The largest city in northern France, Lille is one of the country’s best-kept secrets and surprises many people with its impressive and striking architecture.
There are lots of things to do in Lille including museums, galleries, cathedrals, churches, historic buildings and monuments. To really make the most of your stay it might be well worth investing in a 24-hour Lille City Pass.
Lille Christmas market is also a must. Every December the city’s main square is taken over and transformed into a winter wonderland with a huge ferris wheel and Christmas tree as well as over 80 chalets.
What to see in Lille?
The centre of Lille can be divided into three sections: Vieux Lille (the old town), Grand-Place (around the Place Général de Gaulle), and the République – Saint-Sauveur quarter. Beyond the centre are the towns of Villeneuve d'Ascq, where the LaM museum holds France's greatest modern art collection outside Paris, and Roubaix, which is home to the La Piscine art museum.
Lille is also famous for its Flemish architecture, the main square, Place du Général-de-Gaulle, better known as the "Grand'place", has many historic houses, like the neo-Flemish headquarters of local newspaper La Voix du Nord, and a fountain with the statue of a goddess, "la Grande Déesse".
Take a stroll through the Vieux Lille, and enjoy the cobble-stone streets, stylish designer shops, gourmet restaurants, and the modern Cathédrale Notre Dame de la Treille.
Visit Citadel of Lille, one of the most notable citadels.
Museums and gardens
There are plenty of museums in Lille. Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille is one of the largest museums in France. LAM, or the Lille Art Modern Museum houses modern and outsider art as well as pieces from Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, Joan Miró, Georges Braque and more.
For families, Lille boasts an abundance of beautiful parks and gardens to explore and admire at your leisure. There’s the Botanical Gardens and Greenhouse, The Vauban Garden and the most popular of them all, the Citadel Park and Zoo which is free and houses around 400 animals.
Lille is also home to a young, cool population of students and young professionals, helping the city stay lively and varied both day and night.