A bit of history...

Almost 9 centuries of history

The origins of the Château de Verdalle estate date back to the first crusades, since Raimond I Trencavel had granted the castrum of Verdala to the lord of Dourgne in 1153 as a reward for his loyalty.

Over the centuries, history takes us back to 1606, when Guillhamettes de Graves et de Sérignan, lady of Loubens and Verdalle, had the body of the present castle built by joining the two medieval towers that had survived, while preserving certain medieval vestiges such as the arrow loops that are still embedded in one of the towers. The gardens were also undoubtedly designed at this time, as the cadastral plan of 1833 (see opposite) clearly shows a 'French' garden design at the north-western end of the estate.

Little information is available about what came of the park, except for the pathways which are still noticeable today.

When we acquired the estate in June 2013, the 7.5-acre park had been neglected for decades. Nature had reclaimed its rights, giving the place a certain rustic charm, but also enclosing it behind thick walls of brambles and burying it under a heap of fallen trees and mounds of rubbish left by intruders and past careless tenants. The "pesquier" (fish pond) in particular, whose watercourse had been diverted a few decades earlier, represented in itself the total disrespect of certain humans towards nature.

We therefore undertook, with the help of a few volunteers, the safeguarding, restoration and development of an uninhabited building heritage deteriorated by time, as well as the landscape and tree heritage. It was essential to demolish all the parts that had been built at random, to do a thorough cleaning of the park in order to enhance this heritage and to recreate "the beautiful".

Francine Schneeberger, whose only experience as a landscape gardener was her passion for plants and nature in general, practised creating her first garden in Alsace. Years later, serious and permanent health problems could have slowed down her creativity, but instead, her desire to create a soothing and rejuvenating place meant that her creativity became her driving force. So she imagined and designed Les Jardins de l'Ange , with her heart and her desire to share the wonder of Life. It is thanks to her second husband, Christian d'Hau, and a team of faithful friends and occasional volunteers, devoted to Francine's project, her vision and her kindness, that the restoration of the Château de Verdalle and its guest rooms, the Jardins de l'Ange and the activities of the association were able to be carried out.

Since then, the floral colours have slowly started to live again between the age-old trees. With courage and serenity, our little hands have restored stone after stone the crumbling walls, painted the old benches blue, planted young shrubs with promising perfumes and contributed, day by day, to the future of nature in this garden.

Here are gardens within a garden where it is good to sit at any time of the day or summer night, where the Autan wind, when it is gentle, offers us its sublime caress and where the golden light illuminates the colours and teases the shadows.

It has taken us years of hard work and effort to achieve the result we have today. But a garden never stops changing; it is nature's gift to create itself.

We invite you to enjoy our beautiful park, to take a walk, to recharge your batteries, to find inspiration and to rediscover your childlike soul.

You may come across Francine in the rose garden or sitting by the water garden. Don't hesitate to ask her to sign one of her books for you... because this wonderful place was created by a woman who is just as wonderful.

"Nature is much more patient than humans, because it takes its time; it teaches us the art of contemplation and living in the moment."

Francine Schneeberger of Hau

Thanks to all those who got involved

We would like to thank in particular all the people who have been involved in so many different ways to make this project possible.

Eli - Christine - Marc-Étienne - Véro - Michèle

Nina - Aurélie - David - William - Béa - Alain - Valérie - Bruno - Odile - Pierre - Anne - Jacques - Caroline - Dany - Brice - Momo - Rémy - Véronique - Bernard - Lucien - Mathieu - Corinne


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Béa, A. (2018) Généralités communales : Occitanie ; Tarn (81) ; Verdalle – Siècle de la campagne principale de construction, https://www.pop.culture.gouv.fr/notice/merimee/IA81011907, Patrimoine architectural (Mérimée), CAUE du Tarn.

Cabié, E. (2014) Les seigneurs et le château de Dourgne du XIe au XIIIe siècle, Editions Lacour-Ollé, Nîmes.

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de Saint-Allais, N.V. (1816) Nobiliaire universel de France : ou Recueil général des généalogies historiques des maisons nobles de ce royaume – Tome Huitième, pp. 415-423, chez l’Auteur, Rue de la Vrillère n° 10, Paris.

Viguié, P. (2021) Histoire et Patrimoine de Verdalle du XIe au XXe siècle, Autoédition, Verdalle.