Bringing the Stately @cheateaugudanes Back to Life
For more photos and videos from the restoration of the chateau as it progresses, follow @chateaugudanes on Instagram.
When Australian couple Karina and Craig Waters began the search for a French cottage, they had little idea of the adventure they would ultimately find: restoring the regal Chateau de Gudanes (@chateaugudanes).
As they embarked on their venture in French real estate, the options they turned up were disheartening—so much so that they nearly abandoned the dream. After their son stumbled upon an online listing for a large abandoned chateau in the Pyrénées, however, they ventured back to France.
"We had no idea where the Pyrénées were geographically," Karina explains. "We drove from Paris to Toulouse then headed towards the Midi-Pyrénées. By the time we drove past fields of sunflowers, towards snow capped mountains linking earth to heaven and then entered the little village and saw the chateau tucked gently in a glorious valley, we were speechless. We made an offer a couple of days later."
At long last, they had found Chateau de Gudanes, a stately home and grounds that dated back to the 13th century before being reconstructed by famed French architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel as a lavish home for the Marquis Louis Gaspard de Sales.
The dilapidated chateau required substantial work after years of disuse—an undertaking Karina and her family have embraced wholeheartedly. With nearly 100 rooms including a central chapel and a newly discovered underground chamber beneath the basement, the challenges of structural renovation form a constant process around which Karina has developed an eager community on Instagram. “I make a coffee, post a photo and then hours later from the other side of the world, I receive a comment from someone saying, ‘This is the best part of my day, making a coffee and seeing what the photo is for today.’ I love being here onsite, sharing what I love, experiencing it and knowing that someone else feels the same way.”