THE TRUE STORY OF VILLA RAGAZZI

Who are we?

This year we're celebrating 20 years together and 15 years of Villa Ragazzi! It's an opportunity to tell you our story, to explain what we wanted to create with Villa Ragazzi and, for those of you who have never visited us before, to give you a glimpse of who we are.

This year we've decided to tell you our story: who we are, how we met and why we decided to create what was to become an essential venue for the gay community: Villa Ragazzi.

It all started a little over 20 years ago, when I was Webmaster for a large insurance mutual, which explains why I, Cédric, am writing these few lines today.

Cédric

By then I'd already been in Lyon for a few years. When I moved into my first flat, I knew straight away that I wasn't cut out to live on my own - I had to have people in the house! So I started telling everyone I made friends with that my door was open if one day they needed a bed. After a few months the situation got out of hand and I found myself with new people every night, which wasn't a problem, but when it was made clear to me that my sexuality could be problematic for some people, I kicked everyone out. Welcoming yes, but intransigent with tolerance. A few years later I met the man who was to change my life forever...

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Stéphane

At the time, Stéphane was a leading figure in Lyon's gay scene. I regularly bumped into him in his bar, but his status as boss made him totally invisible to me. Until the evening of 15 November 2003, when he finally managed to attract my attention by using some well thought-out stratagems. We never left each other's side... Shortly after we met, he missed his first passion, cooking, too much and Stéphane decided to leave Lyon to take over a restaurant in the neighbouring countryside. Of course I followed him, he taught me to carry more than 2 plates at a time (quite a feat lol) and I helped him with the service in the evenings and at weekends. We stayed there for 3 years. Then one evening Stéphane told me about the crazy project he had in mind: to create a gay guest house in the south of France! He was waiting, he told me, "to meet the right person to do it as a couple" (yes, me!). The idea of finally having a place where I could welcome people, with Stéphane's experience to establish a framework, completely excited me.

Villa Ragazzi

So I went for it. We visited 24 houses before finding the one that met all our criteria: the possibility of having independent access so that our guests could be totally autonomous, the possibility of having 5 bedrooms, a swimming pool... It had to be located between Nîmes and Montpellier, for ease of access and proximity to our friends at the time.
We bought the house in 2007, and I didn't want it. I liked the structure, but the amount of work that would have to be done to get what we wanted scared me. Once again Stéphane was right, he saw the villa's full potential on the day of the visit.
I started working remotely, combining work during the day with webmastering at night. 2 years of hard work later, we opened with 3 bedrooms, closing for the winter season to go back to work and open 1 then 2 more bedrooms.

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15 years later

15 years later, we're proud to still be here, with more and more visitors from all over the world. Proud to have been able to create the space for tolerance and diversity that I have always dreamed of, with a level of service that is on a par with that of a hotel/restaurant.

We welcome all gays, and if you hear otherwise it's a lie. We're a friendly place, where prejudices are put aside and magic happens every time. All the guests at the table d'hôtes we organise every evening and the loyal customers we've welcomed since the first year can testify to that. We wanted it to be 'gay only', so that everyone can be themselves without fear of the gaze of their deckchair neighbours.

They can also tell you that no, the villa is not a place of debauchery where everything is allowed in full view of everyone. Of course people do meet, and we're delighted to have helped with weddings, but always with respect for the other residents.

Come and discover Villa Ragazzi

But in the end, isn't the best way to get to know Villa Ragazzi is to come and see for yourself? We're waiting for you, we love you and we hope to be with you for many years to come.
 
 
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In our Villa Ragazzi gay bed and breakfast

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