We purchased Chateau Ribagnac in 2003, and our family is only the fourth to own it. It has
been traditionally owned by master porcelainiers, who enjoyed being at the epicentre of their trade, and so kept the chateau beautiful for their families. However, it was
last decorated in 1902 and the interior is Napoleon III, it having last been renovated at the turn of the eighteenth century. This means we have had to work hard to retain and
renew as much as possible so that the Chateau’s character can shine through. We have endeavoured to keep the style classic and simple but with a twist of our own, which
we hope you will enjoy.
We have searched far and wide to find the most appropriate furnishing for the Chateau whilst retaining as much of the original furniture as possible, and have enjoyed perfecting
our vision of the most comfortable, lovely and stylish interiors.
Click to View Enlargements
The renovations were extensive since all but one of the bathrooms has to be built from scratch or entirely replaced, as well as having to do other essential work
and decorations. To conform to French regulations, we were assisted by an excellent team of plumbers (to remove all the lead pipes and drill through walls, some of which are
over a metre thick) and electricians, to rewire and install emergency lighting. We also had the leaded windows restored by a group of highly skilled artisans, whose trade it is
to restore churches, who numbered each pane to ensure every single lozenge is in its original place! In the meantime we had to suffer plexiglass windows!
The rest of the work was done by us, helped by family and friends to ensure that none of the chateau’s beautiful features are compromised. Anybody who sees the television
series will be able to see just how much hard work was done (with thanks to all who helped).
There was work to be done in the grounds too, since 1999 saw a hurricane in France that was devastating to many areas, but the Chateau itself – even though it lost over
– survived relatively unscathed. We are being assisted by the French Agricultural Board to restore the arboretum to its former glory. The woods are glorious in the summer
and we will be making walking paths so that they can be enjoyed. The chateau hosted a wedding this year, where the ceremony took place outside and there could not have been a more
romantic setting, and it made us really proud of how beautiful the grounds looked.
Colette and the children also revived the kitchen garden, which until now has been under cultivated. We had an extremely successful first and second harvest, and were able to
provide the chateau with fruit and vegetables for most of the season. We do not use chemicals in the production of our fruit or vegetables, and where possible, use organic seeds.
Any gardening tips are gratefully received!
Over the following years or so we will be restoring the beautiful farmhouse, barns, stables, pigeonnier, bakery and cressonerie. Patrick is happy to show you around the work
in progress, if you wish.
Renovations in the future
During 2006, we hope to begin work on two further suites for the chambres d'hôte. These will be situated in the large farmhouse, which is 100 metres from the chateau, so
that they can have facilities for disabled people (since this is not possible in the main chateau building). We envisage these suites as enormously spacious, with exposed beams
and stonework, combining modern facilities with the charm of a 200 year old farmhouse.