Château Du Ribagnac | The Fairytale Castle That Needed Rescue

Imagine leaving it all to live in luxury at a French Château. Now you can:

After years of committing their bodies and souls to their careers, lawyers Collette and Patrick had an epiphany: “nobody says on their deathbed ‘I wish I had spent more time in the office’”. “It’s time”, the couple decided, “to give our children more of our time rather than our money”. And what better way to do this than taking over a long forgotten Château in France and converting it into a luxurious refuge for those in need of pampering and serenity?

The young family’s first days at the Château began in the depths of winter in 2003. And it was far from glamorous: no beds or tables, cobwebs strung everywhere, ancient horsehair beds and no bathrooms. Fearlessly, Patrick and Collette breathed life into the abandoned Château and transformed it into a luxurious refuge from the hustle and the bustle of life.

“Our idea was to create the experience of having your own country estate, where guests can escape the every day but feel completely at home”.

Every corner of the inviting Château is well-appointed with French antiques and modern finishes. The heated pool is surrounded by 86 acres of luscious lawns, fresh lakes and hidden trials.

When you arrive it’s clear that this is no standard “Château”. Guests are indulged with aperitifs, homemade jams and honey from local hives, buttery croissants and, for those who care to watch their waistlines, fresh fruit, fresh cheese and yogurts. Guests are free from all worries such as babysitters or drivers; the couple and busy sta take care of it all, delivering a seamless experience for every guest. With such attention to detail, it is no wonder that the Château was named on the top 10 best places to visit in France by the Guardian, International (2014).

While the guests relax by the pool, take kayak trips, visit local sanctuaries and ride horses in the countryside, the couple scurry about the property and bounce between their children’s piano lessons, the local markets to gather fresh ingredients and flowers and the Chateau to prepare meals and ensure that the guests have what they need. Despite this harried schedule, the family always takes time to enjoy their day, especially their meals. At the end of the evening, Collette and Patrick join their guests for drinks. The carefully crafted dinners and hand-selected wines, along with the guests, make this “one of the nicest times of the day”.

Such luxury, however, doesn’t come without challenges. For example, the stained glass windows had to be re-leaded. It was a financial stretch at the time, the couple is, happily, now in the position of commissioning two new stained glass windows from a local artist. Such stresses and mishaps were so dramatic that it inspired a live TV show, No Going Back on Channel 4. The couple now have a thriving business and truly do “live the dream”; they successfully “never went back”. Their biggest success, however, is not the luxurious estate or thriving business. Rather, it’s the fact that they’ve given their “children somewhere wonderful to grow up, with all the space they need”. Whether you’re a child seeking adventure or an adult yearning for luxury, the Chaâteau is a magical place.

Written by Natalka Falconer for Invest In Style