What do French Paysans think of the Brits taking on ‘money pit’ renovations. A personal experience

Sophie Duncan
5 min readNov 28, 2020

or, ‘What will the paysans think of your chateau rescue shenanigans’

These tales from France are inspired by 22 years restoring a sandstone Renaissance castle in the Aude department in south west France and then meeting others with the same chateau rescueing bug all over France, after appearing on the channel 4 first season of Escape to the Chateau DIY.

Rennes le Château, of Dan Brown and Holy Blood fame is our sister chateau, perched on a hilltop across a valley chequered with vines, poplar plots, pastures, little orchards, streaked with brilliant red and ochre seams on tilled fields and shady paths. Here is home to legends of the Grail and Apostelic secrets.

Below is a story of arriving in my corner of rural France.

The independent culture of the Langue d’Oc reaches beyond Roman times, superimposing on the France that we know, an enchanted veil of savoir faire and fascination.


‘What will the paysans think of your chateau rescue shenanigans’

Two generations from the village
Different generations chewing the cud

In the English speaking world calling someone a peasant is almost a term of abuse. You could…



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