November 22, 2011; Source: The TelegraphThe village of Lacoste in France has a population of 450, so it is small and very rural. Until recently, it may have been most notable to outsiders as home to the castle of the Marquis DeSade. This property, along with twenty-two others, however, have now been bought up by fashion mogul and philanthropist Pierre Cardin, who is apparently transforming the village into a high-end artists colony, complete with a golf course.

He has placed “modernist sculptures in its cobbled streets, art galleries and guesthouses in several local buildings, and launched an annual theatre festival in an abandoned Roman quarry.” But the opening of the theater festival was disrupted by farmers who were angry about Cardin’s golf course plans.

Cardin, 89, was unfazed, saying to the BBC, “personally I pay no attention to what the people say. They are just jealous.” Not all of the town’s residents are unhappy with the incursion, expressing gratitude that Cardin is bringing jobs and tourist dollars.—Ruth McCambridge