Saint-Étienne Métropole. Eco-lodges, spa, restaurant… The new destiny of the Château de Fontanès

Saint-Étienne Métropole.  Eco-lodges, spa, restaurant… The new destiny of the Château de Fontanès

A characterful castle of some 2,200 m 2 in the middle of a beautiful 5.5 hectare park (1) , with an almost 360-degree view of the surrounding countryside and the Forez plain in the distance. All located at the end of the small town of Fontanès.

It is Saint-Étienne Métropole which has owned, since 1999, this little gem rather well maintained but largely under-exploited. “The south wing of the castle is rented around thirty times a year, mainly for weddings from May to October, and also hosts a few events organized by village associations,” explains the mayor, Michel Gandilhon.

Residents and walkers alike can also come and enjoy its park, which is free to access, all year round.

A sale price of 800,000 euros

Saint-Étienne Métropole had acquired this property – from the works council of a Parisian bank, which organized holiday camps there – for the equivalent of 150,000 euros (the transaction was made in francs at the time ). The community is now preparing to resell it for 800,000 euros (price in accordance with the opinion of the State Real Estate Department).

The lucky buyer? The Goodmatch company, associated with a major investment fund.

As Sylvie Fayolle, new interim president, and Robert Karulak, vice-president of tourism, recalled when announcing this sale this Thursday, the Metropolis had been seeking to sell the Château de Fontanès for several years, which costs it 50,000 euros each year in operation, not to mention the renovation costs (recently, the roof was completely redone).

“A qualitative project around tourism”

Part with it, certainly, but not at any price, and especially not to do anything with it. The idea has always been to develop “a qualitative project around tourism, which is a new, strong tool of attractiveness for our territory”. A call for expressions of interest was launched in this regard four years ago. Only two candidates came forward, and so it was Goodmatch who just won the piece. “We fell in love with this place,” says Frédéric Misiak, one of Goodmatch’s three partners.

Based in Paris and Lyon, this company is basically a project management assistance firm but this is not its first attempt in tourism. And she thinks big for the Château de Fontanès. Including the purchase price, it will invest approximately 8.6 million euros (including 3.5 million euros for renovations and 1.5 million euros for interior design) to transform the premises. in tourist structure.

“Halfway between the campsite and Club Med”

“The idea is to offer contemporary hybrid and premium accommodation, halfway between camping and Club Med. A place in the heart of nature, where we come to recharge our batteries as a couple, with family or friends, whether for a weekend or a full week,” explains Frédéric Misiak, who partly targets a regional clientele as well as a professional clientele.

The complex, with library, music room, etc., will include twenty-six rooms and four suites in the castle itself, but also twelve eco-lodges scattered throughout the park (six for two people and six for four to six people). . For prices, “we will be around 100 to 300 euros per night,” reveals Frédéric Misiak.

The opening is hoped for mid-2026, after ten to fourteen months of work.

(1) If the first written traces of a castle on the site date back to the 11the century, the castle in its current form dates from the 18the century.

Services and events open to the general public

The future tourist structure which will be set up on the site of the Fontanès castle will not only include accommodation. There you will also find various relaxation and leisure offers which will not be reserved for customers alone but open to everyone.

The area will thus be equipped with a spa-welness area both indoors and outdoors, with a small swimming pool, bubble sauna, cold bath… But also a lounge bar and a restaurant “with a minimum of sixty seats, not to mention the terrace”, where regional products will take pride of place. Moreover, the establishment will benefit from its own vegetable garden as well as an “aromatic courtyard”. A “responsible” grocery store should also open its doors. And environmental protection will be at the heart of the project, both in the development and operation phases (waste treatment, water recycling, electric vehicles, etc.).

A whole program of activities is also planned: Pilates classes, horse riding, etc. As well as regular cultural events.

The park will still be open to the general public during the day and the south wing will remain available for rental for seminars, weddings or family celebrations, independently of the hotel complex.

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