Kim, Kanye kick off pre-wedding festivities at French chateau

American reality TV star Kim Kardashian (centre) and American singer Kanye West (right) leave their residence in Paris on May 23, 2014, ahead of their wedding. West and his bride-to-be lunched on May 23 at a French chateau owned by iconic designer Va
American reality TV star Kim Kardashian (centre) and American singer Kanye West (right) leave their residence in Paris on May 23, 2014, ahead of their wedding. West and his bride-to-be lunched on May 23 at a French chateau owned by iconic designer Valentino, kicking off a marathon celebration expected to culminate in the wedding of the year. -- PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Kanye West and his bride-to-be Kim Kardashian lunched Friday at a French chateau owned by iconic designer Valentino, kicking off a marathon celebration expected to culminate in the wedding of the year.

The 33-year-old reality TV star, one of the world's most recognised faces, and her rapper beau were accompanied by their baby and Kardashian's mother Kris Jenner to the bash at Valentino's historic estate.

The Chateau de Wideville lies west of Paris. The sleepy hamlet where it is located was abuzz as several black sedans rolled into the magnificent property and journalists scrambled to catch sight of the celebrity pair.

A source involved in the event said the couple had requested that the cars transporting their entourage be sprayed with Chanel perfume inside.

Kim Kardashian sported an ornate lace gown with a plunging neckline while Kanye West, 36, was togged in a dark blue suit matched up with a black leather shirt.

A helicopter hovered over the chateau, whose origins go back to the 17th century, but few turned up near its imposing gates to catch a glimpse of the couple.

After lunch, the couple were scheduled pay a private visit to the Chateau of Versailles, easily France's best known palace and home to France's "Sun King" Louis XIV.

They had originally wanted to get married there but were denied permission.

Kardashian and West have rented out the 16th-century Fort Belvedere in Florence for a celebration on Saturday, fuelling speculation that this could be their wedding.

Of the handful of people gathered around Valentino's property on Friday, was a local woman taking a quick lunch break.

"One never knows, maybe they will take pity on the three fans outside and take a photograph with us," she said laughing.

The couple and their entourage are due to fly out to Florence on a private plane and carry on their festivities in Florence.

The circus could earn them up to US$21 million (S$26.3 million) thanks to sponsors and through the sale of exclusive photos of the ceremony, according to press reports.

On Thursday night, Kim Kardashian celebrated her bachelorette do with her friends in Paris, sporting a white Balmain mini dress embellished with pearls.

The quilted dress was reportedly inspired by a Faberge egg that Hollywood legend Elizabeth Taylor received from iconic actor Richard Burton.

Kardashian has tweeted several photos of her in the city, including one with the Eiffel Tower lit up behind her and her friends with the message: 'Night out in Paireeeeee.'

One showed her with her grandmother while yet another of her and her friends bore the message "I'm so lucky! I have the best friends in the whole wide world."

But many were singularly unimpressed like a Dutch tourist, who only gave her first name - Christine.

"I think this whole thing is absolutely crazy," she said, speaking outside the couple's luxury Paris hotel on Thursday night.

"This woman has become famous by doing nothing! It's vastly overblown!" she said.

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