Richer de Belleval, from private mansion to Relais & Châteaux

Surfacing after centuries of history, this hôtel particulier in the center of Montpellier has become an urban and urbane relais, a sophisticated place that weave an eclectic past with a creative present, also thanks to the classic collections of Kettal

Richer de Belleval, Monpellier, France - Photo © Jérôme Mondière
Richer de Belleval, Monpellier, France - Photo © Jérôme Mondière

The chefs Jacques & Laurent Pourcel, together with Olivier Château of the Château-Pourcel group, have envisioned a place resembling a ‘cabinet de curiosités’ for their new venture, the Hôtel Richer de Belleval opened in July in the historical center of Montpellier.

It is a cabinet, however, on a grand scale, which conserves and displays the carefully restored architecture of this historic hôtel particulier, with the intriguing background of a family residence facing the main square of Montpellier. The variegated internal decorations are joined by new permanent artistic ‘additions’ commissioned from five different sources, for a refined contemporary reinterpretation of shared and private spaces, organized in collaboration with the architect Philippe Prost and the interior designer Christian Collot.

The building has thus become an urban relais that promises serenity and always changing sensations, with spaces in constant dialogue, though each of them has its own clear identity. The objective shared by the restorers and the interior designers, the artists, the architect and the chefs, was to find a balance of historical periods, generating harmony in the many zones with atmospheres flooded with natural light, bringing out the inherent splendor of the place.

Richer de Belleval, Monpellier, France - Photo © Jérôme Mondière 04
Richer de Belleval, Monpellier, France - Photo © Jérôme Mondière 05
Richer de Belleval, Monpellier, France - Photo © Jérôme Mondière 06
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Besides the 20 rooms, including 5 suites, furnished with a ‘monochrome’ approach in relaxing tones of white, gray, beige, green and blue, the hotel contains the Jardin des Sens restaurant, with three dining rooms, and the La Canourgue bistro with a luminous internal courtyard, adorned by columns, chandeliers, balconies and ample, tall windows.

Set between indoors and outdoors, the entrance area and the elegant staircase leading to the private rooms, the large space has been organized like a winter garden, with three classic collections from Kettal: Roll by Patricia Urquiola, Boma by Rodolfo Dordoni, and Cala by Doshi Levien.

Inside, the intimate Elytre cocktail bar contains a theatrical multicolored glass ceiling – a work by Jan FabreHommage à un esprit libre, dedicated to Pierre Richer de Belleval, the royal physician and botanist who in the 16th century created the first Jardin des Plantes in France, here in Montpellier. The facility hosts four other site-specific artworks, curated by Numa Hambursin of the Fondation GGL Helenis pour l’art contemporain: the vaults decorated by Jim Dine at the entrance, and pieces by Abdelkader Benchamma in the lobby, Marlène Moquet over the monumental staircase, as well as the walls of the boudoir at the second floor, by Olympe Racana-Weiler.

Photo credits © Jérôme Mondière