In 1618, the Order of the Minimes settled in a monastery in Lille. A very strict order, the monks lived not only by their vows of poverty, obedience and chastity, but also by those of humility, punishment and fasting. In 1791, the Minimes left Lille, and the military took over the monastery, transforming it into army headquarters. After the Second World War, the convent was abandoned until an entrepreneur decided that it would make a great hotel. Today, the zealous monks could punish themselves in the fitness room, celebrate Mass in the 300m of conference space, or relax in L'Echiquier, the piano-bar. The atmospheric Jardin du Cloître restaurant serves dishes created by the Lille-born chef Dominique Hochedez.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION
Scenic, close to the Pont de la Citadelle, the zoo and the wide open spaces of the Champ de Mars, Parc de Loisirs de la Citadelle and the Bois de Boulogne, yet with all the benefits and atmosphere of Old Lille. Golden Tulip Alliance Couvent des Minimes, 17 quai du Wault (00 33 3 20 30 62 62; www.goldentulip.com)
ARE YOU LYING COMFORTABLY
Johnny Hallyday likes Room 101, Janet Jackson 202, and David Bowie 303. There are 75 rooms and eight suites.
Freebies: Golden Tulip products, local specialities, and champagne for VIPs.
Keeping in touch: Most rooms have direct-dial telephone, internet access, satellite TV.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Doubles from €150 (£96). Breakfast €14 (£8.95) extra. Apartments/suites cost €320 (£205). Pets are welcome at €15 (£9.60) per night.
I'm not paying that: The Brueghel (00 33 3 20 06 06 69; www.hotel.brueghel.com) has 66 spotless rooms, no restaurant, but a warm welcome. From €65 (£41.50).
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