For more than seven centuries, the Château du Viguier du Roy has been at the heart of the medieval quarter of the city of Figeac. Saved from oblivion, this witness to the rich history of Occitanie is being transformed into a wonderful 4-star hotel. This timeless venue, its new décor inspired by writing and colour, weaves subtle harmonies between contemporary design and the ancient patina of its exceptional heritage.
Sheltered by high walls, the building is a historic emblem of the medieval city of Figeac. But, not so long ago, it seemed as if the Château du Viguier du Roy would close to visitors forever.
An architectural gem in Occitanie
At the time of Philip IV Le Bel, King of France (1284-1305) the role of King's Viguier was a type of magistrate, and the Chateau of the Viguier of the King was symbolic of his power. The monument became a hotel in 1990, but, in 2008 was sold and converted into a private residence. However, fans of the chateau refused to allow this jewel of Occitanie’s heritage disappear from public view and it was purchased by the community of Grand Figeac. The complex of buildings, the oldest of which dates back to the 12th century, has now been entrusted to the Cité-Hotels group, already well known for their caring conservation of other architectural treasures in Occitanie such as the Hôtel de la Cité in Carcassonne and the Hôtel des Consuls in Toulouse.
A “link between our visitors and the heritage that surrounds them”: with the opening of the Mercure Viguier du Roy hotel in July, this motto of the high-end hotel group Cité-Hotels was certainly reinforced.
After being in private hands for more than a decade, visitors will once again be able to enjoy the castle’s 5,000 m2 of buildings courtyards, patios, small French style gardens, terraces and stone staircases, it’s cloister and an 18th century wing, as well as the famous 14th century royal tower and a gothic chapel. Although diverse, these buildings and spaces have a beautiful harmony
Ancient patina and contemporary touch
Inside the ancient patina of the past now benefits from a contemporary touch which is as bold as it is inspired.
In tribute to one of France’s most distinguished sons, the Figeac-born Egyptologist Jean-François Champollion, interior designer Chantal Peyrat accented the spaces with themes around writing, dotting the walls with a nod to graphic codes, hieroglyphics, tags and calligraphy. She has also highlighted the magnificent architecture - cut stone, wrought iron, exposed beams and marquetry in the furniture – with the clever use of colour.
Indulge in the delicious dishes of the bistronomic restaurant seated in front of a monumental Renaissance fireplace. Immerse yourself in a novel as you soak up the ambiance in a Louis XV style salon with the most beautiful wood panelling, or sip a drink in the century-old cellar... The hotel is like a fairy tale come to life, you almost expect to meet knights, princesses and kings at every turn of this castle, now transformed into a space we can all share.
Modern comfort and medieval memories
The 21 rooms and large suites (12 more are planned by spring 2020) perfectly blend modern comfort and medieval memories. Some rooms are in the solelho, the open attics typical of the architecture of Figeac in the Middle Ages, and original features are preserved, such as the medieval window seats, embellished with soft cushions. The rooms are named after famous figures of Occitanie such Eleanor of Aquitaine and Bernard de Savignac, the first royal Viguier.
To dig a little deeper into the history of this thriving merchant city of the Middle Ages on the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, simply venture into the maze of alleyways surrounding the hotel to see 18th century mansions, Renaissance galleries and medieval manor houses. Champollion's birthplace has been transformed into a museum of global writing. Exhibiting 5,300 years of writing and language – a fitting homage to the first Egyptologist to decipher hieroglyphics.