Welcome to the Château de la Boutinière blog! This is the place where we’ll post updates of our Chateau adventure, so bookmark the page and make sure to visit regularly.
We fell in love with the idea of owning a Chateau in France after stumbling over the Chateau DIY programme on Channel 4. As soon as we saw the lives that the people on that programme were creating, we fell in love with the idea of buying and restoring our own fairytale home. Little did we know 4 years later we’d be moving to a Chateau as beautiful as the Château de la Boutinière! We still can’t quite believe it!
But all fairytales have their dark side, and the process of buying the Château de la Boutinière certainly had a touch of Maleficent about it.
We looked at 20 chateaux that didn’t work out, including one where we got gazumped – we were devastated! Eventually though, it all worked out for the best when we came across our beautiful ‘Grande Dame’ on a historical website. We didn’t even know if it was for sale!
We weren’t in France at the time, so we sent a friend to push a note through the door. He called us when he got up the drive – after climbing over fallen trees! – to tell us, this was the one. We HAD to buy it.
It took 11 long months to complete the purchase, 7 of which we spent staying with friends and family as the wheels of the French property system ground slowly on. It was a huge relief when we finally took possession on the 1st October 2021.
When you see the photos of the Château it’s impossible not be blown away by its beauty. You can almost imagine the candlesticks are going to start talking to you, and Beauty might walk by with a book!
There’s a long way to go until Château de la Boutinière is restored to anything like her former glory, though. It had lain empty for 5 years after being repossessed by an Italian bank. Vandals had spray painted outside and inside and the roof had suffered from a major leak in the period between us signing the contract and completion. Luckily, this is covered by the seller’s insurance, but getting money from the bank’s insurers has been a process to say the least.
Despite all the setbacks, and there have definitely been tough days, we are absolutely thrilled with Chateau life and so, so pleased we had the courage to take the leap.
One thing’s for sure, it’s never dull! There’s always something to do! In one day, we’ll be perched on the roof mending a hole in the morning and renovating second-hand furniture we picked up at the market in the afternoon! We spend a LOT of time trying to stop water appearing in places where it isn’t welcome and trying to keep it where it should be!
We’ve also formed a crazy affection for our old boiler. It’s the original so we are determined to keep it, but let’s just say it has a mind of its own. Thankfully, we’ve had help from a truly delightful
elderly handyman called Patrice. He speaks about as much English as Zion speaks French, but with much arm waving and many cups of tea they’ve become firm friends!
We have such a strong vision for how Château de la Boutinière will look when we’re finished – if we’re ever finished! – and the whole project consumes us from morning to night. But we’re so happy to be on this journey and we can’t wait to share it with you.
Next time, hear more about the restoration. For now, take care and check out our Gallery!