Reopened and rebranded in 2014, the Vendue (formerly known as the Vendue Inn) is all about the arts. With on-site docents ready to guide you around the property’s exhibition spaces, an artist-in-residence whose studio is open to visitors, and pieces from local galleries available for sale in your guestroom, creative forces are at work everywhere you look. The Vendue’s mission is to serve as a hub for the local art scene. The hotel’s opening exhibit drew from local galleries to feature everything from classical realist paintings to a postmodern installation made of View-Masters and Plexiglas.

The Vendue is set in a suite of former warehouses in the city’s French Quarter. Guestrooms are in two different buildings, 19 and 26 Vendue Range, and the design can vary widely from space to space; some rooms have a more contemporary atmosphere, with exposed brick walls and subway-tiled walk-in showers, while others are decked out in Queen Anne–style furniture and brocaded fabrics.

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Always Meet the Artist in Residence!

The walls of Le Vendue are adorned with paintings and works from a range of local artists, many by this man, Fred Jamar. Fred works in his study in a corner room of the hotel from 11-4, having bought a house in Charleston after taking early retirement from his Risk Management job on Wall St 17 years ago. I chatted him up for about 20 minutes. We compared notes on our respective gallery scenes, the 50 in Charleston versus the 350 in my West Chelsea neighborhood alone, and he took an interest in my own creative outlet as an aspiring writer. Fred is Belgian, which is just one aspect that makes him unique among the locals. Unfortunately he couldn’t shed much light on how there came to be multiple Belgian gelato shops dotting the Charleston area!

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