What future for Mont Royal, the mythical establishment of Réalmont? Seals of the gendarmerie appeared on the entrance and the restaurant is now closed.
What happens at the Mont Royal hotel-restaurant? Known as Hotel Noël, run by chef Noël Galinier and then by his daughter and son-in-law, Michèle and Jean-Paul Granier, the Mont Royal establishment was a temple of Tarn gastronomy in the last century, from 1955 to 2003.
In 1962, the Michelin guide awarded it a star, one of the first Tarnaises. Réalmont was to become the gastronomic center of the Tarn, the restaurant welcoming gourmets and greats of this world. The President of the Republic François Mitterrand had lunch there on November 16, 1988 before inaugurating the Louisa-Paulin college.
But for several years, things have changed a lot. On July 13, the gendarmes went to the site and closed the building. On the seals, we can read the nature of the offence: “operation of a room assigned to accommodation despite an administrative closure”. The hotel-restaurant which was the glory of Réalmont has been in decline for a long time.
In May 2019, the prefecture issued an order “ordering the hotel-restaurant to be closed to the public”. The premises are considered dangerous. “The establishment presents a serious risk to the safety of both its employees and the public received” insisted the prefecture. However, the establishment reopened after the health crisis, the hotel having been transformed into guest rooms.
Takeover by the town hall
In 2016, the mayor Henri Viaules, wanting to carry out work at the entrance to the city and the creation of a roundabout, used the town hall’s right of first refusal to buy the Mont Royal for 290,000 €. “The hotel was just for sale, and we needed this space. Everyone agreed in the municipal council to buy it back. We have carried out the necessary work for the roundabout. We then had to sell the Mont Royal to the manager. A compromise had been signed for 260,000 €”, assures the mayor Henri Viaules.
But of sale, there will be none, the manager never having had the funds necessary for the purchase. The municipal opposition is also stepping up to the plate, ensuring that the latter does not pay his rents correctly. “It’s wrong,” protested the mayor. “Rent payments are up to date. We simply exempted him from paying the rent, at the height of the crisis when the government asked to help the traders, for 7 months. In the same way as others elsewhere, ”assures Henri Viaules.
More than three years after the establishment’s closing order issued by the prefecture on July 13, Mont Royal has finally ceased all activity. “I was put out manu militari, I was expelled in less than an hour by the gendarmes, without explanation”, claims the manager, who did not wish to react any longer.
“Following the reopening of the establishment despite the administrative closure and the report of an individual, the prefect of the Tarn carried out new checks in July 2022. The State services and the gendarmerie then noted numerous non-compliance with health safety rules, the unsanitary conditions of the hotel and non-compliance with the prefectural decree of May 29, 2019. Since the observation of non-compliance with the prefectural decree, the file has been referred to the judiciary and therefore of the public prosecutor ”, reacts for its part the prefecture.
Many Réalmontais today are wondering about the future of the building in disrepair and which, for a potential buyer, would require heavy, costly and tedious work to bring it up to standard in the case of the continuation of a hotel activity.
“I don’t know what will happen to this building,” concedes the mayor. “Whether the manager is going to bring it up to standard and reopen or not. If he can no longer pay his rent, we will have to evict him. I asked the town’s lawyer to follow the file, to see what can be done. But I have at least three hoteliers, serious people, who are interested”, assures Henri Viaules. This administrative closure does not therefore necessarily sound the death knell for the famous hotel-restaurant in Realmont. Perhaps it will be reborn in a few months to delight the Tarn people again and beyond.