Château mail is always a box of chocolates - sometimes junk, though mostly unexpected, inexplicable, and expensive bills. Thankfully, on occasions, mixed amongst this regular assortment there are cards with warm and heartfelt messages from around the world.
On one particular day not long past, I walked casually down to the letter box to discover that a very formal letter had arrived indeed!
And inside, were these carefully written words...
We are glad to inform you that the council of the Foundation Prince Louis de Polignac is pleased to discern you the Medal of Honour 2016 of the Foundation, in order to thank you for the remarkable worksite restoration of Château de Gudanes in the Pyrénées Ariégeoises, part of the French historical patrimony in the south of our country.
After recovering from a premier reaction of shock, I conducted some research.
I found out that the Prince Louis de Polignac Foundation was created in 1997 to promote French and European culture, and contribute generally to the development of science. Each year three awards are given within different fields of science, the arts and preservation. Over the last few years, the prestigious medal of honour has been awarded to several historical monument restorations, including Château Saint-Clou in Provence and the Hermitage Pavilion at Fontainebleau.
I immediately returned the R.S.V.P with our guest list, and a few days later received the official invitation. Apparently, Prince Albert II of Monaco will be attending!
Upon receiving the official invitation, all the red, white and blue tape, which we have tightly wrapped ourselves up in over the last year, and all those obstacles along the way, gently fell aside.
This award is a wonderful surprise, just like the incredible journey the Château continues to take us on.
We would like to extend our sincerest thanks to the Prince Louis de Polignac Foundation, the Institute of France, and also to the kindred spirit of our kind hearted nominator for believing in and recognising our beautiful place on Earth.
Château de Gudanes