Wednesday afternoon after one delicious dinner my boyfriend asked me what I think about a day trip to Lille.
It wasn’t hard for me to answer this question…wish all of the questions be that easy to answer 🙂 I have never been to Lille before and I was curious how this Northern city of France looks like and how’s to be surrounded, again, by French people….and maybe try to speak French after a long long break.
I have to say that my French wasn’t that bad as I was expecting it to be. And that’s why I felt motivated to go again to France, and this November I have been to Paris.
What can I say about Lille?
I loved everything about this city, it has all you need…important historical monuments, great food and wines and if you want to relax in a more peaceful atmosphere an evening dedicated to watching an opera or an afternoon walk at the local Zoo will make the day complete!
Talking about the Zoo, it surprised me that is free of charge and it has a nice combination of everything…it’s not a big zoo tough, therefore do not expect too much.
We took dinner out at one of the restaurants in the main square. We ordered a local dish – pork in beer sauce and prunes paired with a local red wine. Absolutely loved it! Later I cooked the same food at home and it came out delicious!
For a late lunch we had at La Place a huge sandwich for only 6.50 euro! I will upload the pictures when I get them, for you to see what I’m talking about 😉
They charge you 50 cents for eating at the terrace, therefore if you don’t have time to seat and eat, you’ll pay less. And another thing about this place that I liked is that, if you’re lucky to have one of the names written in their menu, you get a coffee for free, just make sure an identification card or any other document with your picture in it is with you, so that you can present it 🙂
What I dislike about this place is that the staff (waitresses) speak only French and for my friends who joined the trip was a bit hard to understand the menu…and they seemed to be a little unorganized. But if you speak with the people at the counter, then you have a great chance to find someone who’s able to explain you the menu, so give it a try BEFORE you sit at a table.
Now, it depends on your time and schedule. If you’re in Lille for just one day, then you may want to take a tour and see the most of the city in the shortest time possible. A ticket on a tour bus will cost about 9 Euros and the tickets can be bought at the Tourist Office (Office de Tourisme).
If, instead, you want to discover the city on your own pace, you have many other options, such as: public transportation or renting a bike.
Lille’s two speedy metro lines, two tramways and many urban and suburban bus lines. You can find an information window in the Gare Lille-Flandres metro station. Remark: on Sunday the information window is closed! If you want to spend more time out in the city, then you should keep in mind that you still can catch a metro before midnight, in the city centre.
Tickets must be purchased and validated before boarding a metro or tram. An all-day pass costs 4 Euros, a single trip ticket will cost you 1.40 Euro and for a better value you can buy a book of tickets 11.40Euros. If you know that you’ll be going home at night, or at least after 7pm, then you may want to buy an Evening pass for only 2.05 Euros (which allows you unlimited travel on the entire network, from 7 p.m. to closing time (bargain Saturdays: until 1 a.m. Sunday morning).
Vélopole, renting rates start from as low as 1 euro! You can reserve your bike online, here.
Go to the Champ de Mars to hire a Segway (from 4 Euros) or an e-bike aka electric bike (from 1.30 Euro). For further info, go here.
What to see in Lille?
First of all, I want to give you some good news! On this page you can visit Lille from home! So that, you can plan your trip better 😉 The information is in French, do not get surprised by this.
Most of the pages, even the on the links I already gave you, you can find the major touristic attractions. I will not stop and enumerate them, but instead I’ll call you to discover Lille on your own. It always nice to find something that wasn’t mentioned on a map or a forum but you actually like it. I have found Lille-guide quite informative and this is why I’m sharing it with you.
I loved the streets, I loved the Citadel and the main square. What you like about Lille?
One tip: If you decide to stay overnight or maybe stay in Lille for a longer period of time, then nearby the Train Station is a huge shopping center, Euralille Mall (nearby Lille-Europe Train Station), with a lot of shops (open till 9pm) and of course Carrefour, open until 10pm! You can buy your breakfast or a simple lunch there.
One more thing before I go: if you’re in Lille around Christmas, then you must visit the Xmas market. According to Ville de Lille webpage, from 20 November to 30 December 2013, lights, decorative snow cover blankets and handicrafts will be displayed in Place Rihour. The Christmas lights will be turned on, everyday, at 04:00pm.
The novelty of this year are the delicacies from Corsica!
Right now 83 exhibitors from Canada, Russia, Poland, Germany and Corsica are offering for sale:
- Local products, baskets and boxes of delicacies;
- Handicrafts made of wood, leather or metals;
- Decorative items for your home;
- Jewels and accessories ;
- Warm clothes: fleece, wool or sheep’s wool garments;
- Christmas delicacies: waffles, pancakes, hot spiced wine, Pretzels, “tartiflette” (potatoes with bacon and melted cheese), slices of bread with salted topping, etc.
- And more!
Read more about Christmas Market in Lille, all the events and about the Xmas contest here.
More information about Lille you can find on the following web pages:
- Lille for beginners (info in Dutch!)
- Lille (info in Dutch, French and English)
- Meals and Shopping
- 2 Short videos from Lille: 1 and 2
Travel safe and wise!