Gardette means small watch tower and local history recounts that during medieval times the dovecote was no more than a small stone building topped with a wooden lookout turret. Relaying information by means of torches, it would have helped to warn the neighbouring Xaintrailles castle of any approaching danger. Its walls still bear witness to a devastating fire and lead us to believe that it was the seat of many violent battles.


By the end of the 17th century, it had become a fortified farm and was featured on a map drawn by César-François Cassini de Thury (1714-1784) with the symbol “hamlet without church”. The house and its outbuildings comprised three buildings set out in a U-shape, a high wall with a wide gate enclosing a vast courtyard with a well in its centre. Foundations of long-gone constructions often come to light during works.

At the beginning of the 20th century, the dwelling comprised two rooms: a communal room (where meals were prepared and taken and where the children slept) communicating with the master bedroom on the ground floor of the dovecote.

The wing currently used as the gîte was separated into two sections: one, now the living room-lounge, was where the masters of the premises met with their neighbours during the evenings spent maize husking or sorting plums, and the other was where the grapes were pressed and the household wine production stored!

The other buildings housed barns, stables, cowsheds and a pigsty.

The lavatories, concealed in a wooden hut, took pride of place in the courtyard near to the well.

For as far back as we can go in the land registers, the site named Gardette totals 8 hectares (just under 20 acres), successively planted with vines and pine trees.

Its renovation

Having been abandoned for more than two decades, the 1960’s marked the beginning of its restoration. In the main wing, carpenter and mason wielded hammer and trowel whilst the joiner took care of the doors and windows. Heating and bathrooms were installed. Modern-day home comforts finally reached Gardette.

The guest house and the outside had to wait until the 21st century and the next generation for their conversion. Almost everything needed doing. If your curiosity has been piqued, click here.

Our projects

  • To create a vegetable garden and enlarge the orchard.
  • To develop the pond where cows and horses used to come to drink and where frogs still sing!
  • To build a tobacco drying shed-style barn in which to store heavy farm equipment.
  • To rebuild the wing that formed the U-shape which has for the most part disappeared, thus giving Gardette back its former fortified farm appearance. This wing will incorporate garages and a workshop