Those of you who like to dream big when dreaming of France, will most likely enjoy the website of Chateau de Gudanes. The story it shares reads like a modern day fairytale. An adventurous Australian couple traveled to France in hopes of finding a humble farmhouse to restore in the French countryside. Unsuccessful, they had almost given up on their search when they stumbled onto a beautiful but crumbling 18th century neoclassical chateaux hidden away in a low valley of the Pyrénées mountains.
It was love at first sight. Karina & Craig Waters bought the property & with the help of family & friends have begun the laborious work of bringing this magnificent relic of the past back to its former glory.
Without any previous experience, Karina was determined to spearhead the renovation herself. Using as many original materials as possible & sometimes actually digging through the rubble with her bare hands, Karina's mission is to stay true to the authenticity of this forgotten historical monument.
If only these walls could talk. The chateaux was built by the Marquis de Sales, who commissioned the famous Parisian architect known for the Petit Trianon at the Palace of Versailles, Ange-Jacques Gabriel, for the design.
In its day these grand staircases & elegant rooms hosted lavish parties with guests from the French aristocracy & celebrities of the day, such as Voltaire.
It is hard not to admire the Walkers for taking on this formidable renovation project, which is clearly a labor of love for them. It is fascinating to follow along on the official website, where you can read about the work in progress, the history of the chateaux, as well as Karina's perspective on life as an expat in France.
So if you are Dreaming of France why not dream big, & be sure to check out what others are dreaming of too.