Domaine de Ribaute, <br>Rated Guest Houses

Domaine de Ribaute,
Rated Guest Houses

On the road between Béziers and Lieuran-lès-Béziers, we have our eyes peeled. We are looking for a château. And not just any château, a property listed in the supplementary inventory of historical monuments, dating from the 12th and 13th centuries. The former holiday home of the bishop of Béziers who undoubtedly saw its exceptional potential. Suddenly, the roofs begin to take shape. The Domaine de Ribaute appears. Once through the gate, we are greeted with a demonstration of the proper way to restore traditional local architecture and heritage. A titanic undertaking, accomplished by Delphine Thiebaut and her husband, Frédéric. For in addition to the house whose outline can be seen from the D15, the couple has also acquired an entire hamlet – formerly a village – and an eight-hectare estate which they are striving to make more and more welcoming for their guests every year. A qualified interior designer who trained at Camondo, Delphine, a Parisienne, has designed each of the small houses individually. Available for rent, they are dotted around the estate. Seven currently – fully restored – and more are definitely in the pipeline for next year! Taking on the role of master builder and project manager for the occasion, this creative designer has thrown herself joyfully into the project. And it is one characterised by a particular challenge, that of having craftsmen in residence permanently. A delightful situation allowing her to “Dream at night, draw in the morning and have the prototype in the afternoon”. This spontaneous creativity, which Delphine feeds with the history of each space, can be clearly felt as you stroll around the property. Here, detail is King, traces of the past are highlighted and the decoration is tinged with sophisticated simplicity. Like the infinity pool and its black ‘pâte de verre’ glass and basalt basin overlooking the landscaped garden and its century-old inhabitants… A real luxury, that of peace and quiet, to enjoy during the holiday period or to hire exclusively for an experience that takes you back in time.

Domaine de Ribaute, Château de Ribaute – 34290 Lieuran-lès-Béziers. Reservations by telephone on +33 (0) 686 187148 and by email to domainederibaute@gmail.com

Domaine de Ribaute, <br>Rated Guest Houses Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Domaine de Ribaute, <br>Rated Guest Houses
Maison hôtes Salle de bain Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Chambre Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Salle de bain Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute

Delphine, how did you and your family go from a Parisian apartment to a mediaeval hamlet on the outskirts of Béziers?

Delphine

My husband, a restaurateur Paris (still, today), and I (an interior designer with a degree from Camondo) have been Parisians for several generations. I might as well tell you that this was not we planned! It was Frédéric who expressed the need to move elsewhere. We had already done several tours around France, and we felt that we wanted to find a place made for us and our little family – we had two children at the time. We set out to look for something very specific: old stones (our passion), beautiful large rooms (we needed space) and finally cypress and olive trees (for the Mediterranean touch). We had to fall in love with it, or we wouldn’t move. We stumbled upon the Château de Ribaute by chance. The “shock” was instantaneous. It took us two years to succeed in buying it. In the meantime, I refurbished our Parisian apartment, and it sold after the first viewing. We found ourselves with an extra child. And to cap it all, the roof of our new purchase collapsed three weeks before the sale!

How do you live in a château?

Delphine

We arrived here and rented a house because there was no water or electricity. Living in a château is a vocation. It’s cold in the winter, impossible to heat, it rains indoors… The work involved is truly colossal, and I’m saying nothing about the estate! But I won’t be changing my windows with their simple two-millimetre glass. When we say “owner-manager of a historic monument” the term is no exaggeration.

What is the story of this place and its magnificent estate?

Delphine

The château is listed in the supplementary inventory of historic monuments, dating from the 12th and 13th centuries. With one part from the 16th century, it was originally the holiday home of the Bishop of Béziers, and then it belonged to several families including a Lebanese one (from whom we bought it).

Maison hôtes Salle de bain Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Domaine de Ribaute, <br>Rated Guest Houses
Domaine de Ribaute, <br>Rated Guest Houses
Domaine de Ribaute, <br>Rated Guest Houses
Domaine de Ribaute, <br>Rated Guest Houses
Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Domaine de Ribaute, <br>Rated Guest Houses
Maison hôtes Piscine Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Domaine de Ribaute, <br>Rated Guest Houses
Domaine de Ribaute, <br>Rated Guest Houses
Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Domaine de Ribaute, <br>Rated Guest Houses
Domaine de Ribaute, <br>Rated Guest Houses

Project manager, architect, decorator, host: which role do you prefer?

Delphine

We were dropped in at the deep end. I was authorised to be the project manager and project manager. That was the cap I preferred to wear. And it’s certainly the creative part of my job. First of all, by having an overall vision, by remaining congruent with the history of the place, by respecting what already exists and then by working on each part step-by-step before going into the details. Having the tradesmen here permanently is a real challenge. Dreaming at night, drawing in the morning and having the prototype in the afternoon is bliss.

Which specially skilled craftsmen have you surrounded yourself with to carry out the work?

Delphine

We have found passionate craftsmen in this region who know how to work in “the old way”. The Château de Ribaute is a historic monument (as is the hamlet within its perimeter). Naturally, this means we have to comply with certain rules because the stone walls require a great deal of skill and expertise. As a matter of necessity, the roofer was the first tradesman we contacted, and then my Parisian team took over. Then we found the different individuals to support us on site. Everything needed doing! With an average rate of six months of work per year, we’re always behind schedule. So the permanent presence of an architect is indispensable. Here, there is no design manifesto. It s more an archaeologist’s approach, with emphasis on the traces of the past, the use of traditional materials (lime walls, plaster and whitewash), as well as the recovery of others (tiles, cement tiles) with great attention paid to detail.

How do you work out the decoration, the interior design of each of the buildings (and the other places) in the property?

Delphine

Each house is different. I try to respect the spirit of each one. The name comes next, naturally. Inspiration plays a significant part.

Domaine de Ribaute, <br>Rated Guest Houses
Domaine de Ribaute, <br>Rated Guest Houses
Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Extérieur Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Extérieur Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute

Where do you buy? Did you go bargain-hunting to find the furniture, accessories and household linen that we see here?

Delphine

I find a lot of furniture and decorative objects in flea markets, second-hand, on the Internet and even in antique shops in Paris! Not to mention the designer shops like Architruc and Baltaz’art, in Béziers.

What do you still have left to do now, ten years on?

Delphine

Rentals just about allow us to maintain the buildings and to renovate. Out of a potential twelve houses, we are now at seven. There is still a lot of work to be done, and it will never be finished because we can always do better!

How do you bring Domaine de Ribaute to life on an everyday basis?

Delphine

I’m an architect, or rather I do architecture, it’s my life! My husband and I open the Domaine de Ribaute to share the place, our passion, with others. That’s why we do bed-and-breakfast and rent our houses out for holidays or offer the whole of the Domaine de Ribaute as a private venue for events (seminars, photoshoots, filming or even weddings).

Off the top of your head, what places would you recommend to visitors who wish to discover Béziers and the surrounding area?

Delphine

We are in love with this still wild region with its landscapes, its restaurants and its heritage, all of which deserve to be explored. Béziers Cathedral, the nine locks at Fonsérane, the villages “en circulade” around our city are all fascinating places to visit, as is but also the regional park of the Haut Languedoc. For places to eat and drink, try Petit Pierre and the Chameau Ivre. The Aponem in Vailhan and La Table at Assignan are also worth a visit. And in terms of decoration, I recommend Architruc et Balthaz’art.

Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Salle de bain Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Extérieur Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Extérieur hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Extérieur Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Chambre Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Chambre Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Chambre Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Salle de bain Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute
Maison hôtes Chambre Béziers Lieuran-les-Béziers Domaine de Ribaute

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