Lille travel guide

Lille in France

In the heart of Flanders, near to France's border with Belgium and 220 kilometres north of Paris, Lille, a wonderful city, is built along the River Deûle. Since the foundation of its university (Université de Lille) in 1887, Lille has become an academic and cultural centre for France.

Lille is also a very important industrial city. The waterway through the coastland conveniently facilitates the transportation of the entire region. The textile industries including rayon, nylon and synthetic fibre are widespread.

Additionally, the leather and food industries are well developed and the region's beer breweries such as Jenlain, Pelforth, la Goudale and la Ch'ti are also famous.

Places to visit

  • the Lille Cathedral, is built upon the reinterpretation of Medieval Gothic architecture in the nineteenth century. It is a majestic but also modern building that is worth visiting

  • the Lille Fine Art Museum, second only to the Louvre, has the largest number of art pieces. The museum houses numberless paintings and sculptures dating between the sixteenth and the twentieth century, including archaeological remains, medieval historical artefacts

  • the Natural History Museum of Lille, a large exhibition of endangered species of mammals, birds, insects, plants and some geological photographs

  • the Wazemmes Flea Market on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings. The market is full of antique goods, second hand clothes, groceries as well as vegetables and fruits and it is located in the central residential area of Wazemmes, to which it owes its name

  • the Chamber of Commerce, the neo-Flemish building with its 76 meters high belfry is one of the major landmarks. It has been built in the early twentieth century.

Events to attend

  • La Grande Braderie de Lille, in the world's the largest flea market, during the first weekend of September, residents and visitors from neighbouring cities crowd the streets until midnight. One of the traditions of La Braderie is eating the famous moules et frites, which is mussels accompanied by French fries. During this weekend, all restaurants and bars put tons of empty mussel shells out in the street and pile them up as high as possible. This is a big competition to prove which restaurant has managed to serve the most guests.

  • the half-Marathon of Lille (French: Semi-marathon Internationale de Lille Métropole) taking place on a Saturday in early September at nine o' clock in the morning, and the 10 kilometres run at eleven o'clock the same day. Both set off from the Place de la Republique.

  • the Giants (French: Les géants), in northern France and Belgium is an impressive parade of people bearing giant body masks. The best time to see them is during Easter and at festivals taking place from May to September.

Food to taste

  • The Liqueur de Genièvre (Juniper liquor) is a liquor made of eau-de-vie flavored with juniper berries.
  • The Carambar, a well-known french candy made of soft caramel, has been created in 1954 in the north region.
  • The Maroilles is a strong cheese made of cow milk and mostly served in restaurants with a pie called the tarte au maroilles.
  • The Waterzoï is a classic Belgian stew. Originally made of fish but nowadays a new variation including chicken is common.
  • The Lapin aux Pruneaux et à la bière is a rabbit stew with prune and beer.

Map of Lille with accommodations

The blue markers shows the location of various accommodations in Lille. The letter in the marker describes the accommodation types: H for Hotel, A for Apartment, R for Resort, B for Bed & Breakfast and O for Other (e.g. pension, villa). Click on the blue marker for more information on the accommodation.