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Lille Travel Information

A lively blend of ancient and modern, Lille is one of France's best kept secrets, with delightful Old Town of cobbled streets, flamboyant facades and exuberant Flemish architecture.

Lille, France

Lille is an ideal short break choice and now is the time to discover it!

Despite Lille's industrial background, the city itself confounds expectations: enclosed by a ring road and measuring around 4.4km (2.75 miles) from east to west and north to south at its widest points, it is a picturesque mixture of tree-lined avenues, spacious squares and wide, cobbled, pedestrianised streets, and boasts a rich architectural and cultural past.

In the meandering streets of the old town – considerably and constantly restored – chic shops, antique dealers and trendy restaurants occupy the ground floors of charming Flemish mansions of soft red brick and sculpted sandstone. "The Goddess" stands in the centre of the Grand Palace and commemorates the city's resistance to the Austrian siege in 1792. The 17th-century Vieille Bourse (Old Stock Exchange) is also worth a visit for those interested in architecture.

At the north tip of France, near the Belgian border. 93km (58 miles) south east of Calais. 225km (140 miles) north of Paris. 8km (5 miles) north of the local airport (domestic flights only). Nearest international airport is Brussels, 132km (82 miles).

A flat landscape of fields lined by poplars, willows and canals.

Range of hotels offering more traditional, renovated, provincial comfort than state-of-the-art sleek. Some B&Bs, apartments and several campsites.

The reliable transport system makes it possible to stay somewhere quieter and possibly cheaper out of the city and travel into the centre when the mood takes you.

Daytime: Fine old buildings, such as the Old Stock Exchange and 15th-century Rihour Palace; churches; various museums including a natural history museum and an interesting beaux-arts museum housing one of France's biggest national art collections; attractive public gardens with a zoo; indoor swimming pool; bowling.

Nightlife: Orchestral concerts, ballet, opera, modern dance and theatre; cabarets; beer tasting; cafes on the main squares; cinemas (with some films shown in the original language). The large student population means there is a lively club scene, and some bars do not shut until 2am; free entry into the discos in the city but drinks can be expensive once inside.

Plenty of eating establishments, from smart French and Flemish restaurants and brasseries to cafes and creperies. Many have pavement seating year-round, which will cost you more but it's usually worth it for atmosphere and people-watching.

Mussels and "French fries" appear on most menus and are best washed down with one of the many Belgian beers. Set menus are particularly good value. Local dishes include "Waterzooi" (poached chicken or fish in a cream sauce), "Carbonade" (beef slowly stewed with onions in beer) and numerous cheeses, some of them spiced.

Almost everything you would find in Paris exists in miniature, with a range of art galleries, antique shops and boutiques. The Euralille shopping centre has boutiques, deparment stores and international brands. Old Lille features luxury goods and antiques.

The large, central Wazemmes market is open Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday which has a lively, bohemian atmosphere.

Half day: modern art museum in the suburb of Villeneuve-d'Ascq; visits to breweries. Full day: trips to Dunkirk, Paris, Belgium and Holland.

Efficient and reasonably priced, with a good bus and tram system and an impressive underground, the first fully automated system in the world. Services run from 5.30am to midnight every day (except 1st May). A City Pass allows unlimited free travel and entry to tourist attractions and museums.

All ages and budgets. Many visitors are from south east England, staying for a weekend or a few days. A good alternative to Paris (1 hour away by train) for those who want a more low-key atmosphere.

Lille Travel and Eurostar Information

Getting There
By Eurostar Services arrive/depart Lille Europe station in the Eurolille complex.

Getting Around
The old town is partly pedestrianised so is easily accessible and can be best appreciated on foot.
There is also a Metro system.

Must See
View the birthplace of D'Artagnan, of the Three Musketeers fame, who was once governor.
The Fine Arts Museum houses one of the finest collections in Europe.

D'Artagnan of the Three Musketeers - Once governor of Lille

Must Do
The belfry of the Nouvelle Bourse offers spectacular views - if you can climb the 104 steps!

Outside the Citadel's walls you'll find the Bois de Boulogne park and its memorial to one of Lille's most famous sons, General de Gaulle.

The shops are a bargain hunter's paradise. Lille offers excellent shopping with many fine boutiques as well as larger department stores.

To Relax
There are several theatres and an Opera House as well as the new Euralille Complex.

As Lille is a university city, there's a thriving nightlife with numerous restaurants and bars>

Relax in one of the numerous cafes and sip some of the Flemish beers for which the area is famous.

Daily average temperatures in Lille (Approx) 'C

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Lille by Hessle Travel

Lille Highlights

> Just 2 hours by Eurostar from Waterloo

Take a short ride on Eurostar to Lille

> Visit the Christmas markets in Lille for a great shopping experience

> The metro system is one of the most advanced in Europe

> Visit the museum of Modern Art and Museum of Fine Arts

> Be tempted by the mouth watering pastries

> Don't forget Euralille for fantastic shopping

> The town is full of beautiful old Flemish houses, narrow cobbled streets and some charming examples of Art Deco

> Just a short stroll from the centre of town is the star shaped Citadel designed by Vauban

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