Revisiting Restoration of Chateau de Gudanes: A Hole is Discovered in the Ground Beneath the Chateau


Karina and Craig Waters are two Australian expats with a French vision. They purchased the massive, 94-room Chateau de Gudanes, which dates back to the 1700s, with the intent of restoring it. The crumbling structure is located in Midi-Pyrénées, a region of southern France bordered by the Pyrénées mountains. Neatorama featured the Waters' purchase in a previous post. 

In the glory days of Chateau de Gudanes, it was in the possession of Marquis Louis Gaspard de Sales, who used it to entertain nobility and high-profile guests such as likely reveler French philosopher Voltaire. The original architect was Ange-Jacque Gabriel, who famously designed the Petit Trianon at Versailles.

The chateau was abandoned during the 1990s by its last owner, a foreign investment company, which had plans to convert it into luxury apartments. When the company was unable to secure the necessary building permits, the dilapidated manor was left to further decompose.

The Waters, meanwhile, had almost given up on their search for a French home to renovate, when their 16-year-old son Ben found the Chateau de Gudanes in an online listing. When the couple saw the building in person, they fell in love. 

As is evident from the photos, the Waters have a huge job ahead of them in returning the decaying mansion to its former splendor. The family has been working on the restoration for a little over a year now. Recently the crew working on the chateau discovered a hole in the ground when rotting floorboards were removed on the ground floor. In an attempt to understand the purpose of the cavity and where it led, workers dug to a point about 20 feet deep and stopped. The Waters decided to contract others more equipped to conduct such an excavation. 

The family found a number of artifacts in the hole, and formed theories as to its purpose. See the pictures of what was found and learn more about the discovery at this post on the official blog of the chateau. Those interested in the Waters' progress can also obtain updates and see additional photographs on the fascinating Facebook page of Chateau de Gudanes.

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Then again, it could have been something as prosaic as a wine cellar or a root cellar. Or a safe room. Or storm shelter. It took me a while to think of the more mundane uses.
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So many possibilities... a latrine, an escape hatch, a dungeon, a place to hide the bodies, a garbage pit, a torture chamber. I would go with "dungeon" until evidence indicates otherwise, because that's just plain interesting.
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