History of the Relais 500 de Vienne

Mr. Bélanger, who was Canadian, decided to establish a motel south of Lyon in 1959, as a stopover for motorists travelling between Paris and Cannes. With a plan for an American hotel in his pocket, he decided to settle along the Nationale 7 in Chonas l'Amballan. His plan was revolutionary for the time, with full bathrooms and spacious rooms and the car parked just outside the room. At that time, the establishment was called "MOTEL KM 500." Mr Bélanger remained there until late 1965.

 

In 1966, Mr. Claude Courant decided to enter the hotel business after a career in telemechanics. He had to learn the profession very quickly. In 1969, he was joined by Mrs. Courant, and they were a couple embarking on a great adventure. A small restaurant, a creperie, was created in 1968. At that time the Nationale 7 was a very busy road, and the Motel had its own service station.

  • On 25 January 1970, I came to the Motel for the first time in a bassinet.

With the facility increasing in capacity, the main building saw the addition of a dining room. An 18m x 6m swimming pool also appeared to the delight of young and old.

In "the heyday" according to my parents, with a faithful clientele, the Motel became too small. The choice was made: my parents decided to add 18 rooms, which would be created in 1978, making the total number of rooms 36. A change in the brand name followed, and "Motel KM 500" became "Relais 500 de Vienne."

The establishment is made up of two buildings, the hotel and the motel. Numerous changes and improvements took place each year with a lot of work.

  • 1986, included in "Logis de France"
  • 1992, I officially started working with my parents
  • 1996, the arrival of Bryan Courant, who would eventually come to help us in 2014
  • 1999 kitchen redesigned and upgraded
  • 2002 and 2003 total renovation of motel rooms, with rooms and bathrooms redesigned, and air conditioning was installed in each room
  • 2003 the arrival of Kendrick Courant who will come to help us in 2020
  • 2014 Bryan Courant returned to the kitchen with his newly acquired diploma (3rd generation)

In 2006, a disease took my mother, leaving behind an inconsolable son. Our oldest customers have years of memories of an unconventional and very endearing house. The patriarch decided to throw in the towel (legally, but not really in his mind). At the same time, the Motel is 50 years strong and I'm alone in command with my wife Rose Marie.

  • 2007 Reception desk, seminar rooms, and their access ways renovated. Fire safety standards implemented.
  • 2009 Air conditioning and LCD TVs installed in the hotel building. At the same time, the Motel turns 50 years old.
  • 2010 Dining room renovated.
  • 2011 18 hotel rooms and bathrooms renovated, double-glazed windows installed, and corridors renovated.
  • 2012 Bar renovated.
  • 2013 Motel rooms renovated.
  • 2014 Exterior renovated.
  • 2015 Nationale 7 entry redeveloped.

Construction areas are a common site, thanks to my friend the State, who is always full of ideas when it bears no cost, who requires us, in these times of crisis, to strengthen fire safety to a new classification, to meet the requirement of making our facilities accessible to anyone with a disability (very legitimate and very complicated to put in place).

Our family has been in this house for 47 years. So you can understand if we are attached to it. History will decide if Bryan or Kendrick will want to follow suit and carry on the family tradition. Ideas and projects never fail to continue to illustrate the peaceful saga of this local institution, under the benevolent eyes of my father and my mum, who monitor me from their paradise.

And yet there are plenty of projects to come in 2016 to celebrate the 50 years, or a half-century, of our family being at the head of this magnificent establishment.

Olivier Courant