A heavy red wood door is the only indicator that you have arrived at the palace. As it swings open, time travel seems almost possible.
Quietness resonates and only the footsteps of the front desk attendant may be heard echoing on the stone floors as he patters to greet guests. Take a look around at the simple furnishings. Every detail is carefully selected to tell a story. The ego mirror hanging to the left of the entrance is the visitor's first glimpse into Coustol's genius. Stare into the glass and notice your image is not present. Rather, you are invited to see a world without the weight of personal self-importance--the reflection is of the beauty around you. This perspective is the key to relishing the beauty and the imperfections of thousands of years of history preserved within the palace's walls.
Maria Ursula Ballroom
"Do you know why I had an interesting life? Because I didn't care what people thought."
There is the magnificent architectural story of the Palácio Belmonte and its rich historical context. There is also the story of a French man whose life's passion is quintessentially Thoreau: Frédéric Coustols learned early on how to "suck out all the marrow of life." Philospher, historian, ecologist, archeologist, conservationist and philanthropist, Coustols brings the palace to life simply by being present. Who better to describe the toils of breathing life into ruins than the man who oversaw several years of painstaking restoration? On top of the hill of Saint George's Castle, Coustols missed no detail. The facades, walls and roofs are held together with traditional lime mortar and the 59 panels of biblical tiles, azulejos, taken down, restored and remounted. Every stick of furniture and artwork chosen to complement the history of the palace. All of this chosen by a man who staffs the palace with refugees, the white haired, quick witted Coustols has not told, but rather shown, what it is to use one's talent and resources to do good in life.
Travel Back in Time
Enter Urban Paradise
A black marble pool and stunning organic concept garden provide a serene reprieve from the bustle of Portugal's capital.
Heart of Alfama
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