Swimming Pool

This was the living room under the previous owners. The shower room was previously done out in a stylish 60s combination of black tiles and pink sanitaryware! Very Austin Powers meets 'M' hotels. It also has a story: the first night Andrew spent in the Château after buying it was just before Christmas 2001, and because the seller had identified (but not fixed, which is a buyer obligation) a termite problem, Andrew had called in a specialist local firm to treat all the woodwork for termite infestation. The company had come and done their job, but had left the windows of the château open to disperse the smell of the chemicals used, with the inevitable result that all the pipework in the main château had frozen solid as the temperature outside dipped to around -10℃. The supply pipes for the central heating had not escaped the big freeze: by the time Andrew arrived from China, the outside temperature was rising and so the frozen pipes were thawing and expanding, with many of them fracturing in the process (including the one running through the roof of the then living room, being the only habitable room in the house as there were building works going on everywhere else).

Like a scene out of a bad sinking ship disaster movie, chunks of heavy metal radiator were flung into the air and water burst out as the melting ice expanded. Andrew spent the whole night trying to bale out the constantly rising levels of water flooding down in a waterfall through the collapsed plasterboard ceiling, but eventually it got to the point where he was fighting a losing battle and his children's beds were literally floating on a sea of foul contaminated water (all kinds of animals had taken up residence in the gap between the ceiling and the roof), at which point they had to be moved out to a safer place.

The next day (December 23rd 2001, a date which was imprinted on his memory for ever, despite it being over 15 years ago) Andrew called the water supply company, who made it very clear that they were not going to send someone out of fix the problem so close to Christmas (France shuts down towards public holidays when "faire le pont", taking additional time off to extend into a public holiday is common, and many people are off work) and so the only option was to call the Fire Brigade.

In France, "les Pompiers" are affiliated with the army and serve multiple functions, ranging from putting out fires to acting as unpaid education and guidance counselors (see also the SAMU). Fortunately, they agreed to come over and pump out the water which was then at swimming pool levels (somewhat ironic given the current use) in return for a hefty contribution to their Christmas Box fund ("les etrennes" in French).

When they arrived, they first of all went to "faire la bise" (kiss on both cheeks, although whether you do 2, 3, or 4 depends on which part of France you come from) with my neighbour Lucette Blancan (house on the left hand side as you look out from the château, a typical French greeting, even amongst work colleagues) and then the conversation went something like:

Fireman 1: So who are you? Do I know you?

Andrew: No, you don't. I am Mr McGinty.

Fireman 1: We don't know any Mr McGinty. We only know the Brunos (the name of previous owners).

Andrew: Well I am the new owner, so the Brunos have left. 

Fireman 1 to Fireman 2 (under his breath): Unbelievable, now even people from Bordeaux are moving up here.

Andrew was flattered to think that the firemen actually mistook him for a French native speaker from Bordeaux even if it was perhaps not the most conducive circumstances for a first meeting with the fire brigade who continue to protect the property from their station in La Brède.

Andrew seems to have made it a habit of getting in the bad books of Les Pompiers: More recently, during the summer holiday months, Angela and Andrew received a visit in their back garden from a somewhat irritated fire brigade crew, who rode all the way up to the Chinese garden on their big fire engine to put out the bonfire which Angela and Andrew had started to burn leaves and other forest debris (actually to clear space for the Mongolian Yurt) blissfully unaware that it is prohibited under local ordinances to light fires outdoors during the summer months (not good lawyering, that). At the time a large area comprising several hundred hectares of forest had just been destroyed by a forest fire, probably started by some kind of human activity, so the concern was completely understandable. A neighbour or passing car had presumably reported us to Les Pompiers. We managed to talk our way out of a fine on that occasion, as the fire was small, self-contained and basically out by the time they arrived, but the lesson was learnt that the area is very vulnerable to forest fires in summer so extreme care is needed, especially with smokers.

Anyway back to the swimming pool: the indoor pool is located facing the dependences and on the right behind the main château kitchen.

Please note that the pool has a shallow end further away from the door and a deep end closest to the door. Bathing is at guest's own risk, as there is no lifeguard. Children are not allowed to use the swimming pool without an adult being present, for their own security. The pool is open daily between the hours of [8:00am to 9:00pm].

If you forgot to bring your bathing costume, no need to worry. At the far end of the pool is a clothes rack with a set of bathing costumes in various sizes (although it may not be a perfect fit, it may be good enough). All that we ask is if you use one of the costumes you wash it and return it if you are in self-catering accommodation or have it washed by us for an extra charge if you are in chambres d'hôtes.

Behind the swimming pool to the right is a unisex shower room and separate toilet. Please make sure you lock the door to the shower room if you do not want other guests to walk in!

Winery visits

Find out about our network of vignerons and available excursions nearby