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Chateau Gudanes: A Place of Heart by Kim Cotton

Written By Château de Gudanes France


Posted on October 27 2021

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince

Have you ever imagined being part of a story set in a beautiful castle...

In far-away place that was so dreamy, so magical and so removed from your familiar existence, that it just couldn't seem real?

Perhaps you had dreamt of this as a child after reading a fairy tale or pondered fleetingly over the idea of what it would be like while researching a holiday to France? But to actually find yourself playing a role in the history of a one-thousand-year-old French chateau in all its grandeur, its mystery, its beauty and enchantment, well it is the stuff of dreams right?

Not so! For many of us the dream is real. If you are reading this post, you have become part of Château Gudanes tale, a love story, a tapestry in which we have become part of its rich and textured weave.

But how could this be?

Formidable and awe-inspiring on first appearance, Château Gudanes is not your run-of-the-mill stone and mortar medieval domain. Through her owners, the Waters, she is instead a place of kindness and poetic inspiration, of secrets and serendipity, of astonishingly rugged and ethereal beauty; a sanctuary for local animals, a bearer of scars, and of sweat and tears, as she stands as the centrepiece of an epic renovation adventure. Mostly, though, this grand old dame, brushed of her cobwebs and with her decorated walls rescued from dilapidation, is a gatherer of kindred spirits; of those who love a story of hope; a place of heart.

On this, Karina Waters writes in the prelude of the Château Gudanes book: "At the heart of the story is a message of love ... because love bears all things, believes all things, hopes and endures all things."

And what is love if it is not shared? We have been truly blessed to receive Karina and her family's invitation to warm our spirits and our imagination at the château hearth, to also become besotted with her renaissance and entwined in her reinstated grace in a delightful way.

While Château Gudanes is in every sense a historic restoration project in the remote French Pyrenees; through the Waters family's embrace, she has become a retreat from the mundane and an exquisite vignette to dwell on as an antidote to all that is harsh in the world.

And to echo the notion of how this all came to be, we gently return to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's allegory The Little Prince: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."

We are here as kindred spirits, passionate Francophiles, lovers of antiquity and aesthetics, purveyors of romance, led by our hearts sharing in the story that is Château Gudanes.

My connection comes through my own passion for beauty and grace, and through my store Little French Heart. Like the Château, Little French Heart began as a dream inspired by the charm of France, through the traditional toy stores of Paris and the French Alps. It draws on the artisan, the magical, the whimsical and the imagination. And while Little French Heart collects beautiful toys, curios and children's decor from French and international artisans and ateliers, it also represents something much deeper; a desire to bring joie de vivre, to sustain memory and love, and to help grow the imaginations of children so they too can grow to become adults led by their heart...

I began stocking the Château de Gudanes book on my own site when it was first released. And now through the Waters' creativity, I can share Little French Heart with you, knowing that it is contributing in a small way to restoring Château Gudanes to her former self, so that like all enduring love stories, her journey never ends...

Merci beaucoup and with love, 

Kim from Little French Heart x