The Beginnings of the Couvent des Ursulines :
The Couvent des Ursulines was built in 1823 and was the last part of the older convent which you can see to the right when standing with your back to your apartment. Our part of the convent was a nuns school for approximately 60 years and then was sold to a family. We purchased the convent from the family Fouissac who had lived here from the turn of the century. Mme Fouissac lived on the 1st floor of the building (300m²) only. Her bathroom was about 70m² (800ft²) to give you an idea of the room she had! But in her eighties she was unable to take care of the building with the roof in disrepair and the garden running wild she finally decided to move to Montpellier to live with her daughter. Mme Fouissac comes back once a year to see how we are doing.
Renovating the Couvent des Ursulines:
We bought the Couvent in August 2002 and renovations began in January 2003. After a year’s hard labour the first customers were welcomed in March 2004.
The first job was to completely redo the roof. Jean-François found 2 men from Reims in the north of France to live in a caravan in the garden for 3 months while replacing the roof. Next job was the gutting of the building. The 4 exterior walls, the floors and the walls with chimneys were the only elements that were saved. We started off with one company who arrived the first week with 5 men and blasted through every thing. Then the next week there were 4 men, the next day 3 and by the end of that week no one showed up. Jean-François had to quickly find another company to finish the job which was no easy task.
Thankfully our roofers brought down 7 Turkish men from Reims who worked for 2 weeks to build and plaster the walls. It was an unbelievable feat. What they accomplished in so little time has never been seen in the South of France!
Then there was the electricity, plumbing, painting, kitchens and furniture. We fortunately had a very good plumber, the painting was done by Renauld who was 22 year old at the time. He and his team had carte blanche to express themselves, and we found they expressed themselves with a great deal of enthusiasm. The kitchens were installed by a very organised company from Sète. And the furniture was chosen, bought and delivered by none other than ourselves.
In 2007 we set up a wifi network and the “conference room” which is on the second floor and available for groups or seminars. This has since been renovated and is now used as a yoga studio or conferences.
The apartments have been superbly designed and decorated, from the individually, handcrafted chandeliers to the intricate ironwork galleries created by a famous local artist. All fixtures, fittings and appliance are brand new and blend effortlessly alongside traditional southern-French antiques. One apartment is equipped to welcome guests with disabilities.
A huge, enclosed Mediterranean garden with palm trees and mature plants features a protected swimming pool with state-of-the-art ‘oxygène actif’ UV cleansing system (no chlorine), and a jet stream for serious swimmers. The swimming pool is 9 x 5 metres and surrounded with a wooden fence and has standard fall detector.
Sleeping up to 6 people, each apartment has two large bedrooms on the third floor with garden views, antique furniture and large, marble fireplaces. Both bedrooms have private bathrooms. There are additional separate toilets on the bedroom level and ground floor.
The mezzanine can be used as a bedroom with a double sofa bed, a television, a DVD player and a radio. Each mezzanine has been meticulously designed and decorated by a local ferronier d’art including chandeliers and door handles.
The kitchens are located on the ground floor, they are fully equipped including, dishwasher, washing machine, microwave, etc. Each kitchen gives on to the spacious living and dining areas which include a large antique table that seats 6 to 8 people, sofa, club chairs and cocktail table.
Through large bay windows each apartment leads out to their own private sunny terrace which includes garden table and chairs for outdoor dining.
The property is made up of four separate duplex apartments, each with its own name based on the theme of the decorations: