From thr Chateau du Gudanes. France:
Some wonderful events have been under preparation during the global lockdown.. Nobody I know has been more affected by the sudden change in world conditions than this Australian family who were putting everything into this new home and lifestyle in France,
They have used the time well to put together some cultural events that will make lilfetime memories.
Karina, who prefers to just use this name on here, tells their story below: Some time ago I wrote When Living the Dream Means Change long before Karina wrote the actual story of how they have been faring. I love being an unobtrusive bystander as someone else lives the dream I never actually dreamt was possible.: Editor.
At the Château the sun is still shining and the trees are alive with birdsong bidding farewell to the last blooms of the garden – roses, lavender and anemones all unfolding in a final display of colour…And amongst this warmth and sunshine, following the challenges we have all faced over the last year and more, we feel it is a fitting time to now look forward with more hope for the
Bonjour from Château de Gudanes.We hope that …you are keeping well and enjoying a lovely ending to the summertime.
And so, we thought that today may be a lovely opportunity to share with you all the happenings at the Château and we do hope that this will be a welcome surprise in your mailbox.
To begin in February… of last year! An important meeting with the Historical Monuments of France was scheduled and a group of ten were to travel from Toulouse to inspect the Château. We received a very official letter in December urgently requesting this visit as they heard we had been undertaking work without permission!
The Château being a Class I Historical Monument requires permission from all three levels of this government organisation in order to carry out any work no matter how small. Knowing well this fact, and that they are legally able to seize the property from us if they are unhappy, we haven’t been undertaking any work over the last years as we have still been patiently waiting to hear back from them for more permits – so far four years and counting!
Fortunately, emergency works are exempt and when we explained the only work we had done was to re-build a wall that had completely fallen in, and also to add several bathrooms which were necessary to inhabit the property, they were very understanding. You may remember in 2018 how this wall fell in the middle of a cold winter night, destroying all of the gardens below and almost taking the Château kitchen with itIt took a year to engineer and re-build the wall making sure that each and every stone was carefully placed to resemble the original and to seem as if it had been there foreverYou may also remember that in 2019 we completely re-furbished one room to create three beautiful, new 18th Century inspired bathrooms with traditional fittings and fixtures from Burlington, Sanitan and Herbeau and wallpaper from Antoinette Poisson. The bathrooms aren’t entirely finished – we still have the dressing area to be completed this yearThis room was converted into a bathroom space in the 1960s when the Château was used as a school holiday camp venue for local children. We decided to put new bathrooms in the same space as this made plumbing easier and also in this way we didn’t have to modify other more historically important areas to add bathrooms or change the structure of any other roomsAnd as it turned out, when the Historical Monuments visited they were so thrilled with the work they felt they could trust us enough to give us permission to go ahead in other areas without applying for further permits. After so many years this was a great relief to hear.
In January of this year we have been continuing on with the work from the consolidation phase. The first storey in the Renaissance section of the Château was where we decided to start. We began by treating both the old and new beams and then painted the new French beamed ceilings that we installed in some places earlier. Many of the rooms in this area have hand-painted Renaissance beams and so we researched Renaissance paint colours and palettes to find colours that would fit with this style and respect this period time. We chose a light golden peach and grey blue.
In several of the rooms, where the walls were too uneven and rocky, we installed plasterboard and have since finished priming, plastering and painting these too…In the same rooms, we installed flooring – terracotta tiles in some areas and old wooden floorboards in others. Terracotta tiles were originally laid in these rooms in the 18th Century and we relaid the terracotta using the same pattern. Though much more plastering of old mouldings, treating of beams and flooring still remains to be done, optimistically we hope the first floor will be largely finished before the end of the year!
Then, we will return to work on the ground floor…
Meanwhile, in the garden things have been growing equally as fast!
We began by developing a garden plan for the whole estate. There are about 12 acres to consider with ancients orchids, woodlands and terraces.
Overall, the concept for the gardens are to mirror the restoration of the interior of the Château. It’s about keeping the freedom, the natural state and the wilderness of the gardens as they currently are while just enhancing them a little.
And so, I have been spending most of the evening light clearing, weeding, mowing and planting. I have now been at the Château for over a year on my own, and with Australia still in lockdown from international travel, spending time creating in the garden has been an important way to keep my mind occupied and constructive as I am separated from my family.
Since early spring I have planted and seeded an array of fruits, vegetables, flowers and trees. Both a mix of more mature plants as well as some we hope will grow over time.
I have even created a pond! This is the first of two that we plan to have in the gardens. The second will be a bit larger and have a natural, Monet inspired bridge!
Recently some beautiful old statues have been added which will be focal points of several allées and paths that have been created by planting magnolia and Japanese cherry trees. And at the base of these statues clematis have been planted so that each summer they will be beautifully dressed in blossom…All of this has been in the earnest hope to finish more work in advance of next year, when the Château will finally be able to welcome guests to stay once again.
It has been with much excitement and anticipation that we have recently released our 2022 program for bookings. And in addition to our annual 7 Starry Nights, Cooking In The Cuisine and Weekender Stays in 2022 we are very excited to share that the Château will be hosting two new experiences…
In June 2022 for the very first time the Château will host a weekend of classical music bringing together a chamber ensemble of twelve classical artists from around the world for a formal concert by candlelight in the Château’s 18th Century gold gilded music room. Following the concert a formal dinner will be held in the Château’s Dining Room. The next day there will be a musical program of charming classical favourites as we picnic together in the Château jardins. And then the day after, a wonderful night spent at another magnificent Château close-by!
And in late August the Château will be hosting its very first fine art retreat! Under the tutelage of two fine art tutors, our guests, both debutantes and experienced artists, will be able to explore and grow their artistry inspired by the beauty both within and outside the Château… If you would like to know more about the Château’s 2022 stays we kindly invite you to click the button below to visit the Château website:Château Stays 2022We are also very excited to now announce our 2022 tour dates and are looking forward to welcoming visitors from around the world to join us on a historical tour of the Château! Revealing the story and unlocking the secrets of this historical monument dating all the way from the 13th Century to the present as she undergoes her restoration.
If you would like to read more about our 2022 tours you may wish to click the button below to visit the dedicated page on the Château website:Château Tours 2022If you aren’t able to join us in person, you may wish to to know that there is now the possibility to visit Château de Gudanes virtually from wherever you may be in the world!
You may remember over Christmastime with the purchase of any item on Shop The Château we offered the opportunity for customers to take a complementary online tour. Sharing the history of the Château, current restoration and secret discoveries!
So far, we have released the first part of this tour and will soon be releasing part 2.
However, whilst we work on this second part we thought that in the meantime you may like another opportunity to join us at the Château from afar.
And so, part 1 (of 2) of the Château de Gudanes Online Historical Tour is now available to purchase on Shop The Château for a donation of €8 to the restoration. And of course, part 2 will be available to order soon.
In part 1 of the tour we begin by sharing our own personal journey of how our family discovered the property and began the restoration of this historic building. Sharing never before seen photos and video of the Château in ruins before we decided to purchase it…The salle à manger before the restoration work beganAn ‘after’ photo of the salle à manger, which is still a work in progressAnd then, we travel back in time to the 13th Century when the first stones of the Château were laid. Sharing both the inside and the outside estate of gardens, orchids and woodlands. Both fact and fairytale and piecing together the mysteries of the past!
To join us on this tour we invite you to click the button below:Château de Gudanes Online TourWith this final news our latest update from the Château draws to a close. We sincerely look forward to reaching out again soon with more updates about the gardens and restoration work that are in progress. In the meantime, we hope that you have a beautiful and warm rest of the summer season and beginning of fall.
With our warmest wishes,
Karina, Jasmine and the Château Family x