I fol­lowed my dreams to a château in France

Twelve years ago, Jane Web­ster up­rooted her fam­ily and moved to Nor­mandy to ren­o­vate a rambling, five-storey château. Now she wants to show Aus­tralians how to add “French house chic” to their own homes, writes Sa­man­tha Trenoweth.

The Australian Women's Weekly - - Humour -

Back in 1990, Jane Web­ster was speed­ing through the French coun­try­side, nose pressed to the win­dow of a very fast train, when she glimpsed a château, al­most hid­den be­hind a stand of French oak trees.

It was her first hol­i­day be­yond Aus­tralia, it was her hon­ey­moon and it was the day she fell in love with France. “I felt as though I had found my spir­i­tual home,” she says.

Fif­teen years later, Jane up­rooted her four chil­dren and her hus­band, Pete, and they all moved into their own grand, if slightly di­lap­i­dated, Napoleon III château on 20 hectares of sprawl­ing gar­dens and wood­land in Nor­mandy. For two years, the chil­dren – Lachie, who was 12 at the time, Mil­lie, 11, Mad­die, 10, and Alex, four – went off each day to the lo­cal vil­lage school, while their par­ents painstak­ingly ren­o­vated their new home, Château Bos­gouet, room by room.

“I re­mem­ber the very first time I walked into the main bed­room,” Jane says with a sigh. “I saw the pan­elling around the walls and a beau­ti­ful Ver­sailles par­quetry floor with bits missing, and three sets of big French win­dows look­ing onto the park, and I in­stantly knew that was my bed­room. When we be­gan

The mag­nif­i­cent Château Bos­gouet in Nor­mandy. IN­SET: Jane and Pete Web­ster with their four chil­dren.

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