What to see and do in Lille? 10 visits not to be missed!

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Martí Micolau


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A visit to Lille, with its old quarters and charming hotels, contrasts with stereotypes about the North. Modern and dynamic metropolis, Lille deserves a stay for its flea market, known throughout the world, which spans a whole weekend. In short, there are plenty of arguments to justify a trip to the North Prefecture. Immediate boarding to discover 10 things to do in Lille!

Visit Old Lille

Everything starts around the Grand-Place, which marks the center of Lille, and its surrounding pedestrian streets. The architecture is typical of northern cities, such as Brussels, and the district is full of well-known brands. Further away, Old Lille allows you to go back in time with its cobbled streets lined with Flemish houses. The area is also home to many art galleries, antique shops and nightlife bars.

The main square

Stroll in the Citadel Park

What to do in Lille if you want to get some fresh air without going for miles? Head to the Citadel Park, the largest in the city, for a bucolic stroll! Located at the foot of the ramparts of the Vauban Citadel, you can walk in this green setting, admiring the fortifications or stroll along the Deûle canal.

The Citadel Park

Take in the eyes of the Palais des Beaux Arts

What to do in Lille if it rains? With a large collection of classical European works, the Palais des Beaux Arts is not to be missed. In a XNUMXth century building, you can admire paintings by Courbet, Goya, Rubens or Delacroix, as well as sculptures by Rodin or Camille Claudel.

The Museum of Fine Arts

Explore Wazemmes, the bohemian district

In the multi-ethnic district of Wazemmes, there is no shortage of good deals and shopping enthusiasts will be delighted by numerous bazaars with a cosmopolitan atmosphere. A huge market also occupies the main square of the district three days a week. Food, flowers, fabrics, various objects… it is one of the largest in France, and probably one of the liveliest. Bohemian atmosphere guaranteed ! On Sundays, as a bonus, the Wazemmes market is completed by a spice market and a flea market on an adjacent square.

The covered market of Wazemmes

Discover rehabilitated places

The city is home to many buildings related to the industrial history of the region. Magnificently restored, they now give pride of place to culture. Thus, the Tripostal: formerly used for sorting mail, it has been transformed into contemporary art showroom. It also has a performance hall! Do not miss the Gare Saint-Sauveur, which houses a bar, a cinema and an exhibition hall. An essential to do in Lille!


Go back in time at the Hospice Comtesse 

This former hospital in the heart of Old Lille bears witness to a bygone era. In what served as nuns dormitory, you will be able to admire the art collections before entering the “sick room” where temporary exhibitions are regularly organized. The Hospice Comtesse will immerse you in the daily life of the Augustines, entirely devoted to their neighbors. A visit to do in Lille!

Hospice Comtesse

How about sunbathing at Lille Plage? Put on the swimsuit and land on a fine sandy beach: that's something you never thought you could do in Lille! And yet, every summer, Boulevard de Strasbourg hosts 8 m² of beach with 000 freshwater pools, games for children, picnic areas and many activities suitable for all ages! A concept that cities are increasingly fond of.

Take to the heights of the Belfry of the Town Hall

A perfect place to see the city in 360 degrees! Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is 104 meters high and it is a must to do in Lille. To get there you will have to climb 400 steps, but it is worth the effort: the view from the Belfry of the Town Hall is breathtaking!

The Belfry of the Town Hall

SEE ALSO : discover photos of Lille seen from above through a day on the roofs of the city.

Enjoy a beer and fries

Like the often harsh climate, the gastronomy of the North is a rich, warm cuisine and full of character. The restaurants of old Lille have traditional dishes on their menu, such as Flemish carbonade or the famous mussels and fries. A stay in Lille would also not be complete without a meal at the French fries house where you eat a copiously filled cone, basting it all with a glass of local beer. There is no shortage of varieties, beer is to the North what wine is to Aquitaine!

Fries and beer are famous in Lille

Shopping at the Braderie de Lille

One weekend per year (early September), Lille is home to the world's largest flea market. Some figures: more than 15 sellers and 000 to 2 million visitors. All the sidewalks in the city are busy! Real giant market, Lille breathes then fries, fresh mussels and beer. This one event amply deserves to organize a trip to Lille, if only to buy some trinkets and enjoy a lively atmosphere as we rarely find.

A mountain of mussels at the Braderie de Lille

Practical information 

Want to go to Lille? To make your stay a success, we provide you with practical information and tips:

  • Getting to Lille: Lille has an international airport, located on the outskirts of the city, just 10 km from the center. A shuttle bus and taxis take you to the center from Lille-Lesquin airport.
  • Getting around the city: Lille has a public transport network made up of the metro, tram lines and bus lines. All points of interest are well served!
  • Find a cheap hotel on weekends: Shopping and very lively, the center of Lille therefore attracts many visitors. During congress periods, finding a hotel is a real challenge. On the other hand, weekends are much more conducive to cheap accommodation, especially in slower periods. The only exception, during the clearance sale weekend, it is better not to try your luck at the last minute to find a room in the city center.
  • What is the best period? We have compiled several years of weather history in order to give you a complete and synthetic picture of the climate in Lille. You will be able to know when to go to visit the city of the North. Convenient !
  • Discount card : The Lille city-pass offers a large number of reductions for museums or attractions located in Lille, but also throughout the North region. Very useful if your trip is in the form of a circuit, especially as the 3-day pass gives unlimited access to TER transport.
  • Visitor Center : Also visit the Lille tourist office website to find additional information.

The essentials of Lille and after?

City steeped in history, there are plenty of things to do in Lille! Along the cobbled streets, it reveals its treasures and delicacies to visitors. Want to find out more? Do not hesitate to read our article “What to do around Lille?” : the region is just as attractive!

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