Clever ideas bring empty churches back to life

Stained glass gives the Sōzō Hotel in Nantes a very luxurious feel that seems worth its four stars... some of the rooms on the second floor have ceilings that are 5.5m high

They may not be the most obvious choice for a new home or business, but about 20 churches a year are being turned into hotels, restaurants, houses – and even a gym.

There are about 90,000 édifices religieux in France, according to the Observatoire du Patri­moine Religieux, and about 500 are at risk.

Many are for sale after years of low maintenance have left them needing costly repairs and upgrades.

They are often in key sites, have lots of space, inside and out, and beautiful ...

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