Lille, capital of Les Hauts-de-France.
Lille is only a train ride away from Paris, making it the perfect destination for a long weekend! This city offers a diverse and rich cultural heritage: museums, classic restaurants, bars, boutiques, the Old Lille…and much more. If you want to know the quintessentials and the best addresses, keep reading! We’ve already published 5 Of The Best Must-See Sights In Lille, but this cheat sheet also includes memorable restaurants and hotels.
HOW TO GET THERE
If you are coming from the capital, the best choice would be to take the train. Lille is a very dense town, therefore you will not need a car for the trip. Since Lille-Paris is a one-hour train ride. There are two train stations when you arrive: Gare Lille-Flandres, and Gare Lille-Europe; both are ideally located in the middle of the city.
When you arrive in the north, the city proposes City Passes for either 24, 48, or 72 hours. With this pass you can visit almost 30 sites, and have an unlimited access to the subway, and the bus. A perfect solution if you are here for one weekend!
Braderie, flea market in French.
2 bis Rue Frédéric Mottez, 59800 Lille, France
This French-renowned braderie is a must-do! This colorful flea market is the largest in France and attracts numerous people every year. It takes place during the first weekend of September, in the paved streets of Old Lille. The speciality of this weekend? Almost every restaurant in town serves mussels and fries. Imagine, sitting in the sun, laughing with your friends while enjoying a delicious seafood platter. Can you see it?
In one weekend, you can shop (for low prices,) party until your feet hurt, and have a great time.
The Vieille Bourse, old stock exchange in French.
Place Charles de Gaulle, 59000 Lille, France
You cannot miss this historic monument. Located in the middle of Place Charles de Gaulle, the old stock exchange is home to all kinds of merchants. You can buy posters, rare books, old newspapers…etc. If you are lucky, you will even be a bystander to a chess game or a tango class. This open-air building dates back to 1910 and is one of the most prestigious monuments in Lille. When you first step into it, you will be amazed at the golden details on the columns and the sculpted stone on the interior facades.
The Citadel Park.
Voie Piétonne du Bois de la Deûle, 59130 Lille, France
Imagine Central Park but in Lille (not as glamourous.) This enormous park is situated right in the middle of the city surrounded by the Deule river. You can jog, pay a visit to the zoo, walk your dog, have a nice stroll, and even picnic. In the center of the park, lies a fort. Originally, the citadel was a military base built in 1667. Nowadays, you still cannot access the fort, however, you can see it. It is a very impressive monument due to its architecture, and natural preservation.
Charles de Gaulle’s childhood home.
9 Rue Princesse, 59000 Lille, France
Charles de Gaulle – French hero, president, and symbol of the 5th Republic – grew up in Lille. You can find his home: 9 rue Princesse. This house was first opened to the public in 1983 and is a property of the Charles De Gaulle Foundation. According to the official website, more than 20,000 people came to visit the museum in 2019.
Home to family reunions, birthdays, and events; you can dive into this war hero’s childhood. This museum also hosts projections, demonstrations of famous fights, and even tours in historical costumes.
Le Musée la Piscine, the swimming pool museum in French.
23 Rue de l'Espérance, 59100 Roubaix, France
Le Musée la Piscine – located in Roubaix, a little town on the outskirts of Lille – is one of a kind. This old pool (hence its name) was the work of the architect Albert Baert and is now transformed into an art museum. Today, the museum of Art and Industry is filled with every form of creativity, including: sculptures, paintings, drawings, and photographs. You will also discover that the museum hosts: conferences, classes from L’Ecole du Louvre (a prestigious art school in Paris,) a restaurant, as well as a tea salon.
Eve studied in Lille for three years.