Manufacture Royale de Lectoure: An Abandoned Tannery Turned Retreat in Southwest France

French interior design journalist, stylist, and set designer Christèle Ageorges and her husband Hubert Derlance fell in love with the small town of Lectoure, in the Gers, while walking a stretch of the ancient Way of St James in 2017. Long-time Parisians on holiday, the couple had no real plans to move until serendipity knocked on their door, eventually leading them to discover a derelict 18th-century royal tannery which had been on the market for ages. After numerous transformations, the property had been converted into a retirement home in the 1960s, then abandoned for over 30 years.

Restoring the historic building to its former glory became an all-consuming project for Christèle and Hubert. They moved to Lectoure permanently and, working to French architect François Muracciole’s plans, slowly and respectfully brought the impressive tannery back to life with a team of skilled artisans. Manufacture Royale de Lectoure opened its doors to its first guests in summer 2022. Offering stylish, spacious bed and breakfast accommodation (two rooms and three suites) as well as hosting workshops, pop-ups, retreats, culinary events, and photo shoots, the couple will also be opening a private vacation wing with basin pool and garden.

Last but not least, true to their passion for walking—and their gratitude for the route that led them to Lectoure—Christèle and Hubert have created a minimalist Pilgrims’ Cottage in the former tannery’s cellars. For a modest sum, families and friends can break their hiking journey for a few days in a haven of peace.

Let’s take a look.

Photography by Jérôme Galland, courtesy of Manufacture Royale de Lectoure.

a stone’s throw from the main street, right in the heart of lectoure, th 9
Above: A stone’s throw from the main street, right in the heart of Lectoure, the majestic Manufacture Royale enjoys views of the ramparts, the surrounding countryside, and the Pyrenees mountains. The spa town—well known for its blue woad (a flowering plant often used as dye), antiques shops, and rich architectural heritage—has plenty to offer culturally and gastronomically, too.
for the love of history and luminous stone: the beautiful south facade features 10
Above: For the love of history and luminous stone: The beautiful south facade features a central clock and three bells crowned with silhouettes representing the Virgin Mary and two angels. The royal tannery was designed by French architect Pierre Racine in 1754.