Each room in Hotel Toussaint offers a large entryway, lounge space within the bedroom and a big bathroom to make the stay as comfortable and grand as possible. In the Josephine room, pictured here, along with the other three double queen rooms, guests have a soft sleeper sofa for added versatility in the space. Interior Photos by Kim Meadowlark

C’est Magnifique: Bienvenue à Hotel Toussaint

While every element of Hotel Toussaint, the newest addition to St. Francisville’s buzzing hospitality scene, was meticulously thought out, the name happened upon owner Don Charlet by chance. En route to what he says felt like his tenth naming and branding session, Don spotted a license plate that read “2 SAINT.”

“I immediately thought of the famous French artist who we share a last name with,” he says of famed artist Nicolas Toussaint Charlet who was a painter for Napoleon Bonaparte. “When I pitched it in the meeting, everyone knew that was the name.”

The Charlet family is no newcomer to the St. Francisville scene. The family has been one of the leading forces in revamping the city through ventures like design and décor business The Corbel, clothing stores Barlow and Deyo Supply Company, as well as event venue The Mallory. Dubbed North Commerce, all of the businesses, now including Hotel Toussaint, are in one place. And that’s just how the Charlets like it.

Lauren Charlet and Don Charlet

Working with his daughter-in-law and design pro Lauren Charlet on the new hotel project, Don says they were always on the same page, from inspiration to final touches. With Don’s background in construction—Charlet Brothers Construction, which Don started with his brother Brent in 2001, has been a key part of bringing to life the Charlets’ vision in St. Francisville—and Lauren’s in design, their skills complemented one another and allowed the hotel project to remain a true family venture.

“We have lots of projects around town that we’re very proud of, but this is the one that reflects our family the most,” Don explains. “We had complete freedom to do exactly what we wanted.”

The grey velvet headboard found in the Amelia room is one of Don’s favorite pieces in the hotel. The walls and ceiling are washed in Benjamin Moore’s “White Dove.”

From drawing out the entire building, including the exact wall dimensions and measurements, to decorating each room with Hunt Slonem trays beneath coffee stations and fashionable coffee table books on empty surfaces, their family’s design dream came to life. And while the many French-inspired elements are obvious from the second you step into the white-walled courtyard, the two took the theme a step further, incorporating high-quality reproductions of paintings by the hotel’s namesake, Nicolas Toussaint Charlet, in every room, allowing his artwork to guide nearly every detail of the design process.

“A lot of people don’t understand how you get there, and how even the bones of a building are so important,” he explains. “But this is just the perfect complement to our other businesses in town.”

With the hotel located directly next to The Mallory, it gives wedding and event guests a convenient lodging option that feels like a natural extension of the venue since it was designed and built by the same team. And then The Corbel comes into the equation.

The Josephine room’s walls and ceilings are painted in “Aegean Teal” by Benjamin Moore, complementing the Nicolas Toussaint Charlet painting hanging in the black marble-floored entryway across from a large antique chest and mirror.

Most every single item inside each of the eight hotel rooms was sourced through The Corbel and is, therefore, available for guests to purchase.

“There have been so many times when I’m staying at a hotel and I see a cool piece of art or furniture that I want for my home,” Don explains. “And it’s usually impossible to find or purchase it.”

“A woman recently called after her stay asking about the sheets and pillow inserts that were in her room,” Lauren adds. “We were able to order and ship those to her the next day.”

In the entryway of the Amelia room, Lauren chose two deep blue velvet lounge chairs, an antique sideboard for coffee service, and an antique Turkish rug to sit atop black marbled floors. Above the chairs hangs a reproduction of one of Nicolas Toussaint Charlet’s most iconic paintings featuring Napoleon Bonaparte on horseback during battle.

The beauty of this concept goes beyond customer service, though. With guests constantly purchasing pieces like antiques and art, Lauren and the rest of the Hotel Toussaint and The Corbel teams are able to keep the spaces fresh—allowing guests to have a new experience every time they stay.

The ever-changing nature of the rooms echoes the favor of artist Nicolas Toussaint Charlet’s most famous subject, Napoleon Bonaparte. The French emperor is known to have had many women in his life, including his first wife Joséphine, his second wife Marie Louise, and his alleged mistresses Marguerite, Clementine, Eléonore and Amelia. These women, in addition to Napoleon’s sisters Caroline and Elisa, offer the names for each of the eight guest rooms at Hotel Toussaint.

In every bathroom, guests can find a Carrara marble double vanity, a walk-in shower, L’Occitane bath products and custom Graccioza robes.

Although every room has a reproduction of a Nicolas Toussaint Charlet painting and a marble floored entryway, each space is unique, much like the rooms in the across-the-street St. Francisville Inn, with which Hotel Toussaint shares its check-in desk, as well as amenities like the pool, spa, bar and restaurant, as both properties fall under the management of Louisiana Hospitality Group.

“Every room has a completely different feeling,” Lauren says. “And we made each space a mix of many different things, all with lots of layers, making them timeless but still bold.”

Outside of each eggshell blue door, guests have access to common space gravel courtyards complete with arched doorways, French olive jars, copper lanterns and several water features. But as beautiful as the guest rooms and outdoor spaces are, what keeps drawing guests back is what lies beyond the hotel’s walls.

The white-walled courtyard at Hotel Toussaint is complete with running fountains and small sitting areas, with the bustling town of St. Francisville just outside the brick walls. Photo by Cage Charlet

Steps from Hotel Toussaint, there is a variety of restaurants, shopping and more. One of the best things about the small town of St. Francisville is that there is no need to drive anywhere. Everything you want to see, do and eat is within walking, biking or carting distance. “We’re on the cusp of people figuring that out,” Don explains.

When booking at Hotel Toussaint, guests can request free bicycles or rent a golf cart for their stay, either of which would be waiting at thier door upon arrival.

The Primo copper lanterns found throughout the courtyard bring a soft glow to the space at night. Photo by

Since its opening in April 2024, the hotel has already been bustling with guests from near and far. And that was, and continues to be, the goal of the Charlet family: to bring people to St. Francisville.

“When you live somewhere you love, you want to show it off,” says Lauren. “I think that’s why so many new businesses have been such a success. Our goal has always been for us to be good for our community and for our community to be good to us. We feel like we live in such a special corner of the world, so of course we want others to experience the beauty and uniqueness that is St. Francisville.”