Ever dreamed of sleeping in the Palace of Versailles?
It looks like you'll get your chance in about a year. Officials announced a plan to convert a building at one of Europe's most popular tourist attractions into 23-bedroom luxury hotel earlier this week, Agence France Presse reports.
"It's a pioneering initiative," Jean-Jacques Aillagon, president of the Chateau de Versailles, said.
The hotel will be built inside the Hotel du Grand Controle, an outlying building that has been the traditional home of the chateau's treasurers.
Some of the rooms will look out on to the "Orangerie" - the chateau's elaborate greenhouse - or the Swiss ornamental lake, the story says. It's expected to open in late 2011.
The palace is a UNESCO World Heritage site that's deemed one of the crowning achievements of 18th-century French art, the story notes
The hotel will be turned over to a private, Belgian company, which will operate the hotel and pay a portion of its profits to the site as rent, the story says. The building will first undergo a $7.3 million renovation, led by historic monuments architect-in-chief Frederic Didier.
In November 2009, France's culture and tourism ministers agreed to encourage the economic and touristic development of French heritage sites. See the article for more information.
Given the role of a private company, however, the plan is not universally embraced in France.
According to France24, the motive to make money isn't a good enough reason to turn over one of France's most prized cultural possessions to a company.
Philippe Revault, a professor at the Paris School of Architecture, told France24:
"Once again, it's economic logic that wins out. In the name of profitability and lack of finances, they're gambling with a public possession, which by definition is inalienable and must remain accessible to all citizens."
I leave you with dreams of Versailles - what better way to go make something beautiful?