To a lot of people Lille doesn’t really ring a bell. In my opinion it is one of the hidden jewels that the north of France has to offer. It might not offer that many well known sights to visit but it is a perfect place to live in.
Admittedly one of the great advantages of Lille is the city’s location, which allows easy access to cities like Bruxelles, Paris and London. Not to mention a personal favorite of mine: Bruges, which can be considered the Venice of Belgium and is a MUST for those who, like me, love well kept old cities, romantic channels and cobblestoned streets.
Even if one of the great advantages of Lille is the fact that you can easily get from there to some of the big european capitals there are also places worth exploring within the city’s borders. I am a huge fan of old towns and Lille’s more historical area is no exception. It won me over in less than five minutes with its maze of alley roads filled with bakeries, restaurants, chocolate and gift shops, artist studios and a fascinating cathedral which can be found on Rue Jean Moulin.
When you are done with dreaming away in the old town the next stop on my city tour around Lille is the park of the citadelle where you can find something as luxurious as a free zoo! I found this little pearl early on during my stay in Lille and it quickly became a favorite when it came to taking sunday walks! The zoo offers a wide range of wild animals in a beautiful setting and is perfect to combine with a walk along the channels in the park.
Besides my fascination for old towns I have a soft spot for sweets, crêpes in particular! I see it as a duty to eat as many nutella crêpes as possile whenever I visit France. And Lille is no exception to that. However, I also got another favorite during my stay in Lille: the merveilleux sold at Carrefour. A chocolate lovers wet dream! Chocolate mousse and meringue, yummie!
Being a swede means enjoying to spend hours at cafés: having coffee, eating pastry and chatting with friends. In Lille I had a hard time finding a good place to do this as there didn’t seem to be to many cafés offering something to eat and drink without having to breath in a lot of second hand smoke. However, half way through my stay I found this one place called Le pain quotidien at Place Rihour that lived up to my demands, plus: they offered a white chocolate merveilleux! Loved it! (While writing this I found out that it is actually an international chain, no cafés in Sweden yet though..)
So, to conclude my little review of Lille:
- Eat crêpes, merveilleux and visit le Pain Quotidien.
- Take some time to explore the maze of alley roads in the old town.
- Visit the zoo and explore the area of the Citadelle.
- Take advantage of the city’s location by making day trips to surrounding citites!