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

1 year ago

Issue No. 23

Welcome to the summer! In this issue discover Dijon in Burgundy, sensational Strasbourg (and a secret speakeasy), and lovely Cognac. We'll tell you where the locals go on holiday, the secret places. Visit Versailles and the Paris Opera, Le Touquet - the "Monaco" of northern France and wild Provence. Guides, recipes and more - your trip to France without leaving home...

Escape to the Chateau:

Escape to the Chateau: Sometimes dreams do come true.... When Angel Adoree and husband Dick Strawbridge swapped a 2-bedroom flat in Southend, Essex, and bought the fairy-talelike Chateau-de-la-Motte Husson in Mayenne, Pays de la Loire for £280,000, their adventures were filmed for a British TV Show. Escape to the Chateau was a runaway hit. Millions were enthralled as they watched the couple fall head over heels for the run down 45-room castle with its moat and pointy turrets and millions saw them turn it into a dream home and successful business as an events and vintage wedding destination. Angel’s crafty talents and eye for a bargain and Dick’s determination won them a legion of fans. So successful was the TV show that it’s had several series and spawned a spin off series called ‘Escape to the Chateau: DIY’. This saw Dick and Angel use the knowledge they’ve built up to help other chateau owners with their projects. Audiences were mesmerised. When each programme ended, “viewers were literally switching off the TV, firing up their iPads and looking at what is available” said Jane Berry, head of estate agent Leggett Immobilier’s Prestige division. “We have seen a huge jump in website visitor numbers straight after each episode, indeed our dedicated Chateau page shows an 800 per cent increase in traffic...”. Click here to read our interview with Dick and Angel

Becoming chateau owners One of the couples featured on the first series of Escape to the Chateau DIY became firm favourites with the viewing public. They were young and inexperienced but had huge commitment to bring back to life a neglected and enormous chateau. Their willingness to do whatever it took, working night and day, impressed everyone. Billy Petherick from Greenwich in London was just 27 and his fiancé Gwendoline from Cherbourg, Normandy was 24 when they bought the Chateau de la Baismagnée. In the heart of Mayenne, Pays de La Loire, it cost them €1,050,000 in 2016. Billy had some building experience, Gwendoline had worked in retail but nothing daunted them. They’d met in France when Billy went to stay with his parents who live in France and decided to look for a house together. “We wanted to take on a project, a grand house, manoir, maison de maître, or small château, but then we stumbled across a listing for this château online” says Gwendoline. “We thought that even if it was bigger than what we were looking for, it was so beautiful that it was definitely worth a look, at least we could dream for an afternoon. But we fell in love with the place straight away. It made us re-think our plans, because after seeing Basmaignée we couldn’t really see ourselves anywhere else. After months of figuring out a way to pursue this crazy adventure, we got the keys to our beautiful chateau”. Funding came from a legacy from Gwendoline’s late mother and bank loans. The 50-60 room chateau, “we've never really managed to agree a definitive number” says Gwendoline, is set in 60 acres of parkland with a private chapel, traditional walled garden and six cottages. To say it needed a huge amount of work is an understatement.