Australian Couple Purchase Abandoned 1700s Chateau and Find Historic Treasures Within
There is a forgotten landmark and historical dwelling in the deep valley of the French Pyrenees in the village of Chateau-Verdun known as the Chateau de Gudanes. The estate was built in the 1740’s on a site with remains of “the wars of religion.” Louis Gaspard de Sales, Marquis de Gudanes, who was one of the wealthiest noblemen of the county built Château de Gudanes circa 1745 after the death of his father and inheritance of the title and land.
The 1700s chateau was designed by Parisian architect Ange-Jacques Gabriel – famous for the Le Petit Trianon and Place de la Concorde. This abandoned and neglected chateau steeped in early French aristocracy had been on the market for four years until an Australian couple discovered it on the internet and decided to make it their home. When Karina and Craig Waters signed on the dotted line, the only catch was they were never allowed to see more than the front facade. They began their restoration of the monument with no idea what treasures from the past they would unearth. In their plans for this massive undertaking they hoped to preserve as much of the original detailing and paint as possible, such as a monogrammed wrought iron balcony fence with a history of its own. It was estimated to have been added approximately 1870 to 1875 by Charlotte d’Astrié and her politician husband, Charles Jean de Limairac who took over Chateau de Gudanes. The monogram contains an intertwined “C, A and L.” While tackling the rubble and collapsed roof – not to mention years of water damage and mold – they came upon a mysterious hole and decided to investigate. They learned the “hole” has a vaulted ceiling, and is speculated to be part of a tunnel leading into the town. They also discovered an ancient find on a pillar in the first floor salon of the 1700s chateau, which appears to be parchment with names etched onto it. As the rehabilitation of Chateau de Gudanes continues it remains to be seen what other treasures will be found. Definition.org reached out to Chateau de Gudanes on Facebook for comment.