This chic historic French château provides inspiration for the owners' Parisian parfumerie brand

The château in the Gascony countryside offers a place for Victoire de Taillac-Touhami’s family to regroup

French kitchen with antique table and chairs, terracotta tiles, blue tiled walls, large fireplace, copper pans, side table with fruit and veg, steps to the right upstairs
(Image credit: Mineun Kim)

Victoire de Taillac-Touhami and her husband, Ramdane Touhami, may have moved all over the world with their work, but this historic château in Gascony has always been a constant in their peripatetic lives. 

‘It’s a real family home where my mother, my four siblings and our children can come; sometimes it’s all of us, sometimes it’s one of us,’ Victoire tells Rachel Leedham, adding, ‘Even when we were living in Tokyo, we came back for Christmas because it was so important for our three children to be here.’

French house with authentic yellow walls, large antique sideboard and fire place, mosaic tiled floor, pottery, candlesticks, wall light, owner stood in pink stripe dress, pink shoes

(Image credit: Mineun Kim)

Victoire and Ramdane are the dynamic French creatives responsible for the revival of the oldest candle maker in the world, Cire Trudon; nine years ago, they took on a new challenge by relaunching a 19th century Parisian parfumerie, Officine Universelle Buly. Victoire is in no doubt that the château has influenced the couple’s passion for historical brands. 

French house living room with floral wallpaper, gold framed portraits, matching pale blue couches, antique armchairs, tiled floor, rug, wall lights, side tables

An artist friend painted the panels above the windows, picking out motifs from the classic Chinoiserie wallpaper. The pair of armchairs once belonged to the family’s ancestor, Isaac de Porthau; the sofas, which are exact copies of ones belonging to a famous 19th century courtier, came from the apartment of cashmere designer Lucien Pellat-Finet. On the secretaire is a Meissen candelabra while the rug beneath the card table belongs to Victoire’s mother, who was born in Aleppo

(Image credit: Mineun Kim)

‘The smell of the old leather books in the library inspired Ramdane to create one of Cire Trudon’s candle fragrances, and we have some beautiful woodcut prints in Buly’s Rue Bonaparte store in Paris that used to hang in my mother’s bathroom; they also inspired some of the packaging,’ she notes. 

French dining table and chairs with living space to right, antique furniture, rug, large gold framed mirror and portraits, writing desk, window shutters, tiled floor, floral wallpaper with birds

Victoire’s sister, jewellery designer Marie-Hélène de Taillac, sourced the block print fabric for the curtains in Jaipur. The table, which displays family silverware and doubles as an extension to the main dining table, came from Victoire’s Scottish grandmother. The beautiful mosaic floor was added in the 19th century by an Italian craftsman who worked on a number of key houses in the region. The sideboard is from the Pyrenees

(Image credit: Mineun Kim)

The oldest parts of the house, including the tower, were built in the 14th century for the bishop of nearby Auch Cathedral, although much of the building dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries. It was purchased in the 1920s by Victoire’s grandfather shortly after he married his Scottish wife. 

‘My late father was born in the house and he was always incredibly attached to it. I would say that ninety-five per cent of our childhood holidays were spent here,’ recalls Victoire.

French dining room with yellow floral drapes, table laid out with silverware, tiled floor, open windows, yellow walls, antique chair

(Image credit: Mineun Kim)

The decoration of the interiors is largely the work of Victoire’s mother, Marie-Cécile. 

‘She renovated it in the 1970s and since then the rooms have been updated when needed, although this is the source of endless discussions. Some of my siblings never want to change a thing while there are others who want everything to be perfect. I would say I sit somewhere in the middle,’ Victoire laughs. 

French kitchen with authentic blue and white tiled wall, fireplace, vintage furniture, terracotta tiles, copper pans, basket on marble topped table, steps to the right

Situated in the oldest part of the house, the room’s warm tones of copper, timber and terracotta are offset with a cartouche-style wallpaper featuring exotic painted scenes in fresh blue and white – ‘my mother’s favourite color combination,’ notes Victoire. The family’s muralist friend echoed the wallpaper design in a panel above the fireplace, and added the decorative borders. The marble-topped kitchen table came from Béarn in the Pyrenees

(Image credit: Mineun Kim)

Each sibling brings their different skill sets to the table: for example, Marie-Hélène – an established jewellery designer who divides her time between Paris and Jaipur – sourced the beautiful block printed fabric for the dining room curtains in Jaipur, to team with the rich Indian yellow of the wallpaper selected by her mother. 

‘Our mother’s choices are often quite audacious,’ remarks Victoire, pointing out the bright delphinium blue of the woodwork in the kitchen, which offsets a fresh blue and white wallpaper in an elegant cartouche design.

French bedroom with wallpaper panels, antique bed with canopy, wooden floor, vintage rugs, chaise tongue, side tables

Victoire’s bedroom used to be her grandfather’s and it still features the same complementary floral wallpapers. The Louis XIV bed and wardrobe are both from her mother’s family in Provence, while the fabric was custom made in India to replicate an existing design

(Image credit: Mineun Kim)

Fine antiques are used on a daily basis and include Meissen candelabra and a pair of Louis XIII-style armchairs that once belonged to the de Taillac’s ancestor Isaac de Porthau, the royal guardsman on whom Alexandre Dumas based his character Porthos in The Three Musketeers. 

On the beautiful marble mosaic floors – all created by an itinerant Venetian craftsman working in the region in the 19th century – are rugs picked up by Victoire’s parents when they lived in Lebanon and Libya in the 1960s. 

French guest bedroom with red bookcase, vaulted ceiling, owl mural, small window, chair

Lined with bookshelves painted crimson red – ‘another of my mother’s bold choices’ – this bedroom is situated in the rotunda at the top of the 14th century tower; the religious icons reflect that this used to be a chapel. The murals were painted by one of Victoire’s brother in laws in the 1980s, when he worked as an artist

(Image credit: Mineun Kim)

Victoire’s contributions can primarily be seen in the château’s gardens – ‘I like to spend all my time outside when I’m here’ – and for the last decade or so, she and Marie-Hélène have also been recreating the vegetable garden. 

French house exterior with lawn, climbing plant, roses, outdoor furniture

The sofas and chairs in woven resin were purchased so that the family can enjoy sitting outside all year round

(Image credit: Mineun Kim)

Their endeavors proved one of the catalysts for Les Jardins Français, Ramdane’s latest perfume collection for Buly that he based on vegetables and herbs.

French house exterior with turrets, metal windows, lawn, gravel drive, outdoor furniture

The tower is the oldest part of the house and dates to the 14th century

(Image credit: Mineun Kim)

‘Ramdane came across a beautiful 19th century collection of seeds and this, together with memories of his parent’s vegetable garden and my more recent experiments, really struck a chord,’ recounts Victoire. Proof positive that this creative pair continue to find inspiration in this much-loved family home.

French house exterior with bench, owner seated, plant pots, climbing plants, open French doors

Victoire planted the sky blue Plumbago that climbs around the kitchen door to reflect her mother’s passion for the color blue

(Image credit: Mineun Kim)
Jo Bailey
Editor, Print

Jo Bailey has been Editor of Homes & Gardens (the print edition) since September 2023; overseeing all features for the print edition. Previously, she worked as the News & Shopping Editor across H&G and Livingetc where it was her role to discover the best news stories, latest trends and honed her understanding of Homes and Gardens' over 100-year-old brand.

Before joining Future Plc, she worked as an interior stylist for over ten years, specialising in commercial photo shoots for luxury clients such as; Design Centre Chelsea Harbour, The Romo Group, Christopher Farr Cloth and Heal's. She has worked closely with Homes & Gardens and Livingetc for over a decade, having styled and produced editorial shoots and events for both titles over the years.