In its years of abandonment, the château’s terrace was slowly overtaken by nature. Some people find ugliness in misplaced stones and impetuous plant growth, we took delight in carrying ourselves up the broken steps leading to the balcony. Arms and legs gently scratched by the thorns of wild roses and blackberries, we enjoyed endless cups of afternoon tea and pre-dinner drinks with a view of the valley. Now it’s all very well lounging about on a romantic ruin, but when dilapidation causes structural decay -cellar floods when raining- intervention is called for. Deciding on a course of action took months. We spoke to construction workers who only ever worked on new development and so had no clear sense of what we’re trying to achieve. We tried explaining that we don’t regard perfection as beautiful to builders with a passion for reinforced concrete. Trust me: pronouncing wabi-sabi with a French accent is not enough to convey the beauty of imperfection and asymmetry to those who think this way lies madness.
Re-doing the terrace has involved constant trial and error. As crackpot restorers of grand dreams and modest means we decided not to pave the platform with antique natural stone, but lay a carpet of coloured sand and lime instead. Inspired by Versailles, no less! We salvaged cracked stones and dismembered columns from the surrounding shrubs and reconstructed the rail of the balustrade. It’s been quite a puzzle and one we’ve been doing over and over again. Because the colour of the sand wasn’t quite right. Because Thomas and I got into heated discussions about what crooked beauty looks like. Because we got the measurements wrong. Again. And because no matter how long we searched, the woods refused to reveal the hiding place of one final stone. In short, the terrace project is far from complete and it can’t be rushed for fear of losing eccentric detail and originality. Thankfully the slow and steady pace of progress suits Lescure and seems appropriate for its gentle awakening.