Europe

Gerard Depardieu throws house-warming barbecue in Belgium

  • 24 August 2013
  • From the section Europe
Media captionDepardieu was made an honorary citizen of Estaimpuis ahead of the house-warming party

French film star Gerard Depardieu, who stirred up controversy by becoming a tax exile last year, has thrown a big housewarming barbecue in Belgium.

He invited some 200 people, including his new neighbours, to celebrate in the grounds of the five-bedroomed chateau he bought in Nechin in December.

Depardieu bought the property after France's Socialist government proposed a 75% tax rate on high incomes.

The tax hike was later blocked by France's highest court.

Since it was proposed last year, Depardieu has also taken on Russian citizenship, in a move much criticised in his home country.

Hailed as one of the finest actors of his generation for films that include Cyrano de Bergerac, the 64-year-old told reporters he was a "citizen of the world".

"I have worked around the world but I settled in Nechin," he said.

Saturday's feast reportedly featured T-bone steaks and suckling pig.

Earlier in the day, Depardieu was made an honorary citizen of Estaimpuis municipality, which includes Nechin.

Daniel Senesael, the mayor of Estaimpuis, said: "When he came to set up house here, he always told me that he wanted to do something nice with the neighbours.

"He kept his word. He bought his house, the neighbours were invited... and so I think it's great when you keep your promises... and you can mingle with Depardieu, what more do you want?"

Depardieu told France's Figaro magazine on Friday that the tax controversy had been "a big misunderstanding" and that he loved France "as much as ever".

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