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What's Your Guilty Pleasure? by Gina Conkle

You'd probably list curling up with a good book as a major guilty pleasure. That's why you're checking a romance novel blog, right? We all need a break.

It's why I don't mind when my husband turns on football or hockey. He watches college football on Saturday, the NFL on Sunday, and almost every Stanley Cup play-off game (and a few leading up to the play-offs). Sports are his break. Books are mine.

But there is another...

Chateau de Gudanes

Have you heard of it?

Nestled in the Pyrenees Mountains of southern France, the holding's history reaches back to the 13th century. Tides of time and war demolished the medieval structure. Only part of the base of exists today, replaced by a "newer" mid-1700s structure -- the chateau.

Australians Craig and Karina Waters bought Chateau de Gudanes as their French country home...a place to get away. The picture below gives you an idea of what they started with -- not your typical summer vacation site!

Above is a view looking up from the first floor to the third floor. The Waters's had visited one French property after another, seeking an iconic French country home. What they got were infinity pools and thoroughly modern homes. They wanted character. French flair and feeling. Their son searched online for "old French homes" and found the abandoned chateau. The family immediately fell in love and bought Chateau de Gudanes intent on restoring it.

That's when the adventure began!

The family has made great progress since they bought the chateau in 2013. Here are a few pictures:

A Medieval Kitchen - Before & After

I've followed the Waters family through their trials of renovation and French "red tape." They've been clear which of the two has been a thorn in their flesh. Along the way, this money pit has come into her own. The family supplements the astronomical costs with summer workshops and events.

Such as weddings...

They host seminars where you can work alongside Europe's finest art/architecture restoration experts (and add your elbow grease at the same time).

And French cooking classes ala country style in a bona fide medieval kitchen...

You can tell. The chateau speaks to me. She whispers like an elegant, old French woman to come see her bones, her style. She tells me that she's ancient and all the more beautiful because of it.

Don't be surprised if one day I answer the call and pay her a visit!

Thanks for spending time with my guilty pleasure. Now it's your turn. Please tell me about one of yours.

~Gina Conkle

After reading this post, you won't be surprised that Gina writes historical romance (Viking, Georgian, and a recent dip into steamy contemporary). She's a southern Californian transplanted to southern Michigan. When she's not reading, writing, or following progress at Chateau de Gudanes, she gardens and enjoys cooking for her husband and two sons.

Connect with Gina:

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***Please Note: Karina Waters gave me written permission to share her photos of Chateau de Gudanes. Karina is a miracle worker, the heart and soul of the chateau's rehabilitation. Please visit Chateau de Gudanes website and follow their blog "Captain's Log" for more.


  1. This is so cool! I didn't know about it. Thank you for sharing.


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