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Your itinerary for a perfect trip to Lille
Posted on 29/02/2020

CultureFrance

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Find out why Lille has always been France's most underrated city, and why now is the best time to visit!

Lille is the perfect place for a getaway, whether you're looking for a city break or a longer holiday. Accessible from London via the Eurostar, you can be surrounded by Lille's colourful Flemish architecture, ornate museums and cobbled streets in just 90 minutes! And there are so many different amenities to help make your trip a success, from guided walking tours to the Lille City Pass. And did you know that Lille is the 2020 Capital of Design? Here are the top things to see and do in France's Flemish gem.

Start with a walking tour

Start with a walking tour
© Vincent LECIGNE

Lille's old centre, Vieux Lille, is known for its colourful Flemish architecture, red brick homes and churches. Get lost in the labyrinth of narrow cobbled streets packed with cafes, unique shops and restaurants. A walking tour of the old centre is given by the tourist office, taking you past Vieux Lille's main sights and attractions such as the Opera House, the old stock exchange, and Notre-Dame de la Treille cathedral.

Check out the design exhibits

Check out the design exhibits
© Michel-Giesbrecht

In 2020, the metropolitan area of Lille will be the first French city to be named a World Capital of Design, joining the ranks of places like Taipei, Cape Town and Mexico City. Numerous events will be held throughout the year showcasing Lille's design prowess in areas such as urban living, interior design, and digital communication. The distinction is given to cities that are pioneers in the field, employing new and innovative designs for cultural, social and economic development. It's the perfect time to visit this dynamic city and its surroundings.

Don't forget your City Pass

Don't forget your City Pass
© Francisco Javier Gil Oreja/123RF

The Lille City Pass is the best way to get around, offering free access to many sights and attractions across the city and free access to Lille's public transit network. 24 and 48 hour passes include 29 free sights and attractions including the Lille City Tour, and free access to the metro, bus and tram. The 72 hour pass offers all the same benefits of the shorter passes, including another 14 sights in the surrounding region, and access to the regional train network (TER). Full price, a 24 hour pass is 25 EUR, a 48 hour pass is 35 EUR and a 72 hour pass is 45 EUR, but you get 10% off when you book online!

Take a look at the street art

Take a look at the street art

Lille had a long history as an industrial centre, and its many old warehouses and buildings have provided the perfect canvas for a vibrant street art scene. Saint Sauveur station is an old freight station that dates back to the 19th century. In 2003 it closed down and was no longer needed, but instead of being torn down, it was turned into a cultural exhibition space. The area around the station is surrounded by colourful murals and frescoes. Lille is constantly turning its disused spaces into public works of art.

It's not just Lille proper that has a lot of delightful street art, but the nearby town of Roubaix has two unmissable districts as well with works by local and international artists.

The greater Lille area

The greater Lille area
© Radu Razvan Gheorghe/123RF

Heading all the way to Lille and seeing only the city centre would be getting only half the story. The city's metropolitan area is filled with fascinating sights.

As mentioned, nearby Roubaix has a robust tradition of street art but they also have other cultural sights to explore. La Piscine, also known as the André Diligent Museum of Art and Industry, is a massive museum of art and industry. Located in a former indoor swimming pool, it's worth visiting just to get a look at the building's ornate art deco interior. It contains artifacts from Roubaix's history as a hub for the textile industry along with paintings and sculptures.

A number of World War I memorial sites and battlefields can be found just outside the city as well.

World renowned beer

World renowned beer

France may be known for its wine, but Lille is famed for its beer. It's home to a variety of microbreweries that you can sample in nearly every pub. Lille isn't shy about its love of beer, either. English speakers can even take part in a beer-themed scavenger hunt to solve a mystery and taste some delicious brews along the way in some of Lille's most famous beer bars. Lille even hosts a beer festival every year, Biere a Lille or BAL.