Arrived in their fifties, Thérèse and Olivier Merland decided to embark on the adventure of bed and breakfast. After a few months of activity, the results are more than positive.
Why did you decide to open guest rooms?
I was in education, my husband worked in a company. It was a lot of stress. We wanted to move on, work together and be in touch with the public. We lived in Valence where we were already renting a room and we liked the idea. So we decided to go on a larger scale.
What type of place were you looking for to settle in?
We wanted an atypical place, workshop or loft style. We looked in Lyon because it is bigger than Valence and there are needs in hotels. We finally came across a place quite quickly, which we liked: an old factory that had already been transformed into a loft. There was quite a bit of work to do, which allowed us to start renting our four guest rooms three months after purchase.
Where is your loft with your guest rooms located?
Right in the city center, near the metro, Tête d'Or park, Part-Dieu train station, in a shopping street. It might sound noisy but the house is located in an interior courtyard. So it's very calm. We wake up with the song of doves.
Did you undergo training to open your guest rooms?
Yes, and we welcome it because we learned a lot during this two-day course. We had heard of the courses offered by the company Samedi Midi, which also publishes guest house guides. It is an extremely practical and realistic training, without tongue in cheek. The host, Patrice Lejeune, does not try to make the participants believe that the bed and breakfast activity is wonderful. On the contrary, he puts his finger on all the difficulties to come. We are therefore warned. And indeed, when you start, you realize that it is a real job.
What assessment do you make after seven months of activity?
We are very happy with what we are doing! It is satisfying for us to offer good times to others. Either our guests are on vacation and they are relaxed and happy to discover this atypical place, or they are company employees on the move, who are delighted to stay elsewhere than in an anonymous hotel. Here, we take care of our guests, we chat with them, we advise them on the best places, we try to make their lives easier. And besides, we are appreciated for the quality of the welcome.
So, no regrets?
No, none, quite the contrary. And if we had to start again, we would start again without hesitation!
To find out more about Thérèse and Olivier Merland's guest rooms: