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The La Rochelle Project

The "La Rochelle" proposal : 2009-2011 : In April 2009, Queen Mary was sold by pub and leisure group Mitchells & Butlers plc (successors of brewers Bass-Charrington, who bought the ship for use on the Thames) to a private buyer, Mr Samuel Boudon of La Rochelle, France.  M. Boudon was the managing director of the local Naval Force 3 shipyard, part of the Pole Refit Group specialising in the construction of yachts. M Boudon's plan was to moor the ship in the historic waterfront harbour of La Rochelle as an up-market hotel, restaurant and fitness centre. A 17-month refit was expected with the ship fitted with three suites, 24 four-star rooms and 18 three-star rooms. It had originally been assumed that M Boudon, who appears to have taken a particular liking to Queen Mary had planned to leave her appearance very much as it was, but architects drawings by Flahaut Design of Nantes for the future "Mary Q" involved a substantial rebuild and expansion of her superstructure. Clearly this was necessary to accommodate the suites, rooms and spaces envisaged by M Boudon and whilst it would have changed the ship considerably, it still left the design of a traditional turbine steamer. The project failed due to difficulties with planning permission for the ship and through financing issues, leading M Boudon to have to sell the ship in 2011.

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