Capital of the Hauts-de-France region and City of Art and History, Lille offers a remarkable architectural and cultural heritage. The old town is a particularly lovely place to wander around with its many monuments, Flemish facades and pleasant pedestrian streets.
The Vieille Bourse buidling, looking onto the famous Grand'Place square, is a magnificent monument of Flemish Baroque style dating from the 17th century. This treasure of Vieux-Lille (Old Lille) consists of 24 houses surrounding a charming inner courtyard where secondhand booksellers, florists and chess players gather.
The very lively Grand'Place square, in the middle of which rises the Déesse column, is surrounded by beautiful buildings.
Other places of interest to explore are the Rihour Palace, a 15th-century Gothic building that today houses the tourist centre; Place du Théâtre square with the opera house and the Chamber of Commerce & Belfry; streets lined with period homes and mansions; the Hospice Comtesse museum; the Palace of Fine Art; and the Vauban citadel known as the "queen of citadels".
Unmissable, ththe Palace of Fine art is the second museum in France after the Louvre for the richness of its painting, sculpture, drawing and ceramic collections.
The Hospice Comtesse museum, located in a former hospital founded in the 13th century by the Countess Jeanne de Flandre, comprises a hospital ward, chapel, community building and dormitory. The museum also contains paintings, furniture and works of art.
The Natural History and Geology museum houses geology, zoology and ethnography collections.
Every first weekend of September, the famous Lille flea market takes place along more than 100 km of streets! An event not to be missed!
City of Art and History and capital of the Hauts-de-France region, Lille takes place in the department of Nord. Fourth city of France in terms of inhabitants, it forms with Roubaix, Tourcoing and Villeneuve-d'Ascq, the metropolis of Lille. Nicknamed the Capital of Flanders, the town is located about ten kilometers from the Belgian border.
Former merchant city, this northern city was founded, according to legend, in the middle of the seventh century. However, it was not until the eleventh century that it formed more than a simple hamlet. Capital of Flanders in the Middle Ages, with Bruges or Saint-Omer, it developed from that time an important economy related to trade. Its activity changed radically with the nineteenth century and a massive industrialization. Textile became the main source of development for the city until the middle of the 20th century.
At the end of the last century, the city of Lille knows a new rebound, and highlights a modernity that earned it the city label Internet @@@@. Tourist and very dynamic, the town is also appreciated for its exceptional architectural heritage, as well as for the warmth of its inhabitants.
It is a heritage that extends over more than ten centuries that you can admire while traveling the streets of Lille. Diverse and varied, it allows to be aware of the appearance of the city over time.
Also called the place of General de Gaulle, the Grand'Place remains the hotspot of the city of Lille. Built in the Middle Ages, it was at that time dedicated to trade. It is the unavoidable rendezvous of the inhabitants. It reveals four women of importance: the center goddess who bears witness to the siege of Lille by the Austrians in 1792, but also the three statues of the Northern Voice representing Artois, Flanders and Hainaut. Built at the beginning of the 18th century, the Grand Garde reveals classic architecture, while the Vieille Bourse always stands proudly. Built in the middle of the 17th century, it is the most beautiful monument of Lille. In his yard, booksellers settle regularly.
First large fortified work of Vauban, which is no longer present, the citadel of Lille was built on the orders of Louis XIV in the second half of the seventeenth century. Established on the border of Flanders, it unveils a star construction. Nicknamed the queen of the citadels, the military edifice still unveils today the Noble tower and its memorial of the deportation, the gates of Ghent and Roubaix, the gate of Paris, some fortifications, as well as the door of Dunkerque dating Of the second half of the 19th century. Guided tours are organized every third Sunday of the month.
Entirely restored, the Old-Lille astonishes by its architecture with colorful and flamboyant facades. The mixture of bricks and stones brings a certain charm to the ensemble which dates mainly from the seventeenth century.
Built at the beginning of the 20th century, the town hall of Lille was largely inspired by Flemish architecture. All in reinforced concrete, it reveals in its interior an important collection of contemporary works, as well as a fresco recounting the history of the city in comic strip, work of Icelander, Erró. The belfry, 104 meters high and visitable, has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The Palace of Fine Arts, one of the richest museums in France, is home to French and European paintings from the 19th century, works from the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, and sculptures in a building built in the 19th century. You can also see models of fortifications built by Vauban.
The fifteen markets of the city take place from Tuesday to Sunday in different districts.
In March, the European Film Festival offers projections and meetings.
The Printemps de la Vieille Bourse is a cultural event revolving around jazz and contemporary music, which takes place in March or April.
In April, Paysages Électroniques offers demonstrations of current music.
Les Paradis Artificiels is a festival of current music taking place in April.
Wazemmes l'Accordéon, musical festival, takes place between May and June.
Between June and July, the International Independent Film Festival takes place in different parts of the city.
The Festival Lille Clef de Soleil highlights classical music every Thursday between July and August.
Every first weekend of September, the city welcomes its very famous Big Braderie. The biggest flea market in Europe, the event has existed since the 12th century and allows to make good deals while enjoying the famous mussels-fries.
From October to the end of March, the Jazz Festival in North with concerts throughout the region.
Every first or second weekend of November, the Lille Comics Festival delights fans of American comics.
At the beginning of December, the festival Santa Claus is a Rocker offers concerts and social events.
A Christmas market takes place in December.
The swimming pool, museum of art and industry, in Roubaix. Its setting, first of all, an ancient Art Deco swimming pool built in 1932, delights visitors. The museum highlights in a very original way collections of applied arts, such as drawing or ceramics, and fine arts. Temporary exhibitions are regularly organized.
The LaM, in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, also deserves the detour. Set in a park of sculptures, it unveils works of the twentieth and the twenty-first century. You can admire the crazy ideas of Picasso, Modigliani, Klee or Augustin Lesage.