog Chase Coleman III and his very social heiress wifey Stephanie. Maintaining the meticulously manicured gardens at La Leopolda is rumored and reported to require up to 50 full time gardeners. Yes children, fifty. Your Mama don't even know 50 people.

Your Mama can't keep track of all the trophy properties owned and maintained by Mister Abramovich. We do know there are several lavish London houses, a dee-luxe crash pad in Moscow, a large estate in Sussex, England was once owned by King Hussein of Jordan, and just a few months ago Mister Abramovich forked over a reported $36,375,000 for Wildcat Ridge, the 200 acre Aspen, CO estate of surgical supply tycoon Leon Hirsch. Mister Abramovich also owns the Chateau de la Croe, located just down the road from La Leopolda and where the Duke of Windsor holed up with Wallis Simpson back in 1938.

Keep in mind my little chickadees, althat real estate is above and beyond the many custom-fitted planes and ridiculously expensive mega-yachts on which 41 year old Mister Abramovich and his 25 year old gurl friend Daria Zhukova travel and cavort.

Your Mama's mind reels and collapses upon itself just imagining how many domestic staff people are required to maintain all of Mister Abramovich's properties, planes and boat. With that many people in his employ can he and Mizz Zhukova even remember all of their names?

Now listen children because Your Mama is going to rock the boat a bit here...we think all this may be nothing but scuttlebutt and real estate rumor. We'll believe Mister Abramovich is the new owner of La Leopolda when his PR people make some sort of statement or some other sort of proof presents itself. Until then, Your Mama recommends we all take this in with grain of salt because these sorts of things often turn out to be, uhm, not true.

photo: PMO on Flickr

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