Tucked in the north of France, only 40 kilometers from Belgium, is one of France’s best-kept secrets – the city of Lille! With only 232, 400 inhabitants, it’s a fantastic place to get away, and still be in an urban setting. Lille is home to many students, which gives the small city a cozy and inviting feeling, and there’s always something going on. Curious to know more? Read on for our Lille City Guide!
Since Lille is a rather small city, it’s entirely possible to see the city on foot. However, the city does have a vast transit network, with underground lines, trams, and busses to help you get around.
Like other European cities, Lille also offers a few bicycle rental options if you want to see the city more like a local. Whatever you decide, we’re sure you’ll find your way around this charming city no problem!
Palais de Beaux Arts
It may come as a surprise, but this museum is home to France’s second-largest fine arts collection after the Musée du Louvre in Paris.
Old Town, Lille
The cobblestone streets paired with colorful 17th-century facades should be enough to convince you as to why Lille should be included on your next European adventure! You’ll find tons of wonderful restaurants, patisseries, galleries, and shops to lose yourself in!
Hôtel de Ville
In the city center, you can find this UNESCO belfry to give you a beautiful panoramic view of the city.
Maison Natalie de Charles de Gaulle
The revered French general and president was born in Lille, and you can now tour his former home as a museum.
L’Opéra de Lille
For the history lovers
Lille is located in Hauts-de-France, which was a pretty relevant location for allied troops in World War I. You can tour many battlegrounds, cemeteries, and memorials around Lille on a day trip, mostly all reachable using public transport. We highly recommend checking out Vimy Ridge, only 40 mins outside the city. This is a revered Canadian War Memorial and includes a museum, battlegrounds, an enormous monument (pictured above), as well as war trenches and tunnels you can tour through. And it’s all free!
In places where public transit isn’t available, you can easily (and rather cheaply) take a taxi from the train station in Lens or Arras to reach your destination. Alternatively, you can rent a car from either Gare du Lille and Lille Europe to see more!
Food & Drink
Northern France has a much different traditional menu than what you might find in other French cities, but Lille truly offers something for everyone! With such a large student population, you can find almost anything to suit your diet, no matter how small or big your budget.
Local delicacies include: Carbonnade Flamande, Le Welsh, and the sweet treat of Merveilleux.
Lille also has many indoor and outdoor markets where you can purchase fresh produce, cheeses made from local farmers, fresh breads, and much more! If you’re more into cooking your own meals while traveling, this is a fantastic option.
It can be nice to take a few days to unwind and appreciate your travels, and we think Lille is a great place to do just that. With a slower lifestyle than other French cities, Lille is definitely a stop worth making on your Euro trip!