Lille is a small city in the north of France (close to the Belgium border). It was perfect for a little get away after this long lockdown. We booked a cute bohémian air bnb just outside the center (good to know, there was free parking in this neighborhood). If you do want to park outside the center, you can take the metro to the center. It’s also easy to reach Lille by train or bus. A weekend pass for the metro is only € 9/pp and these metros are super-fast and easy to find your way. The center of Lille isn’t that big so you can reach everything by foot and see the whole city in a day.
We started our day at place Rihour (here is also the metro station) where you can find Palais Rihour. A palace from 1453 build by Philips De Goede.
Right next to this place is Place Charles de Gaulle. As you already guessed the placed is named after the general and 1e president Charles de Gaulle who was born in Lille. It’s surrounded with bars and restaurants. On this place is also the entrance to le Vielle Bourse, this is the old stock exchange from and was once the Lille Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Right now, you can find an old book market here, but not only old books also old comic books and prints. So if you like to read or you feel nostalgic, make sure to visit this market.
If you walk through le ville bourse you’ll end up at Place Du Théâtre. Here you find a neo-classic opera house which is absolutely stunning. In the same street is the old Belfry. You can climb on top of this belfry to have a panoramic view of the city. I’m true sucker for a beautiful view over the city but due to circumstances I was unable. The Belfry is 101-meter-high and it’s the symbol of Lille. As you can see in the pictures it’s worth a visit.
Only a 5 minute walk will bring you to the Notre Dame de la Treille. This cathedral is a mix of gothic and modern art. Make sure to take a look inside too, the entrance is free and it has some gorgeous glasswork.
While walking around in Lille, you’ll notice the city is full with colorful houses from 17th century. So it isn’t so bad to walk instead of taking public transport.
A little outside the center you can find Le Palais des Beaux artes. This is the second biggest museum in France (the Louvre in France being number one of course). It has 22,00m2 full off paintings from 17e – 19e century. But if you don’t have the time or don’t like arts, the building itself is also quite impressive.
A few streets further you’ll find Porte de Paris. This is an arc de triomphe which was built in the 17e century to remember the capture by the city by Louis XIV. The gate is quite stunning and if you look closely you can see Hercules (symbol of power) and Mars (god of war) on the arc. At the top of the arc, two angels are trumpets with mouths of trumpet, proclaiming the victory of the Sun King all over the world.
Because this arc the triomphe was so stunning, I tried my very first reflection picture out here. And really think it worked out great!
Lille has more to offer then these great historical spots, you can also find cute shopping streets here and a shopping mall (near the train station). And if do have some spare time, there is EuroLille. A big outlet mall outside of the center.
If you do want to spend a weekend at Lille you can visit Roubaix. There is this old pool which they turned into a museum.
Where to eat?
Since Lille is on the border with France and Belgium you can find both cuisines in the city. There are so many cute little restaurants here but I tested some that offered a vegan option (of course).
We first had lunch at Bernard & Leon, this place seemed to be really popular. We arrived here at 12 o’clock and only a few minutes later the place was totally full. Their menu consists off bowls, and they look super good. Head up, they also have a menu deal, a bowl + drink + dessert for € 14,20.
The second day we had lunch at We Are Ara. The placelooks gorgeous inside, pink walls with a lot of plants. To be totally fair the presentation of the food and hospitality where not that great. I had La Clairie Lille on my list too, but you can only have lunch once a day right? This place looked totally worth it and so colorful. So it remains on my list (if I ever make it to Lille again…).
For dinner we choose to go to le Bleu Canard. You can also have lunch here (they offer a vegan lunch deal!) but we choose to have dinner here. And I can surely recommend this place, the staff was super friendly and the food was delicious.
We went for a little drink and choose to check out Mama Shelter, which is hyper modern hotel near the station and shopping mall. It had a restaurant and bar as well, where you can have a relaxing drink.
Have a great time in Lille!
Hope you liked this blog.