The Palace of Versailles is to transform one of its satellite buildings into a luxury hotel, paving the way for a series of French projects aimed at exploiting the economic potential of listed buildings while securing their renovation.
The Hotel du Grand Controle is to be converted into a “luxury hotel,” Jean-Jacques Aillagon, president of the Chateau de Versailles, said Tuesday.
The opening of the 23-bedroom establishment, in which some rooms will look out onto the “Orangerie”, the chateau’s elaborate greenhouse, is planned for late 2011.
The palace deemed one of the crowning achievements of 18th-century French art, is one of Europe’s most popular tourist attractions.
Famed for its Hall of Mirrors and home to the French court from 1682, the complex was transformed and expanded under the Sun King Louis XIV into a monument to royal grandeur and absolutism.
It remained the official seat of power until the French Revolution in 1789, when Marie-Antoinette fled the palace via a secret passage.
A concession has been granted to the Belgian company Ivy International SA, which is to renovate and develop the satellite building, over 30 years.
Built in the 1680s by the architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart, the 1,700 square-metre (18,000 square-feet) Hotel du Grand Controle served as an officers’ mess until 2006.
“This building was given to us in a very dilapidated state,” said Aillagon. “I’ve been given the task of saving it,” he added.
Ivy will pay for the renovation works, estimated at 5.5 million euros (7.3 million dollars), which will be led by historic monuments architect-in-chief Frederic Didier.
The company will pay Versailles an annual fee to lease the building.