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Baudon de Mauny
Chic chateau in the city: 8 extravagant rooms hidden inside an 18th-century hôtel particulier in Montpellier's underrated centre
As the fastest growing city in France (nearly half a million, 40% of them under 30), and with a burgeoning tourism industry, you would expect Montpellier's historic centre to be brimming with boutique hotels. Not so. There are buzzing cafés and gourmet restaurants and ultra-chic clothes shops lining those honey-stoned lanes, and no shortage of leafy squares for lazy flaneurs. There's the Corum centre for concerts and a newly revamped Musée Fabre packed with exciting medieval-to-modern art. But, until 2008, there was nowhere fittingly sexy to rest your head.
Step forward Alain de Bordas, 7th generation heir of an 18th century hôtel particulier (private residence), who with his wife Nathalie has transformed the first and second floors into 8 exuberant rooms and a couple of sumptuous reception rooms. They've clearly had a ball decorating them - in a fantastically Louis-XV-meets-Philippe-Starck way. Playful Cole & Son wallpapers and Italian glass-booth power showers sit alongside restored regency chairs and 230-year-old decorative cornicing. It's what the city has been waiting for - and then some.
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