On a lighter note, still in France, I recently came across the enchanting Château de Gudanes.
This is a château built on the site of an earlier fortress in the Pyrenees by the Marquis Louis Gaspard de Sales, who in 1750 commissioned Parisian architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel (whose later works included the Petit Trianon at Versailles and Place de la Concorde in Paris) to design it. Lavish parties were held there, with guests including Voltaire.
In the 1990s, the empty 94-room château fell into disrepair, and by 2011 many ceilings and floors had collapsed. But then it was bought by an Australian couple, Karina and Craig Waters from Perth, who had been looking for somewhere in France as a holiday home, and fell in love with it at first sight, even though it was much bigger than what they’d been looking for.
Fortunately, because the château was a Class 1 Historic Monument, the French government had already repaired the roof by the time they took possession in 2012, but many of the internal rooms were blocked with debris.
If ever there were written words, that made the most sense of this whole adventure, then these would be it –
“It’s impossible,” said pride;
“It’s risky,” said experience;
“It’s pointless,” said reason;
“Give it a try,” whispered the heart… (author unknown)
Karina Waters took over the management of the repair and restoration, and started a Facebook page chronicling progress, showing scenes like this:
Hidden chambers were found.
Beautiful details emerged, like this ceiling centrepiece and chandelier hook above the main staircase:
The adventure gained a wide following on Facebook, and support and encouragement on social media.
As the consolidation, and work on the Château began, so did the international interest on the blog and social media sites. Simultaneously it felt as if the Château was waking from a long, shaken sleep, feeling the love and nurture world-wide.
The work is still in progress. The photo above, of the main entrance and hall and staircase, was added only recently, after a year of reconstruction work.
And here’s a airborne drone video of the château: