Is Patrick Melrose’s Family Estate in France Real?

‘Patrick Melrose,’ the Showtime drama show exploring the relationship between trauma and its subsequent unhealthy aftermath, tells the story of a high-class Englishman who is in the trenches of substance abuse. After facing years of abuse at his father’s hands, Patrick Melrose turns to drugs— from cocaine to heroin— as a coping mechanism in his adult life. For the same reason, as soon as he learns about his father’s passing, the man decides to undertake the challenging decision of sobriety. Thus, walking a long and arduous path, Patrick spends the decades to come trying to piece his life together.

The show features narratively cohesive flashbacks into Patrick’s childhood, sharing an account of the young boy’s life under his father’s abuse and mother’s neglectful denial. As such, the Melrose Family Estate— situated in Southern France— becomes a scenic addition to the story that brings a chilling reality to life.

Le Plan: The Inspiration Behind The Melrose Family Estate in France

The show, ‘Patrick Melrose,’ originates from the eponymous novel series written by Edward St. Aubyn. The author mined his own life and experiences as inspiration for Patrick Melrose’s character and storyline, using the latter as an alter ego of his own self. Therefore, most elements within St. Aubyn’s work— and subsequently the Showtime TV show— remain reflective of his own reality. Thus, the French Melrose Family Estate, wherein Patrick’s horrid childhood unfolds, has a basis in a real-life place.


In reality, St. Aubyn’s parents— Roger and Lorna— moved to the Provence region of France shortly after the boy’s birth. As such, the boy grew up in Le Plan, the family’s estate near Toulon that spanned 80 acres. As per reports by the Daily Mail, the estate— surrounded by mountains— consisted of a 17th-century convent, chapel, and seven houses. Furthermore, visitors and friends of the family were a frequent phenomenon in Le Plan, including people like philosopher A J Ayer’s son, Nick Ayer, and Oliver James, who went on to become good friends with St. Aubyn.

However, despite the idyllic location of the St. Aubyns’ Le Plan, the estate remained an incredibly venomous backdrop for the author’s traumatic upbringing. In the same estate, Edward “Teddy” St. Aubyn endured years of abuse, bullying, and rape by his father, while his mother remained oblivious— willfully or otherwise— to her family’s reality. As such, from the general location to sentimental significance, Le Plan stands as a real-life counterpart for the Melrose family estate, introduced in St. Aubyn’s writing and brought to the screen through the show.

On the other hand, there are also physical real-life counterparts behind the on-screen Melrose family estate, where the location’s filming for ‘Patrick Melrose’ took place. Notably, the Chateau Unang outside the village of Malemort-du-Comtat in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region serves as a filming location for the estate of Patrick’s childhood. The Chateau Unang sports a marvelous 18th-century mansion with a vineyard that provides a scenic spot of monetary escape for Patrick within the show. Therefore, the Melrose Family Estate possesses tangible ties in reality. Even though an identical location may not exist in real life, the estate sports multiple real-life counterparts, infusing itself with realism and authenticity.

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