Jules Berry is passionate about both property development and interior design, and throughout her adult life she’s always had a project on the go. In 2011, she made the decision to invest in a run-down 17th century country inn near Bath and completely redesigned and restored it; over the next decade, it became a very successful and renowned destination with a restaurant, twelve rooms, a detached cottage, kitchen gardens and bar. While still running that business – with over 30 members of staff – Jules had the idea of purchasing a property in France so found and bought derelict chateau – initially as a renovation project and with no specific intention of turning it into a special event location. It was only when she was made an off-market offer for the UK business in 2019 that she decided to sell up and move full-time to France, such was her love of the chateau by then. Here we discuss the story of how she came to own ‘No. 3 The Chateau’, now one of the most beautiful special event venues in the area…

There was no plan originally but as the chateau renovations developed, I began to organise things so that it would be the perfect location for weddings and events…“

Jules Berry

NS: “Jules, this is such an incredibly inspiring story of a woman entrepreneur who clearly sets goals and reaches them! What originally drew you to the Cognac area of France and how did you first discover the chateau?”

JB: “Firstly – as I’d be commuting between the UK and France on a regular basis – it was important that the location was within one and a half hours of an airport from which you could both fly directly into Bristol, and out of Bristol, all year round; Bordeaux was one of only two airports that met the criteria, so I literally drew a circle around Bordeaux and the area of Cognac came up. I was then put in touch with a private agent in France by Christies London and they took me on viewings to see a number of different properties. My French language was very limited at the time so challenges included French bureaucracy and the language, in combination! Finding specific artisans to do some of the very difficult work on the chateau was also a challenge…”

Before and after images of the No.3 The Chateau

We believe the chateau was built in the late 1700’s as a cognac distillery but the building was never properly completed internally. When we bought it, it was livable in some rooms but others had never been occupied. At the time we bought it, we considered it a secondary home, perhaps for spending holiday time; we paid cash for it, however the renovation ended up more of an investment than the actual property!”

Jules Berry

NS: “What’s the origin of the unique name of your chateau?

JB: “I wanted a contemporary name for the chateau to suit its new image and style; from the chateau you can see ‘Les Trois Ormeaux’ (the three Elms); these were planted to name a lane in the village. We also have three beautiful lime trees lining the driveway at the front and the chateau is also No 3 in the lane, so all in all, the No 3 kept cropping up!”

When it comes to suppliers, ‘Dufour Piscines et Spas’ did a great job of installing our pool to my design (above); we used local artisans to hand-make the kitchen, which is also to my design, and we’ve had collaborations with ‘The French Bedroom Company‘, ‘Mindthegap’ wallpapers, ‘The Soho Lighting Co’, the ‘Garden Trading Company’, ‘Apiscera.com‘, ‘Fete24France’, ‘ChateauBee‘ and more…”

Jules Berry

NS: “What do you offer the wedding party in terms of amenities and accommodation?”

JB: “We offer the whole chateau for the bridal party, including six suites of accommodation, the idea being that it stays intimate for the bride, groom and family; the guests get to enjoy the beautiful town of Cognac, just ten minutes away, and are transported by private bus to and from the venue. We secure local companies for catering and staging the event however, ultimately, it’s the couples themselves who choose which suppliers they want to use for their wedding and it’s all organised and arranged through one of our wedding planners…”

CONTACT: http://www.no3thechateau.com

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