To be able to stay in any part of Chateau de Poudenas is a privilege, a great pleasure and an opportunity step back into living history - and at the same time to enjoy a really special family holiday. Built in the C13 by ancestors of the family who still own and live in it, these magnificent, part-fortified buildings today reflect eight centuries of the intertwined history of France and England. You will approach the Chateau up a winding road that climbs steeply past the ancient village of Poudenas. Arriving at the top, you enter the lovely park and arboretum that is one of the features of Chateau de Poudenas. Going direct to the main buildings (the Chateau itself) you will arrive in the impressive 'Court d'Honneur'. Where you go next will depend on which of the guest buildings you have booked for your stay. There are three options, each explained in more detail below, but summarized as:
Le 'Bastion' du Prince Noir - sleeps 14 in 7 double bedrooms
The Chateau Apartment - sleeps 16 in 8 double bedrooms
Maison Simone - sleeps 8 in 4 double bedrooms, and can be booked together with
Maison Olive - sleeps 2 in 1 one double bedroom
Total guest accommodation is 40 people in summer but Simply Gascony clients usually book the 'Bastion' property which has a private swimming pool, a large private garden and lovely outdoor covered dining terrace.
First impressions as you approach through the Park and past the old stone farm buildings, stables and ancient chapel, are of serious mediaeval architecture: massive stone walls, the old moat, an arched gateway with remains of a portcullis - you can imagine an army camped nearby... and in 1369 there was in fact an army here, laying siege to the castle. It was led by Edward, The Black Prince - also Duke of Aquitaine and feudal overlord to the Count of Poudenas, owner of the castle. Although the Count was a loyal subject of Edward Plantagenet, Edward the First, King of England, he had refused to pay a new tax imposed by the Black Prince. The Black Prince of course attacked the Count in his castle, but this time the siege failed, which was perhaps a turning point in The Hundred Years War!
Once through the arched gateway and in the 'Court d'Honneur' you can see how the mediaeval castle was transformed In the C17 into a grand 'Italianate' villa built around a courtyard in the Tuscan style, the basis of today's very comfortable and stylish 'Country House'. On the left as you enter the Court are the State Rooms (and see below) while across the Court is another archway through into the 'Petit Court': the Apartment rooms are grouped around this charming small courtyard garden.
The main holiday rental property is called 'Le Bastion du Prince Noir', to commemorate the siege of the castle by Edward, The Black Prince, as described above. Edward was a famous and formidable general, so the Counts of Poudenas are justifiably proud of their famous victory, and named their guest house after the Prince because it is built into one of the 'Bastions', massive stone fortifications in the perimeter wall, that defied the Prince's siege. The 'Bastion' is now a very attractive, comfortable, well-equipped stone-built house with shuttered windows that has:
7 double bedrooms, sleeping 14
5 bath/shower rooms
Large, galleried sitting room with huge stone fireplace
Outside covered Dining Terrace
Large walled/fenced garden
Secure fenced salt water Swimming pool
TV & WiFi
8 double bedrooms, including a massive Master Suite, sleeping 16, 3 on the ground floor and 5 on the first floor
Fully equipped kitchen/dining room
Large Sitting Room with fireplace, TV and WiFi
Also in the main building, you will have access by arrangement to the architecturally intriguing State Rooms and Italian terraces, including the formal Dining Room, Guard Room, Library, Reception Room, Billiard Room and the 'Ecurie', now a Banqueting Hall. From the terraces there are amazing views over the old village that shelters under the Chateau walls, and across the valley of the river Gelise.
This property has been recently created by the owners of Chateau Poudenas by converting a set of old stone-built estate buildings. Maison de Simone is South-facing and situated across the other side of a large lawn from the main chateau buildings.
4 double bedrooms, sleeping 8
Sitting Room with fireplace
A small apartment next to, and offered in association with, Maison de Simone if more space is required. Maison d'Olive has the same views and peaceful location as Maison de Simone.
1 double bedroom and bathroom.
A particularly attractive feature of Chateau de Poudenas is the 25 acres (10 hectares) of gardens which were planted in C17 and C18 to complement the 'Italian conversion' of the chateau. No fewer than a hundred different species can be found if you look carefully! Cedars from the Atlas and from Lebanon, several varieties of oaks, walnuts, elms, ash, maples, elms from Siberia, wild cherry trees, ginkos, khakis, linden trees and many others. This also provides wonderful play-space for children and lots of places for quiet reading and reflection. You can take a path lined with cypresses, some of which date from the 17th century, the time when the Gascon fortress was transformed into an Italian villa open for festivities.
This theme of 'entertainment' continues today under the ownership of Alix and Jean de Nadaillac, descendants of the same Counts of Poudenas who built the Chateau 800 years ago. Nowadays, the Court d'Honneur is sometimes used for musical and theatrical performances, and to host weddings and other events, with the capacity comfortably to seat up to 500 people for a conference or receive 200 for a wedding dinner. Because of these activities, Alix and Jean, who live in the main part of the Chateau, and their team of professional staff are able to offer a wide range of additional services, including full catering, extra cleaning and baby-sitting for any holiday guests who required this.
Chateau de Poudenas and Le Bastion du Prince Noir offer an unforgettable holiday experience for a small or large family, or group of friends. Many places can do this but here there is the extra dimension of 800 years of a rich and well-presented historical and architectural story that resonates from the buildings, the people, the site and the village around.
*map pin shows nearest village to the property
For more Information on availability, enquiries and bookings:
Chateau de Poudenas is part of the village of Poudenas, which by chance has one of the best pizza restaurants in Gascony, and a post office. The property is 10 minutes from Fourcés, an unusual circular 'bastide' village of Fources ("one of the most beautiful villages of France") with its famous flower market, and 20 minutes from the market town of Nerac which has a renowned weekly produce market. Condom, also 20 minutes' drive, has a variety of shops and restaurants, a famous cathedral and the buildings of an historic 'sea-port' used for exporting Armagnac to England. Condom is sited on one of the pilgrim routes to the famous shrine of Santiago de Compostela in northwest Spain.
The owners of Chateau de Poudenas live in the Chateau, they are active and charming hosts, and will provide you with as much or as little help as you require.