N THE EDGE OF A CHARMING VILLAGE NESTLED IN LUSH
countryside, you turn a corner and suddenly before you
appears the enchanting Château de Gurat.
Built of local limestone with two wings spread at
right angles from a central circular tower, it is stunning!
An ancient oak door at the bottom of the tower, studded with iron
nails, was once the entrance. These days entry is from a sun-bathed
south facing terrace - awash with roses - into the most generous
welcoming kitchen. From here you progress into an impressively
large, yet intimate, salon with enormous fireplace. The tower's stone
staircase winds up to a conical roof with exposed timbers - insulated
thanks to David's loving care - and two more storeys with four large
bedrooms all having views over the river and their 10 acres of countryside - it's a fantastic
"We'd been looking for a château for months," Nicki explains.
"The minute we arrived, we took one look and knew we'd come
Dating back to the 15th century, while much history has been
lost in mists of time, their understanding is it was built by the Duke
d'Épernon - master of the château at nearby Villebois-Lavalette - for
his son. Engraved in stone over the old door is an heraldic device,
there's also a painted shield above the main fireplace, the former
damaged, it's believed, during the French Revolution. =This place is
ancient, the church beside the château is 10th century with Crusaders'
crosses carved in its walls, and below is a monolithic church!
For this enterprising couple, the story doesn't stop at their
château door - a separate wing - le petit château - is the first of
six superb gîtes all generously sized and fully equipped for families. There's
a beautiful pool and many other activities arranged for
guests set within their immaculately tended gardens.
David masterminds their gîtes, Nicki creates the interiors. With
a total of 17 bedrooms it provides very generous accomodation.
"We decided to cater specifically for families and open from April to
October, with many guests returning year on year. We love the lifestyle,
amazing local produce and, of course, the weather! Both our
children have had a wonderful education right through to university
here - it's just been idyllic!"
This property is currently for sale through Leggett Immobilier property
Château de Gurat
"Our plan was to live here for 10
years - 16 years later we still love it!"
Nicki and David Needham