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Le Chateau de Douzens

Sadly over the years, and certainly the last 7, our house has had most of its original features ripped out by the previous owners. This means that we have to work a little bit harder to find suitable old gems. Our first such acquisition is that of 20 old cast iron radiators!

When we moved to the South of France we were not ignorant of the cold winters but what we didn’t realise is that very few houses have heating other than one poele in the main living room. So heating has been a great source of research and debate for Chris and I. Gas is not an option in rural France as there is no mains gas, fuel in this climate is crazy the prices are just too volatile, electricity is prohibitively expensive, so that leaves wood. Wood is good for us it is eco, sustainable (France manages their forests very well), and we also get a lot of off-cuts from Chris’ work.

So we plan on running a central heating system with a super charged wood gasification burner that runs off of all types of wood, including off-cuts and sawdust. This will heat a huge water tank of 1500 lt, which in turn will provide us with enough hot water for washing and heating. We are also getting 3 solar panels, this will top up the system during the winter and mean that in summer we will not need to run the burner or resort to electricity. Cool huh!

So back to the radiators, we had researched radiators to death and came to the conclusion that although modern radiators are efficient they are ugly and actually not as efficient as cast iron radiators. So we researched cast iron radiators and found that we could get originals reconditioned for between 200 and 550€ each, which would mean over 5000€ just on radiators! So we looked at second hand radiators and by chance an English property developer that we had met was getting rid of all of the radiators in his Chateau that he had just bought!! Which meant that we could get 20 in one swoop, and all for the cost of just one large radiator! However we had to get them out and now I have to clean them and paint them……..

Not sure that Jonty was so happy with my plan, there were bloody heavy!


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