Enchanted Château

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:


gudanes6aAs the rubble was cleared away, old wallpaper and painted joists began to appear from beneath broken plaster.

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.

The Facebook page and the Instagram page have hundreds of photos, both inside and outside. And also reports and comments. The château has also featured in several magazines:

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:


About Frank Davis

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21 Responses to Enchanted Château

  1. Some other Tom says:


  2. Indeed Id make a smokers retreat out of it……………………

  3. Some French bloke says:

    While Luz keeps on lighting up, it also seems that ‘Willem’ still has all his wits about him:

    By Gemma Mullin for MailOnline
    Published: 01:56 GMT, 11 January 2015

    “One of the surviving Charlie Hebdo cartoonists has scoffed at the surge in support for the satirical magazine after the attack, which killed eight of his colleagues and four other victims.

    Bernard Holtrop, who was not in the office during the massacre on Wednesday, admitted the publication’s new found fame was ‘laughable’ and comes from people who have ‘never seen it’.

    The Dutch-born artist reportedly said the provocative weekly had unexpected ‘new friends’ including the Pope, Queen Elizabeth and Vladimir Putin.

    He told Dutch newspaper Volkskrant: ‘We vomit on all these people who suddenly say they are our friends,’ and added that most of the support has come from people who have ‘never seen Charlie Hebdo.’

    Holtrop, who uses the pen name Willem, also admitted he did not attend the office on Wednesday when two gunmen stormed the building because he didn’t like editorial meetings.

    ‘I never come to the editorial meetings because I don’t like them. I guess that saved my life,’ he told French newspaper Libération.

    ‘It really makes me laugh,’ he added. ‘A few years ago, thousands of people took to the streets in Pakistan to demonstrate against Charlie Hebdo. They didn’t know what it was. Now it’s the opposite.’

    He also stressed that the magazine must continue to publish ‘otherwise [the Islamists] have won’.”


    Original article in Dutch: “Willem Holtrop lacht om zijn nieuwe vrienden” by Ariejan Korteweg.

    • Next time they will use a truck bomb right thru the front doors and take out the whole building………….Don’t thing they wont! Mass deportation of all these muslims is about the only way to get the johadist cells imported and created in country gone.

  4. Smoking Lamp says:

    Very cool château! It would make a great smoking lodge. Here in the US still a lot of movement toward total prohibition. The Antismokers are on overdrive.

    There are a couple articles of interest though. The first “Smoking in bars a comfort to some, repellant to others,” at the Shreveport, Louisiana Times. It presents a more balanced report than usual but still reinforces the tobacco control lies about SHS. http://www.shreveporttimes.com/story/news/local/2015/01/11/smoking-bars-comfort-repellant-others/21585929/

    At Gambit-The Blog of New Orleans, “New Orleans City Council to host town hall meeting on smoking ban” there is an update on the NOLA situation. http://www.bestofneworleans.com/blogofneworleans/archives/2015/01/09/new-orleans-city-council-members-to-host-town-hall-meeting-on-smoking-ban

  5. Smoking Lamp says:

    Just saw this from last month. It is a report about the abject failure of a CRUK crowdfunding initiative. CRUK tried to raise finds for three initiatives but only reached 10% of their goal: “The skin cancer project, which had been hoping to raise £75,000, raised £6,824; the lung cancer project raised £3,059 of its £75,000 goal and the immune system project raised £2,564 out of a targeted £40,000.”

    Perhaps the UK public is weary of their tobacco control and lifestyle disease lies and gross attempts for social control.

    I wonder would a crowd funding initiative the reverse the smoking ban gain any traction?

    See: “CRUK crowdfunding effort flop,” Civilsociety.co.uk, 15 December 2014 at http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/fundraising/news/content/18767/cruk_crowdfunding_effort_flops

  6. Smoking Lamp says:

    Another interesting study on smoking and Multiple Myeloma. This study finds NO link between smoking and Multiple Myeloma: “Cigarette smoking is not a risk factor for multiple myeloma, according to the results of a pooled analysis of nine case-control studies published in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention.” – See more at: http://www.cancernetwork.com/multiple-myeloma/smoking-not-risk-factor-multiple-myeloma#sthash.9RYMzDlk.dpuf

    • A Davis says:

      If humans were meant to smoke, God would have made their noses go up like a chimney. It’s very unhealthy for the lungs. I knew of a 19yr old that died from lung cancer. A very painful way to go. Smoking is not smart, regardless of how much you may enjoy it. It’s also terribly expensive. Feed the starving and save your health!

  7. Obamacare Problems? Now in Hands of IRS

    ZEROCARE update

    To facilitate this the IRS has developed some spanking new forms for the benefit of us all. The primary form you must have in hand is a 1095 form. To make matters more complicated, the IRS could not live with one universal 1095 form; they had to develop three: A, B and C. A is for those receiving their insurance through the Obamacare websites, B is issued by insurance companies to people who have their own plans and C is for employees of large companies. Then there is another form (8965) if you have an exemption from having to have coverage.

    The “Shared Responsibility Penalty.” Wow, some wonk worked ages to come up with that Orwellian name. Didn’t the Supreme Court determine that was a tax? What was Judge Roberts thinking?
    We then get into the Premium Assistance Credit (PAC). That is what those people who go on the Obamacare website are told will reduce their premiums if they are income qualified. This has created a phenomenon rarely ever seen in our country. This has Americans working hard to reduce their income to reduce their health insurance premiums. Or others trying to falsely increase income to avoid being on Medicaid.


    • Can I Go to Jail for Not Paying the Fee?

      The IRS cannot enforce the Individual Shared Responsibility Provision with jail time, liens, or any other of typical methods of collection. The only way for the IRS to collect the fee for not having health insurance, if you choose not to pay it, is for them to withhold the money you would get back (Federal Income Tax Refund) from the IRS after you file your income tax return

      This is what they say now and so far the zerocare groups are only paying out 47 cents on the dollar billed to providers.

      • Well it appears no more child credit big ass tax returns for single moms with 2 kids each year. My sister in law averaged 8-10 grand a year for the credit………A business in itself,it paid to get knocked up and never marry,plus you got to collect dead beat dad dollars or watch the poor sum bytch get his face plastered across the news papers and then incarcerated. All for what?

        No wonder going Fag is fashionable these days,Oh but lets not forget Palimony awards! LOL

  8. Smoking Lamp says:

    Well at least they made it official: The Times-Picayune came out in favor of the smoking ban in an editorial today. See “Smoking ban in New Orleans would make for a healthier city: Editorial” at http://www.nola.com/politics/index.ssf/2015/01/smoking_ban_in_new_orleans_wou.html

  9. Smoking Lamp says:

    Iconic Hobokon, NJ Bar Closes: “Last call for Stinky Sullivan’s”

    The local tavern fell victim to the statewide smoking ban among other changes including moving the St. Patrick’s Day Parade to Wednesday to calm revelers.


  10. Smoking Lamp says:

    Good rebuttal on Australian Plain Packs: A Two-Year Review

    “Australia tobacco market: Lessons following the second anniversary of the ban on cigarette branding”

    Last week Australia marked the second anniversary of its ban on cigarette branding. Given that the ban was, in essence, a virgin policy with little known consequences, it is worth reflecting on these last two years and see what lessons can be drawn from the introduction of the ban.

    First of all, the plain packaging rules, combined with the more stringent legislation, including tax excise increases, plain packaging, retail display bans and advertising bans have certainly added pressure on the Australian tobacco industry. The Australian government’s stated aim is to reduce the national smoking rate to 10% by 2018 and will work towards this goal with anti-smoking campaigns and consider further regulations. Tobacco retail volume and value sales were anticipated to decline, in line with decreased smoking prevalence and consumer shift to roll-your-own tobacco or economy brands.

    But has the policy helped to achieve the government’s stated aims? The situation is far from being clear cut, as some have reported in the media. Sales data from the first year of plain packaging shows that sales volumes in Australia have increased by 59 million cigarettes. In addition, data from the Australian Government’s National Drugs Strategy Household Survey 2013 indicates that the number of 12 to 17-year olds who smoke daily increased from 2.5 per cent in 2010 to 3.4 per cent in 2013. Australia Tobacco MarketIt seems hat flights of fancy now count as evidence-based policy in the world of tobacco control.

    Sin taxes and advertising bans have become increasingly common and what happens to tobacco tends to happen to other consumer markets. Public health organisations around the world have been applying the blueprint of anti-tobacco regulation to other categories of products, including food and drink. In Australia, activists have been increasingly vocal in demanding that “junk food” be sold in generic packaging.

    Such restriction have the unavoidable effect of stoking the black market. Smuggled and counterfeit cigarettes have a significant impact on public health by virtue of being cheaper to buy. A KMPG report, published last month found that in the 12 months to June 2014 the volume of illicit tobacco consumption in Australia grew by 10 per cent and now represents 14.3 per cent of total tobacco consumption. Just as public health and the industry both suffer from a booming black market, so they both suffer from the crippling of premium brands.

    So what is the lesson from it all? We should not follow the anti-smoking lobby’s lead by making grand predictions about untried policies.


  11. Rose says:


    “mountain climbers short of breath often claim that smoking cigarettes makes them stronger.”

    That might explain why the Incas grew tobacco on their mountain terraces in Peru. I was watching a BBC iplayer documentary about them a few days ago. Of course, there was a lot of tut-tutting that they’d been stupid enough to grow useless and dangerous tobacco

    I saw that programme too and I’m afraid the presenter lost a lot of his credibility at that point, he had done all that study on irrigation methods but no research at all on the huge importance of tobacco in South America?

    Hard to believe.

    “Perhaps the most important use of tobacco in South American societies was as a medicine. Its mild analgesic and antiseptic properties rendered it ideal for treatment of minor ailments such as toothache, when its leaves would be packed around the affected tooth, or wounds, when leaves or tobacco juice would be applied to the area.

    It was further believed to be an effective remedy for snake bites and, by extension, a charm to ward off snakes.
    In addition to healing such straightforward ailments, tobacco was employed to cure serious illnesses, and to comprehend its perceived virtues as a cure for fever, or cancer, it is necessary to examine the South American Indian conception of disease.

    They believed that diseases were caused by supernatural forces, in one of two manners. These were either: (1) intrusion — a form of possession, whereby an evil spirit or object had entered the body of the sufferer, making them ill; or (2) soul loss, whereby ‘the sufferer’s soul was believed to be drawn away, and/or to have wandered off into reaches of the supernatural world, often into the land of the dead’. In order to be capable of curing diseases defined in these terms, South American witch doctors, or shamans, underwent a rigorous spiritual training to enable them to undertake ‘vision quests’, in the course of which they might identify the cause of the disease, and either eject the evil intruder, or retrieve the wandering soul, and thus restore the sufferer to health.”

    I had a better, more detailed account of Mayan, Inca, Aztec tobacco use than that newspaper article but try as I might I can’t find it, if anyone remembers the bit about fathers wearing a pouch of tobacco to protect their infants, please tell me.

    In place of that –

    Medical Uses of Tobacco Past and Present

    So however difficult the terrain, they would have been sure to make space for tobacco of some variety or other.

    • Rose says:

      Apart from that incident, I found The Inca : Masters of the Clouds, a very interesting programme and I look forward to the next part.

  12. garyk30 says:

    Lovely old place.
    If only the walls could speak.

  13. Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

    The Ninth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects all of the rights of the people that are not mentioned specifically elsewhere in the Constitution. It was a part of the original Bill of Rights drafted in 1787 and ratified in 1791. The rights protected are referred to as “unenumerated” rights, and include those inferred by other legal rights, as well as natural, fundamental, and background ones. It combines with the Tenth Amendment to protect the rights and situations not provided for in the previous eight amendments.

    This amendment is used to protect the citizenry from any expansion of governmental power because of the limited nature of the Bill of Rights. Because every right of the people of the United States could not possibly be mentioned in the Constitution, the Ninth Amendment was added to supplement those already mentioned. The amendment protects many rights implied in a universal civil code, and those that are linked to other rights already declared. It protects these personal liberties from state and federal infringement.

    The Supreme Court is bound by a common sense guide when interpreting the fundamentals of the rights covered by the amendment. They have in some cases used it to their advantage, declaring actions of the people as natural, unenumerated rights, like the right to abortion in Roe v. Wade. Others, Supreme Court judges among them, have argued that the amendment simply prohibits the denial of rights not mentioned in the first amendment. It does not, argued Antonin Scalia in 2000, give judges the power to determine what these additional rights are.

    The history of the Ninth Amendment was one of the most controversial of the Bill of Rights. It was strongly supported by Alexander Hamilton and James Madison. Many among the ratifying conventions in 1787 proposed the allowance for further amendments as the need for additional rights arose, which was implemented. For some, however, this was not enough. The Virginia Ratifying Convention attempted to appease the Federalists of Hamilton and Madison by proposing an amendment which would give Congress the power to make exceptions to rights not enumerated, but not to extend the powers of Congress.

    The first eight amendments of the Constitution provide for the means for Congress to address the rights listed. The Ninth, however, addresses the rights that have not been put into the hands of the governments, and these rights have been the subject of many Supreme Court decisions, as well as many arguments over levels of power and discretion in the higher ranks of the judicial and executive branches.

  14. Im starting to wonder have some of our pro smoking folks been bought off by the vaping companies. Its truly looking that way and they are adamant about this conjured up harm reduction promotional stunt anymore. Its like a new attack plan by vapors thinking they can still slide in with the Nazis and then they leave us smokers to the Nazi onslaught of exaggerated claims. Even when they all know the Nazis are after them worse than they are smokers anymore. Somethings up.

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