Sophie Duncan
9 min readFeb 19, 2024

Not our Castle, theirs — another French Chateau story

Here is a tale, not of my Castle adventure in France but Michael and Jonathan’s. Like James and I, they set out to buy something quite different. Read what happened. I also would like to let you know that I have published my first book. It is getting really exceptional reviews. I hope that you have a look and enjoy. It is also available on Kindle. Literally cheaper than a packet of chips these days in Oxford. And with full colour pictures.​

Michael and Jonathan spent a year living in Paris near the Moulin Rouge with Michael’s job in 2006. “We decided then that we would definitely like to do something in France. Even in Paris there is a focus on the social side of life. Lunch is sacred. People spend time every day eating together. Families get together for an aperitif at the weekend, shops still close on Sunday and often on Monday too”.

They thought that they might like to buy a collection of gites in Provence. They hadn’t even considered buying a château but when they saw Château de Jalesnes it was a ‘coup du coeur’. “As it turned out, Jalesnes was everything that we expected to get from a property in France. We wanted enough space to welcome and entertain big groups of family and friends. Perhaps a place to live together happily ever after into old age”. Michael would say that in France, it is definitely the case that property is more of a lifestyle than an investment.

“I wish that the programme showed more of the positives of Chateau life. It is such a joy to give a big welcome to people when they arrive and make them feel like family. It’s also been a lovely to become a part of the village. “ We are only guardians. Not even a chapter. We are a paragraph” Michael reflects.

“The drawback of chateau life is that it is bloody hard work”.
​“Our least favourite thing about France is the bureaucracy. Most of everything even slightly official needs to be reproduced in quintuplicate and signed in quintuplicate too!

The construction of Chateau de Jalesnes began in the 16th century on the site of a medieval manor house when a descendent of the Jalesne family was given the title of Marquis by Louis XIII and needed a home befitting his new rank. The Jalesne family was old nobility. In 1189 Jacquelin Jalasne had been a legend of the Jerusalem…

Sophie Duncan

I write about France, Oxford, dogs, love and more. Sign up for my newsletter today, find Beyond Paris - a Short Guide to Rural France on Amazon