Lille: A Closer Look

The Fontaine Grand Place in Lille © Don Muschter
The Fontaine Grand Place in Lille © Don Muschter

Flemish, Burgundian, then Spanish before becoming French, Lille possesses a striking architectural heritage. A merchant city at its beginning in the Middle Ages, a fortress city under Louis XIV, an industrial centre in the 19th century, and a growing, ambitious city in the 20th century, Lille was named the European Capital of Culture in 2004. Today the city remains a model in this area.

Vibrant and outgoing, the population is one of the youngest in France and never misses an occasion to have fun! The city's inhabitants have made organising events, large or small, part of their identity. The famous Braderie de Lille is just one example. When night falls, the party goes on in the numerous bars and nightclubs that have given Lille its reputation as a party town.

That atmosphere goes well with the habit of getting together with friends and family around the table! Regional specialties are served in "les estaminets", small Flemish restaurants where carbonnade, waterzoï and potjevleesch accompany micro-brewed beer.

From its industrial past, Lille has maintained its entrepreneurial and innovative spirit. While the Euralille neighbourhood is a concentration of architectural experiments, the Lille Sud sector is home to the "Maisons de Mode" (Houses of Style), small storefront workshops of young stylists. With Lille3000, the whole city is turning towards the future, transformed with this new, recurring event based on contemporary creations and world cultures.

Recommended Sightseeing

  • Zevisit mp 3 Lille (free of charge)

The free audio guide Zevisit Mobile takes you on a tour through the city, indicating each leg of the tour. It is available in Enlgish, German and Flamish.

  • City Hall and its belfry (4€ instead of 6€ if you present a EuroBasket Women 2013 ticket)

Completed in 1931 and today an UNESCO world heritage site, the 104 metre high bell tower of Lille's city hall is dominating the city. Equipped with an audio guide and binoculars, it is the ideal starting point to enjoy the city and its environs.

Address: Place Roger-Salengro, 59000 Lille
Tel: +33 (0)8 91 56 2004

The Porte Paris Beffroi in Lille
The Porte Paris Beffroi in Lille
  • Lille City Tour (9€ instead of 11€ if you present a EuroBasket Women 2013 ticket)

A convertible coach equipped with audio and video system (available in 9 languages) takes you on a 1h15 discovery tour of the city, passing the most famous sites of Lille.

Address: Place Rihour BP 59002 Lille Cedex
Tel : +33 (0)891 56 2004

  • Tree holiday park Chloro-fil

Located 20km outside of Lille, the tree holiday park Chloro-fil offers recreation and adventure for the whole family.

Address: Carrefour du Leu Pindu rue Général de Gaulle 59239 La Neuville
Tel: +33 (0)

  • La Citadelle

The citadelle is the work of Sébastien Le Preste, Marquis of Vauban. Carried out by the order of Louis XIV, who had just conquered the town. Its construction lasted from 1667 until 1670. It was really a little town surrounded by five bastions in the form of a star.

Address: Porte Royale, Avenue du 43ème Régiment d'Infanterie, 59000 Lille
Tel: +33 (0)3 28 38 32 23

  • Palais des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Museum)

The Palais des Beaux-Arts of Lille (Fine Arts Museum) one of the first museums in France, houses in its imposing 19th century building collections of European paintings, a collection of Antiquities, a mediaeval and Renaissance collection, 17th and 18th century ceramics, 19th century French sculptures and 18th century scale models of fortified towns.

Address: Place de la République 59000 Lille
Tel: +33 (0)

  • The Citadelle Park and the Zoo

This park, Lille's largest (60 hectares = 123 acres) and most visited, brings a breath of fresh air to the city. Encircled by the Deûle canal, the park includes the Bois de Boulogne Woods (which surround the ramparts of Vauban's Citadel) and the zoo. The Bois de Boulogne Woods are always open to visitors. There are some remarkable trees there, such as a Montpellier Maple, a Corsican pine and even a Giant Sequoia .The Lille Zoo is free and houses about 400 animals representing 70 different species: monkeys, zebras, panthers, rare birds, etc.

Address: Avenue Mathias Delobel - 59800 Lille
Tel: +33 (0)3 20 54 81 11

Palais Saint-Sauveur

Capacity: 1,900

Address: 78 av du Président Kennedy
59800 LILLE

Lille: Facts and Figures

Population: 226,000

Area: 35 km2

Official Website:

Distances from Lille: Orchies 26 km, Trelaze 516 km, Vannes 678 km, Vendespace 646 km

Lille: Basketball History

The biggest club in Lille is Lille Métropole Basket (LMB). French National 3 (5th Division) Champions in 2001, the men's team moved up the next year to National 2 and finished in second place. They repeated this success in the following two years (2002-2004). LMB won the title in 2006 and moved up to National 1. The 2008/2009 season saw the club earn a spot in the French Pro B after winning the National 1 title.


By car
2:30 from Paris via highway A1
1:20 from Bruxelles via highway A22/E17

By train
Two train stations serve Lille, the Gare Lille Europe and the Gare Lille Flandre. Lille can be reached from Paris in only one hour.
French railway SNCF

By Plane
The international airport Lille-Lequin is located around 20 minutes from the centre of Lille. A shuttle bus connects Lille airport with the city centre. Paris Charle de Gaulle and Bruxelles are alternatives in close proximity.
Aéroport Lille Lesquin:
Paris Charles de Gaulle:
Bruxelles Airport:

Local transport
Ville has a self-service rental bike system in place.

Recommended Places To Eat

  • Le Chat dans l'Horloge

Traditional cuisine served in a friendly and simple environment with slate boards on the wall, displaying the menu and daily suggestions.

Address: 12 place Sébastopol 59000 Lille
Tel: +33 (0)3 20 40 24 80

  • Estaminet Chez la Vieille

The Flamish cooking of this pub is winning you over with its pasta, its grilled meat but also with its goat cheese waffles, delicious homemade puree or regional ice-creams and desserts.

Address: 60 rue de Gand 59000 Lille
Tel: +33 (0)3 28 36 40 06

  • L'Hermitage

L'Hermitage is a Hotel museum that offers a small tavern and a gourmet restaurant to satiate the small and the big appetite and all tastes.

Address: 224 rue de Paris 59000 Lille
Tel: +33 (0)3 20 85 30 30

  • A l'Huitrière

The finest fish and sea food of the best origins arrive at the fish market every morning and are then brought to the kitchen of l'Huitriere which has a spirit of both classic and creative taste.

Address: 3 rue des Chats Bossus 59000 Lille
Tel: +33 (0)3 20 55 43 41

  • La Petite Cour

Enjoy local cuisine in the old saloon of the rectory or in one of the alcoves that form private niches, creating a cosy and generous atmosphere.

Address: 17 rue du Curé Saint Etienne 59000 Lille
Tel: +33 (0)3 20 51 52 81

  • La Vielle France

Come to discover the fine dishes that stand for the gastronomical richness of France in a frame typical for the old Lille.

Address: 51 rue de Gand 59000 Lille
Tel: +33 (0)3 20 31 00 57