Once upon a time, between Carcassonne and Toulouse, 17km from Mirepoix, there was a country of green hills; hills so soft that they took the name of a woman called Laura - Le Lauragais.
On one of these hills was the Bosc de Faias, a forest of beech trees, trees of the sacred tree fairies.
Are you ready? Hold on tight!
The chateau was an ancient Celtic settlement, demonstrated by the remains of a necropolis.
12th Century: The Cathars were dispossessed. The Cistercian Abbey in Boulbonne, in the Diocese of Mirepoix, built a priory in an area of 3600 hectares. A secondary road to Santiago de Compostela crosses the Chateau. A text from 1410 tells us of the existence of a tower: the Torre des Faias.
In 1560, the first text in Roman French tells us that the domain is now called Chateau de Fajac la Selve, named after the Belvèze family.
In 1760, the bloodline of Fajac nobles dies out and the King of France hands the land to the Count of Durfort, later to be renamed the Count of Deyme.
In 1789… REVOLUTION! The Count of Deyme leaves France to join the King’s army.
Crash! Bang! Wallop! The French Republic takes over the domain and includes the Chateau within the boundaries of Pech Luna. The estate is entrusted to the Civil Hospice of Carcassonne.
In 1849, Joseph Paul François Villary bought the domain and the title of Fajac. He became Baron Villary Fajac and is known as the creator of the railway line connecting Bram to Palmiers. A creative fellow, he modernised the castle and put in charge an English landscape gardener to design the estate.
The chateau loses its mullion windows and in turn, becomes notably brighter. Watch towers adorn each corner of the chateau and the astronomical observatory, in the middle of the roof, is destroyed.
In 1911, the Comptesse du Chatelet Ferrier, friend of Henri de Montfried, assumes control of the domain for 28 years. She plants a palm tree grove. When she leaves in 1939, the oriental furniture of the castle is bequest to the Musée d’Orsay, Paris.
In 1970, toilets and bathrooms are added (Phew!). The castle loses its name. Nevertheless, the chateau recovers its Occitanian history.
In 1979, the Belin family install central heating… Hallelujah!
In 1989, John Sim, a Canadian artist, takes over the domain. The church of St Jean Baptiste Fajac, which lay in ruin, was turned into an additional house and the cloisters were converted into a swimming pool.
In 2010, out of the many, many acres that were once a part of the domain, only 14 survive. The estate is a wreck; roofs have collapsed and only the main part of the chateau is habitable.
We begin to roll up our sleeves and get to work, helped by many friends travelling for miles to come and help!
By 2011/2012, we have two gîtes, 3 cottages, two ancient Gypsy caravans and a magnificent chateau, all of which are open to the public. An annual festival of theatre is started, which starts welcoming over 1250 people each year. The chateau dons its original name and its history is once again celebrated. The overall vibrant decor reenergises the chateau. The domaine becomes known in the Lauragais region and articles begin to appear in numerous newspapers, magazines and blogs praising the lively, atypical decoration, the energy of Lola and the quality of the renovation, directed by Matthias Dannreuther. Viva!
In 2014… the saviours of the chateau begin to arrive. The “Workaway” volunteers….
Lola adds the Chateau de Fajac la Selve to the Workaway website… allowing people, young or old, from all over the world to come and support the project. A place that pays homage to women around the world where an international and friendly place is flourishing to this day!
In 2016…. the chateau is complete. Hooray! Additional guest rooms, a vegetable garden and an entertainment and wine-tasting venue are also opened.
To this day, the revival continues… the old priory and the large barn are still in ruins!
Es lo poble Arribat al Castel!