Unsurprisingly Julia Fulford-Kirby fell in love with her Mas de Pradié at first sight!
Guest: Julia Fulford-Kirby
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Julia Fulford-Kirby had loved France since visiting as a child and followed her dream with a little help from the popular series Escape to the Château DIY.
Julia was born in Australia and moved to England as a young person and the Francophile seed was sewn on holidays to France back then. Julia describes France as a magical place and I completely agree! She always knew when the time came to buy a property in France that it would be an old building. She scoured the internet for over a year and eventually came to France with 2 of her sisters to see them in person. The search started for a traditional farmhouse but rather quickly their search upgraded to château hunting! Beware though! Whilst your dollar will go a long way in purchasing a property, renovating in France is not cheap. Ensure you leave enough in your pot of money for the improvements you want or need to make, especially if restoring an historical property.
Julia found her dream property after many visits to châteaux in the Lot region of south western France. It is a beautiful historic region with picturesque countryside, châteaux and the Lot River. Julia’s property Mas de Pradié was previously owned by famous French artist Bernard Dufour. He was also a botanist so the gardens at the château are exceptional. Julia felt instantly a warm enveloping homely connection to Mas de Pradié and that also comes across in the Escape to the Château series. It has floors of solid oak, marble fireplaces in every room, wonderful historic character but not everything on her wish-list! Julia wanted a grand staircase in her château, but I’m certain one look at Mas de Pradié would have won her over staircase or no!
Julia has done some amazing renovation and restoration on the main house but has also done a fit out in the stables and the gate house which are now 6 bed and 4 bed gites. She has also just completed a renovation on the barn which is now set up for functions. She has the very first wedding occurring there in May 2022! From what I’ve seen I think it would be a magical venue for such a life event.
The local area has fresh produce markets in nearby villages almost every day as well as brocante markets each weekend. So on top of the wonderful sight seeing, there is so much to do! J’ai hâte to visit and stay there as soon as I get back to France!
The most beautiful thing I heard from Julia was how this move to France to restore a château has been so very rewarding for her. Previously she had a lovely life but she was molding her life to fit with other people. Now she feels she is living her true life, the life that is in her heart. I think this is something many more people are looking for inspiration to find, after the COVID period we’ve lived through… the life we truly want to lead.
Julia’s Instagram: @escapetochateau_mas_de_pradie
Mas de Pradié website: www.masdepradie.com (visit to make bookings or to contact Julia about any queries regarding Mas de Pradié)
Escape to the Chateau DIY: www.chateaudiy.com
For this episode I chose to share a song I have shared previously, mainly as I have had it playing in the background as I meandered through Julia’s Instagram posts with divine photos of Mas de Pradié. The song sings of rain as a metaphor for the more difficult periods of life followed by “le beau temps” the beautiful times. I imagine renovating an historical property would have its fair share of difficulties but would also be amazingly rewarding.
The south west of France is known for serving confit du canard as a specialty. Julia gave us her wonderfully simple recipe for a bean puree to go under the duck leg. To be served with green beans on the side.
Julia’s White Bean Puree
Tin of cannellini beans drained. Add to boiling water then simmer until the beans are lovely and soft. Drain the water and add truffle oil and/or garlic. Blitz ensuring the puree remains thick and not watery. Serve under the duck leg (confit du canard) with green beans on the side.
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