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As you all know France has just today opened its borders to visitors, hallelujah!  One of our featured Chateau the 800 year old medieval fortified stronghold Castelnau Des Fieumarcon located in the Midi-Pyrenees shared personal insight into just how devastating recent events have been, and will continue to be for quite some time, for both the owners and the management team whose businesses rely upon visitors and weddings.

Once you have read this personal account of the damage which covid-19 has wreaked please do consider booking your wedding, family event or holiday at one of the beautiful Chateau you will see listed on https://chateauxescapesfrance.com.  We all love them so let’s breath life back into them.

This is the very personal insight which Anneli Faiers, marketing manager and chef at  Castelnau Des Fieumarcon shared with us and has graciously agreed to make public:

“The confinement was very hard on us here. The housekeeping/maintenance team we have of three great people obviously had to stop coming in, right in the middle of many jobs. We have a long list every Winter/Spring of maintenance and painting etc that needs to be done ready for the next season.

So myself (manager) and the two guys who live here onsite with me (one is a chef for me and one is a wedding planner) have had to step in and take over. All the gardening (a huge task), all the painting – fell on to us.

Not to mention the huge amount of work and emails that have been required from my side to try and save the business by trying to postpone the weddings and calm the couples who have been super emotional, some crying, some shouting, some pleading. At one point I really did not want to answer the phone or look at my emails as it was just endless misery. 

And all the while we are also suffering – no weddings means no work and as we are all self employed here, we are facing the possibility of 1 year no earnings at all. 

As a result of a good year last year, I had invested thousands of euros into my professional kitchen – due to confinement all that work stopped. Now due to no earnings – I am really suffering financially after such a big investment followed by a year of no work. It is truly a scary time.

Now it seems we can open again and can have weddings here as a private venue. BUT – most of our clients are international and so now our problem is our clients cannot get here even if we can hold the weddings!!  Plus our clients are afraid so even those reservations which are still in place this year (we have weddings planned August/September and October) guests are hesitant and worry that their guests cannot or will not come. After all, the virus is still out there.

As a venue – where does our responsibility end? Actually we are really trying to do our best by every couple and of course we cannot hold them to dates if 50% of their guests cannot come – even though we can now host the events.  However, every time we postpone an event to next year, it costs the client nothing but it costs us over 20,000 euros. 

In the meantime, to try to make some money to survive, my next plan is to open a pop up restaurant here at the village – a chance for people to experience this venue which is normally reserved for weddings.  We have a huge terrace and a professional kitchen and so we can accommodate many diners safely with plenty of space between the tables. 

We have also tried to advertise exceptionally for holidays as we have 14 individual houses here within the village walls. But really this is just going to paper over the cracks.

The team here is ready for weddings! The village is beautiful and yet empty when we would normally be full pelt in the season with back to back events for up to 200 guests!  It’s all rather sad. Or very sad.  Here are some pictures of how beautiful we are but empty!”

This is the plight of just one Chateau who bravely came forward to share the extreme impact that covid-19 has had on their business.  Please take the time to look at this beautiful and unique venue https://thecastelnau.com the catering team along with Anneli’s website www.delicieux.eu, plus the wedding planning team https://laboutiqueevent.com