In 1951, designer Christian Dior purchased a 247-acre estate in Provence, France. During the years that followed, he restored the château and the land, adding a pond and planting an assortment of cypress trees, rose bushes, lavender, jasmine and olive trees. The designer spent the remainder of his life escaping to Le Château de la Colle Noire for holidays and summers until his death in 1957. “Dior at la Colle Noire was a bit like Louis XIV at Versailles, but on a different scale, of course—a place that was never beautiful enough, never finished, always in progress. It was a place where Mr. Dior was happy,” says Parfums Christian Dior’s brand culture and heritage director, Frederic Bourdelier.
After Dior’s death, the Colle Noire property was sold to a private owner, but in 2013, Parfums Christian Dior owner LVMH purchased the property and set out to return it to its former glory. “Many of the places that Dior lived in were destroyed or are in the hands of private owners,” says Bourdelier. “Buying this back was one of the last opportunities to own one of his homes.” Luckily, many of the original trees and flower beds had persevered over time. With the help of landscape architect Philippe Deliau, the gardens were replanted with Dior’s favorite flowers, which are still used in the brand’s iconic fragrances, especially rosa centifolia. Also known as the May rose, it has a harvest period from May to early June and is extremely delicate and finicky. It needs to be picked on the day it blossoms and taken to the factory within hours of being hand-picked in order to capture its scent.
After years of renovations, the home and surrounding estate reopened in 2016 and is available, on occasion, for private tours and special visits. “It was a place that inspired Christian Dior,” says Bourdelier. “When you enter the château, you are immediately plunged into his imagination, his tastes, the surroundings of his life and his art de vivre.”
The reunification of Le Château de la Colle Noire and the house of Dior has given the brand an opportunity to honor its founder and allows admirers to fully immerse themselves in the designer’s life.