As this is my first post I would like to say hello and welcome! My name is Kirsten Stroud, I am British but have been working in France as a teacher and journalist for over 20 years. Now, I am the Online Community Manager here at the Château des Vigiers. Through this blog I will share with you my impressions of life on the domain. I will take you behind the scenes and into the world of running a luxury hotel and golf club. You will meet the managers, chefs, restaurant staff, golf coaches, green keepers, maintenance staff and all the people that make Vigiers such a success.
For those of you that have already visited the château you probably agree with me that it is one of the most beautiful and romantic places in the Dordogne. I first fell in love with the domain when, as a journalist, I came here to interview the great French film director Bertrand Tavernier, and even now, three years on, I still take the time to stop and soak up the picture postcard view that greets you as you turn into the long driveway.
It goes without saying that this place is steeped in history, far too much to talk about in a blog, so I’m going to skip a few centuries from 1597, when the château’s construction started, to 1988 when a Swedish family on holiday in the area stumbled upon it and subsequently went on to buy it with the help of friends. The family in question was Elisabeth and Lars Urban Petersson and their sons. In 1989 they set about renovating the buildings and grounds. Earthen floors had to be leveled and tiled, walls rebuilt, roofs put on, the grounds cleared, it was a huge undertaking but one they look back on fondly. I was never lucky enough to meet Mr Petersson, I would have loved to have talked to him about what made him take on such a project. However, I do know their son Magnus and could listen for hours to his stories of exploring secret underground tunnels, ruins uncovered when they cut back the undergrowth and other such adventures. Maybe one day I will tell you more of his tales.
Now here we are in 2012. The hotel has grown from 27 rooms to 87 and is frequented by stars, the golf course is internationally renowned and the gourmet restaurant, Les Fresques, has just been awarded 3 forks in this year’s Michelin guide which is a credit to our Chef des Cuisines, Didier Casaguana, and his team. Talking about the restaurant we also have a new Chef Pâtissier this year, Vincent Catala, who is very talented and quite a character! Next time I think I’ll take you into the kitchens to meet the two of them. Until then, bon appétit!
Château des Vigiers; Before and After.
My thanks go to Elisabeth and Magnus Petersson for taking the time to sort out these photos and allowing me to share them with you.