Château de Gudanes

It's a whole new kind of renovator's delight.

One Australian family's dream of restoring a French countryside château is becoming a reality with a little help from some friends.

Karina Waters and her husband, Craig, bought the magnificent mid-1700s Château de Gudanes just outside Toulouse in 2013 and, faced with the mammoth renovation task at hand they decided to open the house to a series of onsite fine-art restoration workshops. The 15-day workshops are a combination of fine art and fiesta, and are led by Italian restorer Tonio Creanza and his team over half-days that also combine excursions to nearby markets and towns.

It's a chance to live like a local while you immerse yourself in the fine art of restoration, even if you've never picked up a paintbrush before. But the absolute highlight is saved for the last afternoon: a lavish luncheon on the château's grounds as the local leg of the Tour De France rolls by.

The 15-day decorative art restoration workshop and exploring history and culinary culture of the Ariége region, $9480, 4-18 July.

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