New Hedonism Behind the Monastery

architects Agence Jouin Manku
project Fontevraud Hotel and Restaurant, Fontevraud l'Abbaye, Maine-et-Loire, France


We quietly slipped into the Saint-Lazare priory, immersing ourselves in its history and its uniqueness. Then we had to fine-tune our approach, to give life to a contemporary vision that would respect and preserve the spirit of the building. We didn’t want the visitors to forget where they were. On the contrary, we wanted to assure an intimate experience of the site, allowing the visitor to appropriate fragments of the past in comfort. The best approach was to find a way to turn constraints into opportunities. Guided by the simple honesty of the priory building, which avoids unnecessary stylistic effects, we stayed true to our own signature style: simple and elegant shapes determined by their use and requirements; a refined, fluid and sensual atmosphere that works in harmony with the high-ceilinged spaces and age-old walls. What we wanted for Fontevraud was not the classic hotel and restaurant experience, but something unique. A journey between tradition and modernity that reinterprets the story of Saint-Lazare for the future; marrying emotion, sensual pleasure, and poetry.