Lille - a city with a sparkling future
Lille successfully combines French style, a rich architectural heritage and a lively arts scene with innovation and a touch of Northern European grittiness – all of which make it a top city for (re)visiting.
Arrive at the Lille Europe station at the heart of a rejuvenated area conceived by Rem Koolhaas which includes the Jean Nouvel designed shopping plaza, Euralille. Here you’ll find a branch of Paul, the family bakery with its roots in the Lille area, along with restaurants and clothing stores. Stroll into old Lille to find Galeries Lafayette and the Furet du Nord (one of Europe’s largest book shops), tantalizing chocolate shops and one-off boutiques. The bustling flea market at Wazemmes is a must see on a Sunday, along with the covered market hall where the locals buy fresh produce and flowers.
At every turn, Lille offers architectural gems: neo-classical façades along its boulevards, the sumptious fine arts museum Palais des Beaux-Arts, the Vieille Marché (old commercial exchange), the Grand Place, the Town Hall and the 341 feet (104 metre) high UNESCO listed Belfry.
Within a short distance of the pavement cafés on the Grand Place gourmands can browse artisan bakeries and cheese shops. And everyone adores tea or homemade ice-cream in the historical splendour of Meert's tea-room. Also try local specialities such as sugar tart, beef and beer stew (carbonnade) or venture just a little further afield to try top class cuisine at the restaurant, La Laiterie.