About Us

Kathrin Barker
Kathrin Barker

'Au Château' was constructed in 1800 and, with our first viewing in July 2001, came the realisation that we had found a wonderful family home and the opportunity to create a spectacular guest house. Situated in St.Nicolas de la Grave, a village with all amenities within easy walking distance, yet the large enclosed garden gives the impression of French countryside.

Prior to our life in France we had been working and living in England; Kathrin in Kensington for a tourism company and Kenneth at Stansted airport as a commercial airline pilot. Our son Kieran was just 18 months old and moving to France seemed an exciting opportunity.

Kenneth Barker
Kieran & Kristine

When we first viewed 'Au Château' we immediately felt at home. Kieran ran around enjoying himself while Kathrin explained her future remodelling plans. The house had been empty for thirty years - apart from spring visits from the Parisian owners - and, remarkably, the 19th Century interior had survived intact. This was indeed a special place but was without doubt an extensive rebuilding project.

Five months later, in November 2001, we proudly became the new owners of 'Au Chateau'. Our house warming proved to be short lived, as we endured temperatures of minus 14°C without central heating or a kitchen. Things could only get better!

Renovation and design was coordinated in advance of our arrival by Kathrin's father, a qualified architect. Vast quantities of tea and coffee were prepared as we welcomed seventeen artisans on our second day in France. Carpenters, plumbers, builders, decorators, electricians, glaziers, landscape gardeners and other dust busting specialists were swallowed up within the 20 rooms at 'Au Chateau.'

Kathrin Barker
Kieran & Kristine

Other more 'personal changes' were soon to follow. Kieran would be spending less time alone in his sand pit as he was soon to have a sister, who's spring arrival meant our local hospital in Moissac would safely welcome her to the world. Despite her red hair, Kristine still firmly maintains she's French.

Kenneth Barker
Kenneth Barker

Kenneth's intended new job of flying long haul for a British entrepreneurial boss (with a record label of the same name) took a turn for the worse after certain events in New York. However, within a very short time contracts were agreed to return to his former career as a musical entertainer. Originally spotted by Frankie Vaughan at the BBC, he now enjoys worldwide recognition as a top performer and clarinet virtuoso, both on land and prestigious cruise ships.

After nearly ten years we still enjoy the French way of life, taking a break to eat lunch on the terrace, participating in village life, music festivals and other local events. Our children speak three languages fluently, and together we cultivate a large variety of fresh food which grow abundantly in the gardens and nearby orchards. Guests enjoy home made bread, home made jams, leafy green salads, sun ripened tomatoes, fresh eggs from our hens, figs, lemons and even oranges from the extensive gardens.

We are immensely proud of our fine home and thoroughly enjoy sharing our house with our guests. The generous proportions allow all children to safely play whilst parents can relax in a "quiet corner".

Want to get away from it all? Come to 'Au Château'.

PS. Yes, we do now have central heating. It is quietly powered by an enormous eco-friendly heat pump !

THE ACCOMMODATION

Sumptuous B&B, Chambres d'hôtes accommodation in a secluded location.

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THE AREA

Explore the beautiful Tarn-et-Garonne region. Near to Toulouse and the Tarn Valley.

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REVIEWS