Lille is a youthful city in the northern part of France. Previously mainly used as a stopover en route to other parts of the country and beyond, Lille is slowly but surely gaining the reputation that it deserves – as a great city that is well-worth spending a few days at least getting to know!
With a thriving cultural scene, Lille is a terrific place to learn more about the way of life in the north of France. It has a good selection of accommodation options, and the large number of students means that there are heaps of places to eat and drink. Rather than rushing through, try and take some time to discover the city’s charms.
Some top things to do in Lille include:
Explore the Grand Place
The Grand Place, officially named the Place du General-de-Gaulle, is the main city square. The former French president was born in the city and the square is to commemorate him. It is surrounded by a variety of historic and interesting buildings and there is also an old and towering statue of a mythological goddess in a fountain. The former homes are highly detailed, with cherubs, flowers, and other Renaissance features. One of the most famous buildings is the old stock exchange, the Vieille Bourse. Enter the inner courtyards and you will see a variety of vendors. A busy and atmospheric part of the city, you can almost feel yourself being transported back to the Middle Age market that used to be held in the square. It is a pleasant place to stop for a while in one of the delightful cafes.
Wander Through Vieux Lille
The old part of the city, a stroll through the narrow cobbled streets of Vieux Lille is like taking a journey back in time. Peaceful and quiet, the streets are today home to a number of boutiques and fine restaurants. The cathedral is well-worth a stop, even though it is much newer than its surrounding area.
Call into the Train Station
If you do not arrive in the city on the long distance train, make sure that you still pay a visit to the station. Inside you can see an enormous mural with many fascinating designs.
Visit the Museums
Lille is home to an assortment of good museums and art galleries, with something suitable for varying interests and different age groups. The natural history museum is a particular favourite with families and at the Musee d’Art et d’ Industrie de Roubaix: La Piscine you can admire a selection of art in the confines of a former swimming pool! Other great places for art lovers include the modern art museum and the Musee des Beaux-Arts.
Take a Trip to the Citadel
La Citadelle was once an important part of the city’s defence plans. Today, visitors can wander around the walls and enjoy the lovely park. There are also some pretty nice views to be admired. The complex is also home to a small zoo, ideal for families with kids and people that just can’t get enough of the animal kingdom.
Lille really is a special part of Europe. Do you have a favourite place in Lille?