Tip For Trip – Visit French Lille

This relatively less known cultural centre and a historical city is just an hour away from Paris, close to the border with Belgium, by the fast train. The ride in the train is an experience in itself. The city which is a part of the Flandres  region bears a fair amount of Flemish look, most especially in the architecture in the older part known as Vieux Lille. Since the city is also well known for its education centres and the university, there is a teeming young population which contributes to the throb, energy and the cosmopolitan feel of the city.

Morning market in Lille

The city receives visitors from many parts of the world and is conveniently located not only a short distance from Paris but an even shorter distance of 30 minutes from Brussels and a pleasant train ride from London by Eurostar. Interestingly, the same Eurostar that crawls along from London to the border of France turns into a bullet train due to the modern train tracks in France.

Interior of Gare de Lille Flandres

The visitor to this city must see some of the magnificent buildings, including, Opera de Lille, Eglise Saint Maurice de Lille, Palais des Beaux Arts de Lille which is a splendid structure and one of the largest museums in France,  Gare de Lille Flandres;  a historical train station the construction of which began in 1869 and took more than 20 years to complete. The most interesting feature of the train station is the front façade which was originally the façade of Gare du Nord at Paris. This was dismantled in parts, transported all the way and put together in Lille. Something which is usually perceived as boring, is the Chamber of Commerce which is an architectural marvel in itself. Of course the visit would not be complete without seeing the Grande Place.

Eglise Saint Maurice de Lille

Palais des Beaux Arts de Lille

The sightseeing tour of the city costs around 15 Euros and the entry into the museum is usually 15 Euros and if you’re a student under 25 you get a discount of approximately 50 percent.

Famous Flea market in Lille

Another interesting feature of Lille is the flea market, known as Grand Braderie de Lille, reputedly the largest flea market in Europe. This is held during the first weekend of September and attracts visitors from many parts of the world for the food, antiques and fun. Unfortunately, this event was cancelled during the last couple of years due to security reasons but has now been announced by the mayor that it shall be held this year.

Photos: Shutterstock

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