An atypical stay at La Prison in Béziers

Hotel Béziers

Béziers’ latest talk of the town is the recently opened Hotel La Prison. It’s aptly named after the building’s latest function, as it was a prison from 1867 to 2009. After a period of vacancy and neglect, it took more than a year of hard work to transform the 4,000 m2 floor space into a comfortable three-star hotel. Traces of history have been well preserved, though. And now you can willingly experience a night in jail without the bars and communal showers.

Wind of change

Although the family and I live in Béziers, we couldn’t refuse an offer to stay in the brand-new Hotel La Prison. I had never realised that the building next to the Saint-Nazaire cathedral once housed the region’s prisoners. Originally, it was built for 50 inmates. But due to overpopulation, the number of prisoners almost always surpassed 100, and at times even hit up to 300 men. With the arrival of the new prison, the old one fell out of use. Up until now, with a wind of change blowing through the former prisoner corridors.

La Prison Béziers

Prison cells

The hotel has 50 rooms, most of them made in the former vaulted prison cells. Three cells create two single or double bedrooms of 13 m2. One cell per bedroom, and the third cell is divided into two, so each bedroom has a private bathroom. The triples, comfortable and cosy rooms, are more spacious. The family and I stayed in the Atypique family room for six people, including a giant laughing devil. To get to our room, we had to pass through the three-floor atrium with the original prison cell doors. Some of them still had the original graffiti. The guards had been replaced by man-high table football soccer players, though. And the 12 metre lap pool- with a magnificent view over the Orb River- and the fitness room weren’t there before either.

La Prison Béziers

Raw edges

It’s these big and small details that made our stay out of the ordinary. Every room and every space have been decorated attentively while keeping the raw edges. The restaurant has the same 180 degrees panorama over the Orb Valley as the pool and is open from Wednesdays to Sundays. The bar serves small dishes under the eye of portrayed former prisoners. While waiting for the elevator, we came to talk to the hotel architect. His remarks about the intervention of an exorcist didn’t quite reassure us… He had spoken with the house spirits, and apparently, they were friendly and only haunted the director’s room. Ghost or no ghost, we slept like babies that night!

La Prison Béziers
TO SLEEP - Hotels
Tagged in