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The CCI 82 defends the future of Goudourville castle

Wednesday 11 May 2022

It was first a story of love and heritage. Later, an economic project. Geneviève an Jean-Christophe Mifsud-Carayon fell in love with a fairytale castle, located near Valence d'Agne, in the Tarn-et-Garonne. No one knows who laid the first stone (in the 9th century, perhaps), and the last stone is far from being laid, given the passion of this couple who were not destined to become lords and who rely on the Montauban Tarn-et-Garonne Chamber of Commerce.

Chateau de Goudourville dans la brume matinale

Jean-Christophe runs a company and Geneviève, who comes from a banking background, now teaches at the Toulouse Business School. In 1999, they came across the Château de Goudourvielle, which had been converted into a bed and breakfast by owners who wanted to sell it. Geneviève, and Jean-Christophe Mifsud-Carayon took over. "We have kept the two employees who were already working there", says Geneviève Mifsud-Carayon.

Between storm and Covid 19

She remembers : « Patatras ! 1999 was the year of the storm. The roof had to be redone. It was a bit of hazing because with a listed castle, nothing is easy or free » she recalls with a smile. It takes many years and a lot of work to perpetuate the place... And hope to m ake a living from it. One day, perhaps. Finally, after a thousand vicissitudes and an infinite amount of care, this " private castle that receives the public", as Geneviève Mifsud-Carayon likes define it, seems to have found its vocation : the couple rents it out in its entirety for seminars, family reunions, weddings ? The tenants are at home, we leave them the keys and do not intervene. We simply direct them to the service providers (cooks, service staff, etc.) that they request, "she summarises. The formula has been successful, and the company Château de Goudourville is expected to achieve a turnover of €100,00 in 2019.

" But the pandemic has taken away our dreams. In 2020, we are barely making €50,000. It is not enough. But, by chance, an American foundation, the French Heritage Society, gave us a sponsorship grant. An article appeared in the press and someone encourages us to contact the Montauban Tarn-et-Garonne Chamber of Commerce".

A virtuous circle at last with the CCI

Everything is accelerating. At the same time, the European Community validated the application of the castle within the framework of a Leader programme, the file is still being examined, but all hopes are justified for a grant of approximately €68,000. The CCI is also helping the couple to upgrade their equipment to meet standards within the framework of a PETR and is encouraging them to apply for a Contrat-Relance-Tourism

« It was unexpected. We were at the bottom of the wave and ready to throw in the towel. », admits Geneviève Mifsud-Carayon, who is now hopefil again : « The CCI has enabled us to get back into a virtuous circle because, over and above the financial support, it has been a real moral support. We will come back to them, because our next objective is to make the castle less energy-consuming ».

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