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A few words about

Aurélie Vermesse, 51, is the owner and director of Hôtel Clarence. A true daughter of Lille, where she raised her own three children, Aurélie Vermesse had already made a name for herself in the marketing and retail world, and as CEO of paint company Mäder Colors, when she bounded into the hotel industry.

The idea first struck her suddenly in 2011, during a stay at the Relais & Château near Reims. Surrounded by beauty and dazzled by the setting, her thoughts nevertheless raced back instantly to Lille: specifically, to the historic mansions in Lille’s Old Town ("Vieux-Lille") and their potential to transform into modern establishments for guests. No sooner said than done! Once inspired, Aurélie Vermesse was determined to see it through. She enrolled at the prestigious ESSEC Business School and earned an MBA in Hospitality. By 2013 the project was officially launched. In August 2014, she became the proud owner of this magnificent mansion, built in 1736 by the Count and Countess of Hespel in the rue de la Barre. And sure enough, one month later, construction work began.

Entranced by its stunning rooms, whose original flooring, woodwork, and fireplaces remained completely intact, by its elegant architecture, by its garden and its views of the steeple of the Church of St Catherine, Aurélie Vermesse brought new life to the hotel, while preserving its 18th century charm.

Hôtel Clarance is a world apart, whose ambiance recalls the words of Charles Baudelaire, which continue to inspire Aurélie Vermesse: "There, all is order and beauty / Luxury, peace, and pleasure." A place out of the ordinary, where each guest is greeted by the owner herself, an owner who makes it it her mission to infuse the home with warmth, generosity and the sincere friendliness for which Northerners are famous. The htoel is a pure reflection of the spirit of the region, or as the locals call it "Ch'ti".