Tourism North Pas-de-Calais / Hauts de France

Discover Lille : beautifull door of France in the North

Let's go to the North, in the region of Hauts-de-France, to discover Lille, the most beautiful gate of France. The 4th largest city in France has at its heart a city that has been conquered and reconquered so often that it is proof that it is worth a detour.


Discover Lille


The city of the Counts of Flanders

The Counts of Flanders liked it so much that they made it one of their favorite cities along with Ghent, Bruges and Saint-Omer. And inevitably it caught the eye of the neighbors who did everything to possess it. So, let's go through a turbulent history which saw Lille the beautiful being taken, taken back for more than 1000 years. French, Burgundians, English, Spanish, Germans too, they have tried everything to possess it and to keep it. Lille, capital of Flanders is now French and it is the 4th largest city in our country. And there is happiness, you know, to walk in the old Lille, to discover the high houses which have nothing to envy to the legendary Grand-place of Brussels.


The Grand-place: as beautiful as in Brussels

There is also a Grand-place in Lille. Let's have a closer look and we'll find the proof that what I said earlier is true: Lille has received so many cannonballs that we still see them hanging in some facades. When you go to Lille, start with the Rihour Palace. This is where the tourist office is located and it's a good place to start as the building is magnificent. Then walk in the old Lille, from high houses to small streets, from small bars to good restaurants. You will inevitably let yourself go in front of two or three specialities of the North. Fricadelles, flamiche, potjevleesch, maroilles... ah no no don't tell me you won't give in to temptation. Everyone gives in to it!

la Grand Place par sebastien hovaguimian/ la Grand Place par sebastien hovaguimian/ 


You have to get lost in Old Lille to discover the soul of the city.

To digest, you will stop by the Museum of Fine Arts, one of the richest in France. You will continue towards the main square of Lille, you will also discover the old stock exchange, a kind of interior square, a cloister in fact, surrounded by 24 identical houses with facades so ochre that they sometimes seem golden. Lille is inevitably a passage in front of the town hall and especially this 104 meters high belfry which will remind you if you had forgotten it, that you are in the north. The Citadel of Vauban and Eura Lille the district of the future, the Villa Cavrois and the M and its 4500 masterpieces on the Villeneuve d'Asq side. 

In Lille, the past is always close to the future.

Lille par Dziorek Rafal/ Lille par Dziorek Rafal/ 


Our top 5 of what to see in Lille

1 The Grand-Place:

La grand place par MisterStock/ La grand place par MisterStock/ 

This is the heart of the city. It is magnificent with its facades all different but which offer, in the end, a certain unity. The inhabitants of Lille inevitably pass by the statue when they go shopping in the city or when leaving the Furet du Nord, a huge 8-story library, opened in 1959 and which was the largest bookstore in the world at the end of the 1990s. 


2 la vieille-bourse :

La vieille bourse de Lille par BreizhAtao/ La vieille bourse de Lille par BreizhAtao/ 

Between the Grand-place and the Opera, you should not miss this magnificent typically Flemish building, which reminds us of the commercial importance of Lille. You can find a lot of little pleasures if you like to snoop around (old posters, books...).


3 the Citadelle Vauban :

It reminds us how difficult it was for Louis XIV to conquer Lille and how much he cared about it, the Sun King. A beautiful example of the architecture of Sebastien Le prestre de Vauban. Small surprise in addition: at the foot of the ramparts, there is the zoo of Lille. 

La citadelle Vauban de Lille par MisterStock/ La citadelle Vauban de Lille par MisterStock/ 


4 the old city :

Le vieux Lille par ilolab/ 

Le vieux Lille par ilolab/ 

This is the historical heart of Lille, and as in many French cities, it's the nicest area to walk around with very nice houses typical of the big cities of the North. There are many nice stores, restaurants, in an environment that the city takes care of. 


5 the hospice of the countess : 

And precisely, in the old town of Lille, you have to discover one of the beautiful museums of the city because after having been a hospital founded by Jeanne de Flandres in the Middle Ages, it became a magnificent place to discover the great painters of the Flemish School such as Watteau... 

l'hospice de la comtesse par Leonid Andronov/ l'hospice de la comtesse par Leonid Andronov/ 



What you can taste in Lille ?

potjevleesch par page frederique/ 

Potjevleesch par page frederique/ 

Obviously all the specialities of the North! The famous potjevleesch (here we say potch) with its pieces of meat (pork, chicken or rabbit...) taken in a slightly vinegar jelly. For cheese, it is impossible not to taste the famous maroilles (the stronger it smells, the better it is!). On the sugar side, it's the city of the fabulous vergoise waffles of the Méert House since 1849.


+ More ideas : 

The tourist office offers many ideas for visits, including the great walking tour of old Lille and it is here

The Méert house and its waffles (among others !) it's here


Where is Lille ? 

In region Haut-de-France, département : Nord. 

Lille : 225 Kms from Paris : 2H30 by car 1H00 by train.  Aéroport "Lille" is in the town of Lesquin. Bruxelles : 1H30 by car. London 4H by train via the Shuttle. 

city tourism city break

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme is "monsieur de France" the author of this site. 

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme Prod'homme

Jérôme is "monsieur de France" the author of this site.