Written by Ruben Brochado
The millenary city of Lille prides itself on its heritage. Yet, few hotels have been able to encapsulate the richness of the city’s history while offering contemporary comforts. This exclusive and fashionable boutique-hotel successfully does both, exalting its past by preserving unique design features like parquet flooring, chimneys and period mirrors, while lending contemporary touches through wall-murals and furnishings.
Housed in a former hôtel particulier (or private mansion) erected in 1736 by the Count and Countess of Hespel, the 19-room property also benefits from its own garden, a fine-dining restaurant and common spaces featuring contemporary objets d’art by French and international artists.
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In the heart of the Vieux Lille, the city’s charming and charismatic ‘Old Town’ and within a 10-minute walk to Méert – the patisserie, chocolate shop and tea salon that opened in 1761 (known for its luscious waffles) – and landmarks like the Grande Place and the Opéra de Lille. La Piscine, an art and industry museum, is also just 20 minutes away in Roubaix.
A poem by Baudelaire acts as the welcome message on a plaque outside each of the 19 rooms and suites, all appointed differently. Design flourishes like jeweled light fixtures, Art Deco wall-prints and long drapery were set amid a sophisticated and harmonious color palette. Large windows opened to the sound of chirping birds and the hourly ring of St. Catherine’s church bells, located just behind the garden.
The midsize bathroom fit two people comfortably. However, as add-ons to the original structure, the modern bathrooms lack the historical cachet of the rest of the hotel. Mine featured an off-white pedestal sink with a spacious pullout drawer, energizing ginseng bath products by Clarins, a Bluetooth-equipped mirror that allows guests to play their own music and a walk-in rain shower.
There’s a complimentary mini bar, Bluetooth speaker system, coffee machine and high-powered Wi-Fi. Public spaces are comfortable and convivial – inviting you to stop and truly enjoy both the concept and the harmonious ambiance of this boutique-hôtel.
The hotel’s modern French restaurant, La Table, is presided over by a Michelin-star-honored Chef, Nicolas Pourcheresse, and is a popular target among local and international connaiseurs.
The food skews seasonal and hearty, incorporating herbs foraged from the garden. Room service is a slightly edited version of the restaurant menu and available à la carte around the clock.
With its serene, peaceful garden and sophisticated revival of 18th-century charms, the Clarance is a chic home-base for exploring and truthfully enjoying one of France’s most picturesque northern villes.
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CovetED wants to thank Mr. Blanquart and all the staff of La Clarance for this unique and truly sublime experience we now have the pleasure to share with our readers. A bientôt!
Clarance Hotel – Lille, 32, rue de la Barre; Tel+33(0)3 59 36 35 59;