On September 10th I attended a typical French wedding here in the small town of Launaguet just outside of Toulouse. This was my first opportunity to see what a civil ceremony looks like for couples wishing to tie the knot in France. It’s actually quite short and simple—it also mandatory before a couple can be married in a religious institution (if they so wish). The mayor of the town greets the couple, says a few opening remarks and then states a number of facts such as the names, dates of birth, occupations, and addresses of the bride and groom as well as those of their respected families. Afterward, they sign a legal document where the couples must promise to not only love one another, but also pay their taxes and to make large financial decisions together. There was no religious ceremony afterward—only a nice reception held at the salle des fêtes because, like many weddings these days, divorced couples cannot get married in the church. My friends exchanged rings and signed legal documents. The venue for the ceremony is almost always the town hall or hôtel de ville. Some towns are not as fortunate to have a building as nice as this one in Launaguet. The present château is listed as a historical monument and was built in 1845 on the ruins of a mansion that burned in 1805. Jasques-Henry Dufay, Baron de Launaguet and Prefect of Montauban purchased the estate in 1843. An architect based in Launaguet, named Auguste Virebent, then restored the château. It wasn’t until September 1991 that the city council purchased the building and undertook the task of restoration. It was then listed as a historical monument on February 11, 1993. Despite appearances, the building is actually made of red stone and plastered to look like limestone. The window frames and doors, balconies and turrets were decorated in moulded clay using a flamboyant Gothic style: grape leaves, kale, thistle and the monogram of the owner. The two windows at each end of the ground floor of the north façade are painted trompe l'œil. The second floor bay windows are adorned with Gothic openwork balustrades. On the south façade, the windows are framed with exposed brick while only the three central doors are decorated like those of the north façade. Unfortunately, I did not get any photographs of the sumptuous interior which was entirely designed by Auguste Virebent, furniture included. The Marriage Hall is also known as the Gothic room and occupies the entire width of the building’s center. The walls are covered with Gothic tracery. The flat caisson ceiling has the coat of arms of the owner in the middle while a fireplace and a decorative niche face one another on the either side of the room. It is still furnished with custom-made sofas and chairs.