Introducing the city

£1.00 | 1.14 €

GBP | EUR

Gasoline £1.08 | 1.23 €

One-way ticket £1.41 | 1.60 €

Beer £4.40 | 5.00 €

Main Course £10.55 | 12.00 €

About Lille

A bright new spot on the French tourism scene, Lille has a student-friendly feel, hundreds of beer based drinking dens and grand traditional buildings.

100,000 students, 70 species of wild animal, super strength beer and a yearly mussel shell throwing contest – this may sound like a mystical land of madness, but it’s actually Lille, France’s ever-changing northern city.

Home to just under a quarter of a million people (many of which are students), Lille has undergone massive regeneration in recent years. Alongside palatial stone buildings (including the Old Stock Exchange and the Grand Palace) lie quirky, quaint streets, such as student-friendly (aka; bar-filled) Wazemmes Marche plus the beautiful Vieux-Lille (old town).

There’s also a (free!) city centre zoo plus a wonderful collection of art galleries (the Palais des Beaux Arts and the Musee d’Art Modern are particularly impressive). Add the countless cosy taverns (serving - yes - more beer) and that fact that it was elected the European Capital of Culture in 2004 and this vibrant northern gem has plenty on offer. At the very least, after a beer (or four) you’ll be reminiscing about the magic of your student days.

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Weather

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When Should I Visit?

July and August are great for a sunny city break, although the beginning of September hosts La Grande Braderie festival.

Lille has a marine climate with warm summers and mild winters; rainfall can occur at any time. The coolest month is January with an average temperature of 3 degrees Celsius and the warmest is July at 18 degrees Celsius; the wettest month is December.

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Travioor top tips

Hotel Deals
City Card
Art Museums

Insider Info

  • From Monday to Thursday, Lille is popular with business travellers, so you can often get great hotel bargains on weekends.

  • The (24, 36 or 72 hour) Lille City Pass gives you access to 28 museums, guides and citywide transport.

  • The Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, home to one of France’s best collections of art, is free on the first Sunday of every month.

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Food and drink

Main Course £10.55 | 12.00 €

3-Course Meal £35.16 | 40.00 €

Cappuccino £2.32 | 2.64 €

Beer £4.40 | 5.00 €

The Scene

Lille enjoys a varied range of food, with influences coming from across Europe. If you’re looking for authentic dishes, try Flemish inspired carbonnade flammande (beef stewed in beer) or moules-frites (mussels cooked in white wine served with fries). As in most of France, Lille has an excellent reputation for cheeses; like its Flemish neighbour Belgium, it also loves beers (try Trappist for a strong, hoppy brew). Tavern culture is pretty big across the city, many bars offer beer tasting paddles so you can sample a range of breweries and ales. Another traditional eatery is an estaminet, a restaurant which encourages slow eating with friends and family – many traditionally serve genièvre (a strong gin-like berry spirit) shot at the end of every meal.

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History

Lille’s Story

The city dates back to 2000 BC when the area was inhabited by Gauls; they were followed in later centuries by Saxons, Frisians and Franks. According to the legend of Lydéric and Phinaert, the city was founded in 640 AD and was named from the Flemish (Rijsel) and French (l'île), both words for ‘island.’

By the 12th century, Lille had grown famous for its cloth manufacturing and printing, although it wasn't until 1668 that it became part of France (prior to this it had been controlled by Burgundy and Flanders). During World War II Lille was besieged for several days by Germany, although fortunately some of the city's buildings remained intact. In the 1990s Lille underwent a huge regeneration project (including connecting to the Euro Tunnel) and it was elected as the European Capital of Culture in 2004.

Language

Salut | Hello
Merci | Thank you

French

French is the official language spoken in Lille (although many people also speak Flemish or Picard languages). Most people who work in restaurants, tourist attractions and hotels will speak a high level of English; signs, museum audioguides and maps will also be translated. Having said that, it's always a good idea to give the language a try – your best bet is French:

  • Good day: Bonjour
  • Excuse me: Excusez-moi
  • Please: S'il vous plaît
  • Do you speak English? Parlez-vous anglais?

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Need to know

+33 Dialling Code
112 Emergency Services

Get The Low-Down

  • If you arrive by plane and fly into Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport, it's about one hour to Lille on the train (note: that from Paris' Beauvais airport you have to go back into the centre of Paris for connections).
  • The journey time to/from Brussels is half an hour, to/from Central Paris around one hour and to/from London one hour and 25 minutes.
  • There have been some reports of crime in student areas at night; be alert.

 

VISA INFORMATION

Find out about the visa requirements for France here.

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Travioor Recommends

1. Vieux-Lille

Wander through Vieux-Lille; the atmospheric old town is full of cobbled streets and quaint shops.

2. Wazemmes Marche

For beer drinking or hearty Flemish food, head to Wazemmes Marche. Full of students, cool bars and outside terraces, this area has a quirky, street-party vibe.

3. Art Gallery

Explore the Palais des Beaux Arts which features work by Rubens, Raphael and Delacroix.

4. Street Market

Browse La Grande Braderie de Lille, France’s biggest summer street market for vintage goods and second hand treasures.

5. Architecture

Get a taste for Lille’s historic grandeur – people watch in the Grand Place or book a tour of the Old Stock Exchange.


See What's On In Lille  


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