PUBLISHED: 11:41 30 September 2020 | UPDATED: 11:56 30 September 2020
Australian couple Philip and Janet Barnard-Brown moved to Château de la Fare in Gard after residing within the UK for practically 20 years, the place Philip was senior coachman to the Queen
When did you determine you needed to maneuver to France?
Janet and I had been to France quite a lot of occasions and completely liked it. We have now a pal we visited and she or he drove us across the space she lived and there have been so many implausible châteaux, a few of course being on the market. I have to additionally admit that once I was in my twenties a shopper purchased a château in France and I assumed ‘what an incredible factor to do’. In order that has additionally been in my head for a really very long time.
What was it like working for the Royal Family?
Working within the Royal Family was an honour and to be senior coachman to Her Majesty was an expertise that may dwell with my household and I without end – 19 years in service is a big a part of my life and I used to be fortunate sufficient to be a part of many main ceremonial occasions such because the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, the marriage of William and Kate and most not too long ago Harry and Meghan.
Did it take some time to regulate to your new life?
Each Janet and I are from rural Australia so getting again to a rustic life was essential to us. We have now owned the château since 2012 and all our holidays of latest occasions have been right here. So adjusting to life right here wasn’t that arduous. We do have plenty of nice associates round us and studying to talk French is of significant significance, however we’re loving the problem.
How did you uncover Château de la Fare?
Once I first began trying, I did spend plenty of my spare time browsing the web châteaux and dreaming for quite a lot of years earlier than we purchased this. Ultimately I highlighted the situation we favored and the place costs weren’t too loopy. So the one factor remaining was to go and examine some. This explicit property spoke to me and it suited my talent base, having been an electrician in Australia. Additionally, structurally it was sound, having had this work completed by a earlier proprietor.
What work wanted to be carried out?
For the primary six or seven years all work completed was to make the outdated secure space habitable for our holidays, portray and adorning. Now we live right here our sights have turned to the primary château itself (like all new house owners we have to produce an earnings to maintain our life in France).
The bottom ground was already in fairly good order however we nonetheless painted and put in a brand new kitchen, in an outdated type befitting the period. Now our focus is on the primary ground which wants complete renovations – plaster, electrics, plumbing, portray and adorning. After all, as earnings is produced, we’ll undertake extra work – two extra flooring to go.
Whereas we’re working laborious on all of the indoor work, now we have additionally targeted on the backyard as nicely. It has been uncared for for a lot of, a few years. We’d like to recreate the kind of backyard the château as soon as had.
What are you aware concerning the château’s historical past?
One of many issues we love most about our place is the historical past. The positioning was first settled by Berenger de la Fare in 1170 (a Knights Templar Knight). From this time the household de la Fare continued to develop the château into what’s seen right this moment. One other fascinating piece of historical past which we notably like – in 1702 Philippe Charles de la Fare was a Musketeer to Louis XIV, the place he went on to develop into commander. He was additionally made a Knight of the Order of the Holy Spirit by Louis XV and was made Knight of the Order of the Golden Fleece by Philip V of Spain. A few of his nice achievements.
What’s the setting and the encircling space like?
Château de la Fare is situated in a rural space close to Alès within the south of France within the Gard division of the Occitanie area and borders the Cevennes Nationwide Park. The château is definitely accessible by transport hyperlinks and is inside a straightforward drive of Nîmes, Pont du Gard, Anduze, Uzès and lots of different superb points of interest.
What prompted you to participate in sequence 4 of Escape to the Château:DIY?
The rationale we went on Escape to the Château:DIY was as a result of we thought how good it will be to share our experiences with others to maybe encourage them. Life is simply too quick to solely dream.
How was the expertise?
Being on the present was so superb. From an publicity viewpoint, it did wonders for us. Secondly was assembly all the opposite château house owners and sharing our DIY experiences. Some persons are so artistic and ingenious. Additionally, it’s good to know the issues you face, through the restoration course of, are shared by others. We have now discovered the entire Escape to the Château: DIY expertise inspiring, so glad we’re a part of it.
What’s the subsequent venture you’re planning to sort out on the château?
We have now so many initiatives nonetheless to do. However we should first end off two additional bedrooms now we have deliberate for lodging to assist achieve some funds for future works. However what I actually need to do is a few investigation across the property. Legend tells the story of treasure right here on the château. We have now even had individuals name in asking if they will use their steel detectors! There are underground tunnels right here which have been coated over which we desperately need to dig out. You by no means know what’s to be discovered.
One other of the initiatives which is expensive to my coronary heart is the re-instatement of the 2 turrets that have been eliminated in a time when there was a tax on turrets. Their return would improve the looks of the fort no finish and make it fairytale like.
Meet up with the most recent sequence of Escape to the Château: DIY at channel4.com
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