How is this for a fixer-upper? Built in the mid 1700s, Chateau de Gudanes looks like the stuff out of romance novels; the real life story of an Australian family who decided to buy and renovate this property certainly would make a fantastic movie. Designed by Parisian architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel, this Class 1 Historic Monument resides in the small village of Chateau-Verdun.
The story goes like this: The Chateau was built “on behalf of Louis Gaspard de Sales, Marquis de Gudanes. Gaspard, also known as the “King of the Pyrénées”, was an influential member of the Toulouse Parliament, and ironmaster of the Ariége.” Over many years in the time of the religious wars, Chateau de Gudanes suffered tremendous neglect. Among the many problem areas, the roof collapsed in four places which resulted in severe water damage, mould and destruction. It was said that most of the interior space became rubble due to the ceiling, wall and floor collapse.
While this was happening Craig and Karina Waters were happily going about their lives. Their son discovered the estate online and after four years on the real estate market, and two years negotiating, the Chateau found new owners. Restorations began in November 2013.
The idea is not to create a pretentious museum, as they put it, but rather “a place to visit, reconnect with the earth and people, and restore the senses. It won’t be about overcrowding the walls with paintings or overflowing the floors with furnishings, but will be relatively minimalistic – a place to simply rest, breathe and enjoy the calm.” Can you imagine the weddings they’ll be hosting there? Pretty magical if you ask me.
What an amazing life experience to have? I’ve always had a fascination with the ruins and remains of once-great places. As a writer I’m obviously very drawn to this idea and perhaps in another life this would make a great chapter in my life.
See the video of Chateau de Gudanes below and click here to see their amazing Instagram account.
Craig and Karina Waters. Photo by Carla Coulson, at Carla Loves Photography.