10 Places to see in Lille
Hello there, bonjour et comment ça va ?!
Welcome back for a new stop on the roads of France! Today, I take you to Lille, the capital of the North. Inheriting Spanish as well as Flemish influence, the city has suffered a great deal during the World Wars. Come and venture through time to discover Lille's History and heritage.
1 ) La Vieille Bourse:
The building, actually composed of 24 identical houses and shops was first erected during the 12th century when the city was then Spanish. It was later modified to reflect the typical Flemish construction and has been restored in the early 1920's. Incontestably one of the city's most finest monument.
2) Le beffroi:
The belfry of Lille offers a view like no other. Climb the first 100 steps then take a lift all the way to the top of the tower (or keep climbing!) to enjoy a wonderful panorama of Lille, the valley of Lys and all the way to the Mountains of Flanders on a clear day. You will also find many informations about the city's construction and development throughout time.
3) Palais des Beaux-Arts:
The Museum opened in 1808 and was one of France earliest museum built. Its construction started under the instructions of Napoleon the 1st ; the artwork was installed in a ancient church and was later moved to the city's town hall.
4) Marché Wazemmes:
Lille's Wazemmes Market is one of the biggest in France. It takes place every on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays (inside and outside) and every day except Mondays (inside only). The market is enjoyed by many food lovers. You will find many Flemish culinary specialties, as well as fresh seafood, cheese, wines and more. A must see!
5) Eglise Saint-Maurice:
The Saint-Maurice church was built over the course of 4 centuries. Started during the 14th century, the Gothic church is a resplendent monument located in the city center.
6) Vieux Lille:
Lille's Old town is famous for its ancient charm, paved streets and its flamboyant architecture. Now a dynamic district since its restoration during the 1980's, le Vieux Lille is filled with restaurants, bars and even luxury shops. A great place for a stroll, a café and some croissants !
7) La citadelle:
The star-shaped citadel is one of Lille's most treasured jewel. Edified after Louis 14th took the city circa 1660, it took only three years to build, despite the humongous work involved. Now open to visitors, the citadel's Royal Gate still features a latin inscription to the Glory of the Sun King.
8) Le Jardin des Géants:
Built upon the remnants of an old parking, the landscape architects from Atelier Mutabilis rehabilitated the place into a wonderful garden, in the heart of the city. The blend of futurist constructions (the Euralille towers nearby), metallic sculptures and the opulent vegetation makes it serene and poetic garden, right in the spirit of the 21st century.
9) Cathédrale Notre-Dame de la Treille:
The Gothic cathedral's construction started in 1859 and was only finished by 1999, which makes it very recent building in terms of French religious edifice. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary, the Sainte-Patronne of Lille, it is before the statue of Notre Dame de la Treille, that Louis XIV swore to respect the liberties of the habitants when he took the Flanders in 1667. The inside of the cathedral is particularly stunning, built in a very rare contemporary style.
10) History Tours
Lille is a city of many stories, as well as a great protagonist in History. Whether you are interested in the Spanish Conquests, Flemish and Dutch, or both World Wars, there is much to be seen and told. You can always book a History Tour, offered in several tourism agency depending on your interests and time.
Here we are! 10 must see places in Lille! I hope you enjoyed this concise tour of the city. There is much more to see and do, this was only a selection. I encourage you to tailor your trip to your preferences, history, architecture, religion, culinary... and find even more great things in the North Capital.
I see you very soon for more on Selfrench Tour de France! And to travel at ease, don't forget to learn bits and pieces of French!