Château life is just what the doc­tor or­dered

French Property News - - News -

Ay­oung doc­tor from Lon­don has put her med­i­cal ca­reer on hold to look after an ex­clu­sive and rather de­mand­ing pa­tient – an his­toric château in Vendée.

Erin Choa is just 31 and was work­ing un­til re­cently as an in­ten­sive care anaes­thetist in Ed­in­burgh. But since the sum­mer, she and her French fi­ancé Jean-bap­tiste Gois, also 31, have been car­ing for a grand Re­nais­sance-style château and its 16-hectare es­tate.

“It was a coup de foudre!” laughed Erin, de­scrib­ing how it was love at first sight when the cou­ple saw Château de Bourneau, north of Fon­te­nay-le-comte. “I think peo­ple are a bit sur­prised that we’ve taken on this huge project, es­pe­cially when they know that medicine is still my pas­sion and I in­tend to go back to it at some point. But it was al­ways our dream to move to France even­tu­ally and we thought, why not take the plunge now while we’re still young and have the en­thu­si­asm and en­ergy to do up an his­toric build­ing?”

Erin met Jean-bap­tiste, a me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer, eight years ago when they were both study­ing in Ed­in­burgh. After de­cid­ing to move to France and find an his­toric prop­erty they could run as a busi­ness (as Erin feels her French is not yet good enough to work as a doc­tor) they viewed more than a dozen coun­try piles be­fore buy­ing Château de Bourneau through Cab­i­net le Nail for an undis­closed amount.

Aban­doned dur­ing the Revo­lu­tion, the prop­erty was com­pletely re­built in 1863 in the style of the fa­mous Loire château of Azay-leRideau. It was a refugee cen­tre for many years be­fore a fam­ily took it on and opened four gîtes in the grounds. As well as con­tin­u­ing the hol­i­day let busi­ness, Erin and Jean-bap­tiste are now hard at work spruc­ing up the main château, pick­ing up tips from Es­cape to the Château, one of their favourite shows.

“The château is in a ‘live­able’ state but we in­tend to re­de­velop the south wing into a self-con­tained hol­i­day let for fam­ily re­unions and wed­dings and pos­si­bly cham­bres d’hôtes,” says Erin. “This will in­volve us get­ting new cen­tral heat­ing, putting in new en­suite bath­rooms for some of the bed­rooms, gen­eral in­te­rior decor and mak­ing the ball­room look fab­u­lous! We also need to com­plete the point­ing on the château façade, make the roof leak-proof, fix the moat walls, do some gen­eral gar­den land­scap­ing, and lots more.”

One perk is that the cou­ple won’t need to find a venue for their own cel­e­bra­tions. “It’s such a ro­man­tic place,” said Erin. “We’re go­ing to have our wed­ding here next year.” Fol­low the ad­ven­tures of Erin, Jean-bap­tiste and the château on In­sta­gram @chateaude­bourneau and @thein­trepid­chate­laine

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