Sleep in a shop: the French town breathing new life into its high street

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Formerly a hub of luxury shoemaking, the medieval town of Romans-sur-Isère is turning its empty shops into stylish self-catering stays

It’s certainly an eye-catching shop window, full of interesting artefacts – an old sewing machine stands poised over a sheet of leather, with an oil lamp on one side, ancient shoe moulds on the other. There’s more leather hanging above, with footsteps cut into it. I step into the Tannerie, then lock the door behind me.

I’m not here to shop, but to sleep in the appealing apartment inside it, with an inviting living room leading up several steps to comfortable sleeping quarters. A kitchenette and a swish modern shower room complete the picture. It’s spacious, tastefully decorated and better than many hotel rooms – yet a fraction of the price, at €75 a night.

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