Sheltered from crowds, La Canourgue is the oldest square in Montpellier. Built at the end of the XVIe century in shell limestone (a very luminous white stone), it has regained the splendor of its origins. The Richer de Belleval hotel, erected around 1500, is eye-catching. On the top floor is the romantic room 18, which offers a view of the Unicorn fountain, hackberry foliage, tiled roofs and in the distance the Saint-Loup peak, the highest massif in the region.
This room, all in shades of soft green, almond and celadon on the wall, with dark parquet floors and historic-inspired furniture (Flemish-style floral rugs and Art Deco armchairs which signify a pileup of eras …), is rather sober compared to the exuberance of the rest of the establishment, decorated by the whimsical Christian Collot.
This historic monument underwent extensive restoration work until it reopened last summer, and its comeback is in part due to its restaurant. In the 1990s, the Pourcel brothers placed Montpellier on the map of world gastronomy with their Garden of the Senses, until this table closed five years ago.
Here she is back, in this exceptional hotel which welcomes contemporary works of art in its entrance hall, topped with a vault studded with multicolored hearts by artist Jim Dine. Passing through the gigantic bar, you also have to look up to admire the installation by Jan Fabre on the ceiling, made up of thousands of beetle shells.
The Richer de Belleval hotel, place de la Canourgue, Montpellier (Hérault). Phone. : 04-99-66-18-18. 450 € per night in room 18.
30 meters away: taste a Languedoc wine
Pic-saint-loup, terrasses-du-Larzac… For several years now, Languedoc wines have been ranked among the best French appellations. L’Atelier de la Canourgue is the ideal place to learn about the variety of these local flavors, to be tasted in one of the leather sofas of this pleasant wine bar, with a slate of Aveyron charcuterie.
L’Atelier de la Canourgue, 3, place de la Canourgue. Phone. : 04-67-55-06-65.
140 meters away: discover a medieval Jewish treasure
Push a porte-cochère, turn right under the porch of an 18th century mansione century and descend several levels underground to discover one of the oldest monuments in the city, the medieval mikvah, a Jewish ritual purification bath dating from the 13th centurye century. This basin filled with water in perfect condition, discovered in the 1980s, recalls the importance of the Jewish community in Montpellier in the Middle Ages. A treasure that opens its doors only for guided tours.
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