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Charme and culture in Arles

The four-room Le Collatéral is a tiny triumph, a minute masterpiece with sweeping views across the French rooftops of Arles that has become a creative sanctuary filled with art and design. The grandeur here is created not by sheer size and volume but by art-filled open public spaces that encourage encounters and the sharing of perspectives.

The curator, architect, designer, and grand visionary behind Le Collatéral is Philippe Schiepan who, along with his wife Anne-Laurence Schiepan, bought this 1,000-square-meter former church, which features elements dating back to the 6th century. Through a sheer desire to inspire and immerse guests in a world of commissioned artwork set against bare concrete and brick, metal and wooden staircases, and geometric-shaped furniture and features, Schiepan transformed the structure into a hybrid space that frequently hosts exhibitions, workshops, and artist-in-residence programs. Inspired by Arles and the UNESCO-heritage landscapes of the Camargue, the hotel is bathed in ochre, gray, blue, and gold—the colors of the salt, reeds, water, and sand that define this magical area of France.

Dating to the 6th century with “new” elements added in the 18th century, the structure that houses Le Collatéral has had many incantations, from church to cabaret to furniture store to its life now as a fully immersive gallery and hotel. More than a hotel, Le Collatéral is literally an ongoing performance. Here, artworks and sculptural lighting pieces fill the building. Wood beams, meanwhile, adorn the structure in a style reminiscent of area huts, with textures formed from stone, wood, and metal. A salon; a library; an organic breakfast that is itself a delcious work of art; and a terrace with views of Arles further serve as a contrast to the hotel’s four rooms, which are cozy, Zen-like retreats.