The Good Life France Magazine




The Good Life France Magazine brings you the best of France - inspirational and exclusive features, fabulous photos, mouth-watering recipes, tips, guides, ideas and much more...


Published by the award winning team at The Good Life France

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9 months ago

Issue No. 14

From Paris to the Loire Valley, and everywhere in between, how to live like a millionaire in Nice on a budget, French island hopping, a fairy tale chateau and Monet's Garden in Giverny. Everything you want to know about France and more.

This is a love story.

This is a love story. It’s the tale of a couple who fell in love with an abandoned chateau. They bought it and have spent the last two decades lovingly restoring it and creating the most magical gardens. Normally these stories are about expats who can't resist an abandoned chateau, but this one is not. French couple Patricia and Eric Laigneau first saw the chateau in 1996. It had been dreadfully neglected and was in urgent need of tender loving care and a lot of work. It was a chateau with an illustrious history, a place where the horses of the French kings were once bred, but its glory days had long since passed. When they bought the chateau, former art historian Patricia went back to school and studied gardening in Versailles. She does nothing by halves and threw herself into turning the gardens into something magical and today, those gardens have gained fame for being absolutely gorgeous and like a living fairy tale. Patricia admits that the chateau is her passion, “I start at six o’clock in the morning” she says “and often don’t finish before midnight”. Rarely for a garden of this size, the changes in planting are seasonal and constant.

Above: regal peacocks patrol the gardens; right Patricia Laigneau with daughter Caroline The palette of colours is extraordinary and there are 14 garden areas separated by hedges, flower beds and bushes, joined by a path that weaves under trees and through secret bowers. All of the gardens are enchanting - quite literally because the constant theme here is fairy tale. Adults and kids alike will fall under the spell of Patricia's imaginative designs and creations. When the five hundred different sorts of roses scent the air in June it’s overwhelming and breathtaking. At other times there are swathes of blue irises, or a host of golden daffodils and in autumn a plethora of pumpkins thrill visitors.