When people think of France, they think of Paris and no doubt Pairs is beautiful, but there is more to travel in France than just Paris. For instance, the city of Lille is a welcoming, cozy and is one of the finest cities. It is perfect for a weekend getaway or a winter holiday destination. The city in the northernmost part of France, closer to Belgium is posh, superficial and hostile. It is highly underrated and a cultural blend of fun and food. There’s a lot one can do to keep themselves entertained here.
Lille is just an hour and twenty minutes away from London and it is quicker and cheaper to reach this city. It is known for the luxurious couture brands so mostly people come here for shopping. There are lots of pretty hotels and fancy restaurants. When you think of great food, excellent shopping, architecture, a museum and gallery, you think Lille.
Sightseeing at the Grand Place
This is one of the most famous tourist attractions of Lille. The public place is bustling with commoners and tourist from all around the world. The place usually holds events, Christmas markets and various French ceremonies. The top attraction here is the monument “Dèssè”, the goddess linked with the city of Lille.
They dedicated the open area to commerce in the mid-century and Vieille Bourse is the deluxe symbol. The stock exchange represents the intricate architecture and is one of the oldest stock exchange buildings in France. Opposite that, there is a beautiful garden in the open square made for public. The plaza is surrounded with Belgian styles building. People often converge here and meet up to begin the tour around the city.
Royalty visit at Villa Cavrois
In the Lille suburb of Croix, the mansion is one of the finest works of the famous architect, Robert Mallet-Stevens. Tourists come here all the time just to see the work of the fine artist live. It was built for the industrialist, Paul Cavrois and was completed in 1932.
Visitors can sight the fine artisanship, modern details and luxurious palates that make this mansion a true masterpiece. One can also notice the reconditioned rooms keeping the original dimensions, lighting, artwork and all the furniture that got refurbished. It is the most fascinating site to visit. It was bought by the city and was labeled as “The historic monument”. It took thirteen years for the place to be completely reconstructed.
Trip to Lille Zoo
Inside the 3.5 hectare large, Citadelle Park, this zoo is quaint yet extremely well maintained and hygienic. The entrance fee is quite cheap and visitors can sight lots of exotic animals inside the zoo. It has 450 different animals from over 70 species. The zoo is a part of the International Conservation Program for endangered species.
The compounds surrounding the animals are huge and natural looking. The park is divided into seven basic areas based on the geographic location. There are Zebras and Rhinos in Les Terres d’Afrique, the American zone contains Alpacas and Tapirs. There are Red Pandas, lots of exotic birds, reptiles, monkeys and other ingenious animals. It is the perfect place to visit if you are traveling with kids.
Art attack at the La Piscine Musee
In Roubaix, a suburb of Lille, La Piscine Musee is an arts and history museum. This art adornment was built between 1927 and 1932. It used to be a swimming pool and is now a literal swimming pool of art and a must visit spot for art fanatics. The museum exhibits ornaments such as paintings, white-washed and colored sculptures and drawings.
There is also a wide range of registered arts that includes texture, fabric, furniture and fashion. The paintings are dated from the nineteenth to twentieth century. There is a room that has a botanical garden that is filled with plants that are used to make fabric. The museum holds around 15 galleries each year. The museum is a fabulous reconstruction of the swimming pool and a beautiful place to visit.
Prayers at the Lille Cathedral
We know France for its intricate, architectural cathedrals. One such decorative church is in Place Gilleson, Lille. The construction of this aesthetic, principle church began in around 1857 but its front architecture made of white marble was completed years later in 1999. The cathedral has eight chapels in Victorian–Gothic style that feature scenes from the entire life of Jesus, The Virgin Mary and the saints.
The cathedral is marked as a national monument because of its divine history and over the top design. You can easily reach this church by train; you can come here to pray or to just witness the interiors of this church. There is a tall church organ and huge 20th century stained glasses including an asymmetrical rose window.
A walk at the Vauban Gardens
The gardens in Boulevard Vauban are a mid-nineteenth century masterpiece. The garden has a cave, a waterfall and pleasant beach and oak paths. It was constructed in 1863 and houses over twenty thousand species of flora and fauna. There are gentle, green lawns around pools. The gardens have ancients, huge trunk tree and flowered beds.
The place is filed with nature and is perfect if you are planning to go for a long summer walk or if you want to stroll around the garden or want to be connected closely with nature. The ghetto is picturesque and the waterfalls are mesmerizing. It would stun one to see such natural views in the city. In addition, the Park is also decorated with statues of prominent French figures.
Art gazing at the Fine Arts Museum of Lille
The French are best known for their fine arts and architecture. If you are one that is amused by the French culture, you must take a trip down the Fine Arts Museum of Lille in the 19th century building of Place de la Republique. This museum is the second biggest fine arts museum in France by number of art exhibits on display in the museum. The magnificent collection of the museum includes middle ages, medieval age and modern ages art.
There is also a collection of art from the renaissance period. Besides those art forms, there are Russian paintings, European Paintings of Rubens and Goya among the other paintings on display, French paintings and sculptures from the nineteenth century. The museum holds events, activities and exhibitions throughout the year.
A walk in the woods of Citadelle
This pentagon shaped site was constructed by the very famous nineteenth century French architect, Vauban. It was built after the French annexed Lille in the year of 1667. Visitors are restricted into the Citadelle, however one can walk through the outside area of the fortress and have a glance at its beauty and history.
The fortress comprises of around 60 million bricks and the earthwork details of the fortress are known to be some of the best and beautiful in France. It got labeled as a historical monument in 1934 and is still occupied by inhabitants. The site can viewed from the inside only through the tours that are organized by the tourism Office of the city.
Visit the Place Rihour
The Christmas markets of Place Rihour is the perfect site for shopping, site seeing and delicious food. The Place Rihour is crowded all year round and conducts festive events all time of the year. As the winter season sets in, the place is decorated with Christmas Lights and ornaments.
The streets of the place Rihours are filled with stores that sell Christmas gifts and delicious baked foods. You can also shop from arts and crafts handmade, packed and sent from Spain, Russia, Canada and Poland. One of the specialities of the place is the red wine and the crispy gingerbread cookies! There is also monument that depicts the war history of the city of Lille.
Climb the Belfry
The Belfry of the Lille town hall was constructed in 1932 and is one of the highest bell towers in France. It is around a 100 metres tall and is identified as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. The building was built in the old district of Saint-Sauveur. The bell tower is inspired by the neo-Flemish architecture and is made up entirely of Red Bricks and a concrete carved stone way.
The site is served by Mario de Lille Metro and public can climb the staircase that leads to the top. The Belfry hosts a number of modern, present-day works that represent the decorations of the various municipal halls. We can see the bell tower all the way from the North Sea.
Part all night at the Braderie de Lille
The Lille Braderie in is an annual street flea market that opens on the first weekend of the month of September. It was started back in the twelfth century and is now a long grown tradition of the city. Every year, more than three million visitors come here to shop at the flea market, eat food and have the time of their lives.
The event includes a carnival, music and other live concerts, restaurants that are open all night. Adults and teenager from around the county come here to party all night. One must definitively plan their trip to the city around this time as it is exciting to be surrounded my millions of people that come together to party and to visit the attractions nearby.
Travel back in time at the Old Lille
You might have guessed by the name that this place must be located in the heart of the older parts of the city of Lille. Time has stopped here and one can visually see how the city looked like back in the ancient times. It is called “Vieux Lille” in French meaning old Lille. You can identify the original Flemish roots of the city including the famous red bricked buildings while you walk down the tapered, improvised streets.
The city has more of a Belgium touch than French due its closeness to Belgium. There are lots of things to explore in here. You can hire a professional guide that will walk you through the entire site and give you detailed information of the importance of each monument you stumble across.
Stunning trip to the Place Du Theatre
Place Du Theatre, better known as Andre Malraux in the recent times is Lilles finest site and a must see. It is the path of the first district of Paris in France. The Vielle Bourse joins the Place Du Theatre and is located to the north of Grand Palace and the other two squares. The important sites here are the opera house and the Chamber de Commere at d’Industrie.
The opera house is special and is a prominent part of the square. The bell tower of the Chamber de Commere at d’Industrie can be viewed from various parts of the city. The inside of the theater is luxurious, splendid and is embellished with dazzled jewels.
A wild night at Latina Café
When you travel to some destination, you obviously want to take a day off and party hard all night. One best way to do so is to visit the Latina Café in 42/44 Rue Massena in the city. The Café is for people with a wild heart and are ready for crazy adventures. It is the most hyped Cafes in the city and a must try. This is the place where tourist and locals come to drink party and eat.
If you come to Lille and you don’t visit this café, have you even gone to Lille? There are plenty of fancy restaurants and hotels nearby the café in case you are tired and want to call it a day.
A Shopping splurge in the streets of Lille
A perfect way to end this memorable trip would be to go on a shopping spree, shopping for memoirs to remember the wonderful journey for ages. The streets of Lille are known for their branded stores and boutiques. You could drive to Rue de la Grande Chaussee for shopping from top end brands. Besides, there are so many streets that offer brands in a budget as well.