Palace of Versailles outbuilding to become luxury hotel
An outbuilding of one of France's top tourist sites, the Palace of Versailles, is to be turned into a luxury hotel due to open at the end of 2011. The conversion of the Hotel du grand Controle, the traditional home of the chateau's treasurers, will be carried out by Belgian company Ivy International at an estimated cost of 5.5 million euros.
The Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is considered one of the crowning achievements of 18th century French art. Famed for its Hall of Mirrors, the palace was home to the French court from 1682. It remained the official seat of power until the French Revolution in 1789 when Marie-Antoinette fled the palace via a secret passage.
Some of the 23 rooms in the luxury hotel will look out over the Orangerie, the chateau's elaborate greenhouse, or the Swiss ornamental lake.
A November 2009 agreement between the Culture Ministry and the Secretariat of State for Tourism sets out to encourage the development of French heritage sites.
Another royal palace, the Chateau of Fontainbleau south of Paris, is to ask next year for bids to develop its listed Heronniere barracks.
The Centre for National Monuments has asked the Atout France agency to study the possibility of converting around 20 listed sites.
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