The town's hotel , the Puits Doré - 'The Golden Well' - is expanding its premises. The building works have started on the rear wing of their hôtel particulier on the south-western flank of the main town square, the place du marché. The expansion will provide the hotel with more bedrooms, which in turn will ensure the continued viability of the business. We have been told that the Puits Doré has been an operating hotel almost from the founding of the Ideal Town in the 1640s.
Meanwhile the hotel continues to receive visitors and set a jolly tone on the south side of the square.
It must be important for this little town that tourism can support and sustain such a hotel, as tourism and its grandiose history, cultural and architectural, are the aspects of the town that differentiate it from its myriad neighbours, each struggling to find a purpose in a dispersed agricultural world where the farms are de-populated by modern mechanisation. Richelieu remains a centre for quite a large farming area as the good Cardinal had the farsightedness and ruthlesness to ensure that his new town did not have urban competitors closer than about 20km - Loudun, Chinon, L'Isle Bouchard, St Maure de Touraine, each at arm's length. This 'isolation zone' maintains the serenity and tranqillity of the place, but sets it a bit aside from the mainstream.
|The main front of the hotel on the place du Marché|
|The façade onto the Grande Rue, showing the part under renovation.|
|The hotel finally occupies the entire hôtel particulier, 2 Grande Rue.|
|the new rear façade to rue du Chantier, next to the Porte de Châtellerault.|
|the mason's sign.|
It will be interesting to see to what extent the Bâtiments de France will require the renovated premises to be 'restored' to a more authentic state, and whether the strict line they have taken recently will be continued. We will follow the works over the next few months and find out.