9am: The air of a private residence
Old tomettes on the floor, regency-style damask curtains at the windows with pomegranate and acanthus leaves, and furniture with lines inspired by 18th-century style… as soon as you enter, the chateau feels like a stately private residence. And indeed, it’s the chosen summer residence of the Counts of Rességuier.
9:15am: Coffee on the terrace
Before we get started, we have coffee in the sun on the terrace. It’s a chance to closely admire the careful renovation undertaken to restore the chateau’s splendour. With the restored woodwork, small tiles on the French windows and tiles on the roof, the architects have ensured historical coherence between the 18th and 19th centuries.
10am: A poetic suite
With just 17 rooms and six suites, space here is the most precious luxury! On entering the suite, you’d almost expect to see Jules de Rességuier sitting in one of the comfortable Louis XVI armchairs. The soul of this ‘poet of elegance’ and friend of Victor Hugo imbues the décor, all friezes and precious curtains, whose every detail is carefully crafted, like a poem.
11am: 21st-century comfort
The elegant, marble-clad bathroom provides supreme relaxation. With a Venetian mirror and old-fashioned vanity unit, the 21st-century comfort of fluffy bathrobes and towels doesn’t deny some concessions to the chateau’s origins. It was in 1774 that the Marquis de Sauveterre rebuilt the village, church and chateau – and the original village dated back to 1150!
1pm: A pitstop at the bar
In the background, the wallpaper sets the tone: cabinets of curiosities and butterfly hunting. With its little plates of sour bonbons, the lounge of the Potager is colourful and sociable. Nibble on sweet and savoury treats as you play a board game.
4pm: Regal relaxation at the spa
Sauna, jacuzzi or massage? Take all three for the ultimate relaxation. In the west wing of the chateau, the spa revives the hedonism of the 18th century. But before curling up in this timeless bubble, try the outdoor pool (planned for spring 2019). Under the Gascon sun, the temperature of the water should be divine!
7pm: A visit to the wine cellar
With around 100 wines including some grand crus, the chateau’s cellar offers tastings to its guests. Haute-Garonne is also Armagnac country, a brandy made from four varieties of the south west, and the oldest in France, having been distilled for over seven centuries. The cellar does as it should, and honours the very best of these amber beverages.
8pm: Dinner at the Verdurier
In its heyday, the chateau’s food was famous throughout the region. This tradition is perpetuated by Le Verdurier, its gourmet restaurant. In the former ballroom, an inventive cuisine inspired by aromatic plants and seasonal vegetables leads the dance under the young, passionate chef. In season, succumb to the truffle-inspired menu – it’s a must.
9am: Breakfast at Le Potager
Le Potager here isn’t what you expect! This space is where food was kept warm in the 18th century. Carefully restored, the ‘vegetable garden’ is now the breakfast room where, in faithful memory of the past, it serves as a support for the sumptuous buffet. A great place to fuel up before exploring the Gascon countryside.
10am: On the Drudas estate
At the heart of the village of the same name, the Château de Drudas is surrounded by countryside that begs to be explored. And with a car, you can enjoy some of the local jewels: bastides, ‘new cities’ of the Middle Ages, dovecotes with surprisingly varied architecture, Renaissance chateaux and medieval villages. It’s a historic dive into the Gascon countryside.