Chateau de Gudanes: A Grand Lady Reigns Again

And just like that, Craig and Karina Waters rounded a bend and fell into a fairy tale.  

They’d been searching for a French farmhouse to renovate, but what rose before them was a lady of grand proportions—Cinderella’s palace falling into spectacular ruin.

They looked at each other. It was love at first sight.

Two years and mountains of red tape later, Chateau de Gudanes was theirs. Karina remembers those halcyon days like the start of a relationship. Everything felt magical, despite the lack of power, plumbing, and water. They started by clearing 500 tons of rubble from the inside.

At first, Karina and Craig thought they could go back and forth from their home in Perth, Australia. But the project’s magnitude soon made that impossible. They decided Karina would stay and oversee the restoration work while Craig returned to his surgery practice in Perth.

Karina admits, “I have had sleepless nights in fear. There have been moments of hesitation and self-loathing.” But her commitment to honoring this grand lady’s beauty and history keeps her going.

The Chateau started life as a 13th-century fortress. By the 16th century, she became a turreted castle. In 1741, Louis Gaspard de Sales, Marquis de Gudanes, hired Parisian architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel (also responsible for Paris’s Place de la Concorde) to build the new chateau. He completed it in 1750. De Sales threw splendid parties for his guests, who included the playwright Voltaire. 

Chateau de Gudanes’ heyday lasted only 39 years. The French Revolution brought a violent end to the aristocratic lifestyle. The government executed the chateau owners and confiscated their lands. Chateau de Gudanes luckily fell into the hands of a middle-class businessman and his descendants. They still occupied the Chateau during World War II.

In 1989, a Syndicate purchased it with plans to create a luxury hotel. But in 1994, the French Ministry of Culture classified the Chateau as a historical monument. The Syndicate couldn’t go ahead, so they let the Chateau fall to ruin.

By 2011, when Karina and Craig first laid on eyes on it, the Chateau had been on the market for over four years. They only saw the facade and had no idea what awaited them inside.

Karina Tells Her Story

Join The Dream

Would you like to be a part of this magnificent dream?

In Summer 2018, for the second year, Karina and Craig will open the Chateau to guests and all proceeds from your visit will assist the Chateau’s restoration. They offer three options that highlight either baking, antiquing, or restoration sprinkled with hikes, yoga, and sightseeing. 

There’s no wifi or electricity. You’ll read and drink wine by candlelight and see millions of stars at night because there’s no light pollution. 

It sounds absolutely heavenly. Here are highlights from the prior getaways:

You can discover more about the Summer 2018 getaways here, follow the Chateau’s lovely Instagram feed here, or connect on Facebook and YouTube.


“The past—clear and defined, the present—expect chaos…and the future—a surprise!”


Chateau de Gudanes Motto

In This Issue

Winter 2017


* Embracing Our Sovereignty (Now!)

Exploring the Gaian Tarot (Coming Soon)


Frida Kahlo: Fashion as the Art of Being (Coming Soon)

Oscar Wilde vs. the Corset (Coming Soon)



* Chateau de Gudanes: A Grand Lady Reigns Again (Now!)

Casa Bohemia and Beyond (Coming Soon)


* Evelyn de Morgan's Alchemical Visions of Aging (Now!)

Flamenco's Gypsy Queens (Coming Soon)

 Goddess Lore

When Money Was A Goddess (Coming Soon)

The Path to Brigid's Forge (Coming Soon)

Myth & Fairy Tale

Honoring the 25th Anniversary of Women Who Run with the Wolves (Coming Soon)

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