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Our Story

Hotel in the Centre of Carcassonne

Come to discover our hotel in the centre of Carcassonne, it will reveal you our personality.

If your room is unique, it's because we are too.

Our story should help you understand why we love to welcome you!

Cécile and Stéphane RIVES



1-1 A long time couple:

Cécile : Our story is about a couple, a meeting. We were 15 when we met. I like to share, travel and discover people, their way of life. In the summer, we worked together in the family hotel of Stéphane's uncle and aunt. This is where we discovered the business, welcoming customers, attention to detail, anticipating their desires, meeting their needs.

Stéphane : My passion is the vineyard, the wine, the local products. It's an everyday job that my grandparents taught me. A school of patience. I like manual activities and I'm not clumsy. Being young, I led construction sites in the building. I am a perfectionist and as demanding to myself as I can be with my workers.

1-2 First and foremost a family:

Stéphane : Our commitment to the family is paramount. It is closely linked to our profession, and our children are increasingly involved in our projects and projects. Our elders, Louis (2001) and Édouard (2002) were very early involved in the construction sites. The opinion of Mathilde and Adèle, respectively born in 2006 and 2007, helps us to change the decoration of our establishments.

Cecile : The needs of children are our priority. Colomban (born in 2011) is sometimes at the reception after finishing his school work. Smiling, he welcomes customers. If we chose the hotel, our children retain their free will. Louis studied in Albertville, he joined the Pole Espoir Alpine Ski Franais. His sports activity gives him the chance to travel around the world. His perception of our profession as a client helps us to improve.


1-3 Our passion:

Cécile : We are builders, undertake and innovate constantly to offer our customers the best welcome, comfort and services that will make them happy with their stay. Our job is to please by refining every detail.

Stéphane : We want to stand out from hotel chains that offer a soulless, uniform welcome. We want proximity with our guests, getting to know them better to receive them, meet the desires of their own. Our guests are like our family, they must feel at home in their room.



2-1 More space, between tradition and modernity:

Stéphane : It all started with an old establishment in bad condition at the foot of the City of Carcassonne. At just 28, Cécile and I are embarking on the adventure: we buy it to make it a 4-star hotel.

Cécile : The task is colossal, we rework all the spaces of reception. The goal: marry tradition and modernity at the foot of the medieval city. A special apartment is quickly built to allow us to work on site 24 hours a day, in the basement of the establishment. We take on all the roles in the hotel: receptionists, decorators, night guards, waiters, building workers and cleaning agents ...

Stéphane : 10 years is the time it took to set up the Hotel du Château. An upmarket establishment at the foot of the city of Carcassonne. The annex, a hundred meters away, becomes the Hotel Montmorency and its three stars.

Cécile : The architecture and decoration of the middle ages are omnipresent at the Hôtel du Château: wall hangings, coffered ceilings, stone walls and wrought iron. The welcome to the French is subtle, consistent with quality materials and respect for the rules of art.

Stéphane : 2010 is a new stage with the acquisition of the Hôtel de l'Octroi. A 2 star establishment also close to the medieval city. The latter includes 17 rooms which, although in good condition are a bit dated. We make it more contemporary.

Cécile : An opportunity is emerging: we buy 4 adjacent houses in 4 months. The opportunity to enlarge the Hotel de l'Octroi. It now opens onto a garden, a large terrace and a swimming pool. A contemporary and dynamic hotel under the towers of the medieval city of Carcassonne.

Stéphane : Despite an investment higher than expected, we decide to turn this place into a space with contemporary design, colorful and happy. A simple decoration that could be reproduced at home. All halfway between the city and the city of Carcassonne.

Cecile : At the same time, we have the opportunity to expand the Montmorency Hotel and develop our offer through two houses for sale nearby.

Stéphane : We are investing again, not without taking risks. The yard, which uses outside companies for the first time, takes all my energy. I no longer have the availability to welcome customers. A heartbreaker ...

Cécile : The Montmorency hotel is undergoing a new transformation, towards a more contemporary identity, a colorful and upscale design and decoration.


2-2 The service: versatile teams that listen to the customer:

Cécile : Our priority is listening to the customer. In our 3 hotels in Carcassonne, recruited staff must be versatile and meet all expectations. Maintenance, reception: 30 people are available and patient to anticipate the requests of our guests.

Stephane : Listen, reassure the customer, satisfy his every wish: our teams are trained to respond favorably in all circumstances.

Cécile : We want a dynamic and committed staff, able to endure the constraints of this demanding profession that is the hotel. Sometimes we have to change teams to make sure the service is perfect.

Stéphane : Gradually, the hotels evolved as and when the customers' requirements. A luxurious, welcoming and comfortable room and an exemplary welcome are no longer sufficient. We need to offer more.
No spa exists in Carcassonne, in 2011. We decide to offer our customers this extra luxury, in the basement of the Hotel du Château. A private area (pool, steam room) allows our client to enjoy the calm and receive all the care of relaxation and well-being that he desires. A haven of autonomous peace, dedicated to relaxation and aesthetics.

Cécile : We train 4 masseuses in the Carita establishments, in Paris. THE reference brand of care and aesthetics. The care is provided by our own staff within the establishment. High-end care in private and intimate cabins. Our customers, now faithful, take advantage of this privileged space.


2-3 Customer reception at studied prices:

Stéphane : Since 2010 the relationship with customers has been turned upside down by online booking platforms. For these, the ease of research is an asset. The comparative offer (price, comfort, location, services) saves time. But for us, professionals of the hotel industry, this intermediary breaks any discussion prior to booking.

Cecile : We have no more visibility. The crisis of 2008 triggers a price war to ensure filling. Internet and its online booking sites increase the competition, collecting their commission to ensure hotels the best SEO. Margins are trimmed (up to half the price of a room) on tariffs already sharply lower.

Stéphane : We are losing contact with our customers. Our investments and the quality of service offered become disproportionate to the expectations of customers. Will he have to fire?
Online reviews are a new challenge. Customers express dissatisfaction without even telling us about it. The digital tool, the smartphone, takes precedence over the human relationship. The job of hotelier becomes painful when the opinions are unjustified, excessive, indifferent to the care that we put to answer their requests. These negative opinions, although few, demotivate us as well as our teams. It becomes difficult to enjoy renewing ourselves in these conditions. We need change, make a new start.

Cécile : We realize that everything that has guided us so far must be preserved: customer reception, availability, attention to detail and the desire to do everything to provide happiness. This luxury has a price, we decide to maintain our prices not to degrade the quality of our offer.

Stéphane : Gradually the use of online booking platforms is changing. Clients better understand the offer and the value of the benefits. We relativize the reproaches and take into account more and more opinions that can encourage us to progress. We grew up with hotels in Carcassonne, but we need a new fresh air, undertake a new project.



3-1 Finding us:

Cecile : The family is what we believe in forever. That's where we need to restart. Spend more time with our children, find a life together, live according to our values.

Stéphane : We want stone, of the old who has resisted the vicissitudes of time. The Hôtel des Remparts is the new starting point of this adventure, that of the Crusades left from the old town of Aigues-Mortes, in Gard. A holiday resort for families come to taste the sun and the heat of the Camargue.

3-2 We renew:

Cécile : Carcassonne is only a step towards the sea, Spain. Guests stay only one night off the highway. They are in a hurry, visit the city of Carcassonne urgently, and leave in the caps of the A9. They are not ready to taste the rest we offer them, to enjoy a break in a schedule too narrow.

Stéphane : Aigues-Mortes is however a place to stay, we come to rest and enjoy the holidays to the rhythm of the Camargue. You get to know the local traditions, manades, fauna and flora. We bask on the beaches, a good distance from Montpellier. We discover the locals, their customs and local products, boat trips and music in the great outdoors.


3-3 We improve:

Cécile : The terrace of the Hotel des Remparts is the starting point of your stay. Just set your bags, you will enjoy the secret recipe for a cocktail concocted by Stéphane and the boys. Then, one will discover the freshness of vast salons, under vaults of stone bathed with a soft light penetrating by the high windows. The indoor pool will be the intimate place to relax after a summer heat.

Stéphane : Former barracks, then gendarmerie and prison, the building has retained its massive architecture with spacious rooms. The rooms in old carved stone and their high ceilings offer comfort and modernity, sobriety and refinement.

Cécile : It's a new balance that is now sought: reconcile the charm and strength of the stone with the comfort and serenity of our rooms.
The Hotel des Remparts must be the place where one comes to seek the tranquility, the sweetness of life between friends or family, for business meetings. In all seasons enjoy a warm and welcoming place.

Stéphane : When we took over the hotel in 2016, we cherished this dream, but the reality of the building imposed constraints that we had not considered. The site is much harder, the stone reminds us of the reality of old buildings. Renovating and rebuilding while respecting history is Titans' job, especially when time is running out!

Cecile : The rooms had to be ready in 2017, but the technical delays and especially the inconstancy of the craftsmen who upset the calendar and the budgetary imperatives become an additional constraint.

Stéphane : Every day, at 6am, I personally prepare the site and the equipment to prevent any delay and make the project start as soon as possible. I take advantage of breaks to build plans, tweak what can be. My days end late at night, performing tasks that do not harm the neighborhood.

Cecile : Summer 2017, it's opening! But only the bar and the terrace. Still in the works, we see a glimmer of hope. This first and short season is a success.

Stéphane : Almost a year later, after 19 months of construction, the hotel was born, finally. The old military building welcomes its first customers, while our family is reborn, otherwise.

3-4-Our life today:
We now share our time between Carcassonne where we continue to operate our 3 establishments and Aigues-Mortes.

Our eldest son is still evolving in the Alps as a high-level skier and is continuing his studies at the EDHEC in Nice at the same time. Our second son alternates graduate studies in international trade on the faculty of Nottingham and that of Valencia in Spain. Our eldest daughter is educated in a high school in La Grande Motte and our second daughter is boarding in a high school in Montpellier and at the same time follows her passion for equestrian jumping. Finally, our youngest son is educated in a college in Grau du Roi.

We have been significantly weakened by this terrible COVID crisis which has hit our industry hard. But we held on and that's over now!
We don't yet know what the rest of our lives will be, but one thing is certain, the desire to create atmospheres and invent hotels is still more than ever in us!

To be continued...
Charmant et convivial Nous avons été charmé par cet Hôtel. Nous avons passé une nuit et pris un bon et copieux petit déjeuné. Les chambres sont propres et décoré avec beaucoup de goût. L'Hôtel en lui même est très cosy et familiale avec Eliot pour vous servir... Tout cela au pied de la cité de Carcassonne. Nous tenons tout simplement à vous remercier pour ce moment passé. Je pense dire avec certitude que nous reviendrons.
– Laeti1319 France
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