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Amelia's Top 5 Things to do in Lille

Lille

 

 

Place aux oignons

 

Hospice Comtesse

 

 

La vieille bourse

 

 

 

Piscine Museum

 

Villa Cavrois

 

Meert

Written by Amélia Wallaert

Do you want a little escape from Paris to visit an attractive old town in the north of France? Then Lille, with a long history, renowned museums and delicious local specialties will be a great destination for a weekend.

Coming from Lille, I have chosen for you the five best places to go to. Get ready to enjoy your time there and don’t hesitate to meet French people. The north of France is famous for its friendliness!

 

Wandering around the Old town (Le Vieux Lille) – A secret place “La place aux oignons”!

The old city is famous for its rich cultural heritage, private mansions, its alleys and cobblestone streets. You will discover the rich architecture and a particular aspect of the north of France: the red-brick houses. Enjoy strolling through the streets, don't be concerned about getting lost and just experience the visual richness of the area.

La place aux oignons (square of onions) in the heart of Le Vieux Lille, is a little picturesque square surrounded by old brick buildings with a typical “estaminet” (an emblematic bar from the north) and various craft shops.  You will be fascinated by the charm which emanates from this square.

 

The Hospice Comtesse

32 Rue de la Monnaie

Situated in the old city, this museum will take you on an architectural, social and political journey of Lille from the XIII to the XVIII century. It was an old hospital built in 1237 dedicated to the poor and is now converted into a museum to tell you more about Lille history. You will also have the opportunity to explore art collections with Flemish paints.

 

Place Du Général de Gaulle & the old stock exchange

Place Du Général de Gaulle is the heart of the city. If you have a meeting, 90% chance it will be there and you may be impressed by the active social life of this square with many cafés and brasseries. Rich in culture, surrounded by Renaissance and Baroque Flemish architecture style, enjoy the space and lift up your eyes and look at all the details of these historic buildings.

However, the most architectural treasure of this square is the old stock exchange.  Come inside, you will find a fascinating arcaded courtyard which hides second-hand booksellers. If you're an avid reader, you will find your happiness!

After visiting the old stock exchange, have a look at the Rang of Beauregard, a row of stylish houses inspired by the French classicism, and try to spot the wrecking balls from the Austrian siege of 1792. But don't be taken in as these are fakes. The architects put them there to represent the French resistance!

 

La Piscine Museum

23 Rue de l'Espérance, 59100 Roubaix

Located in the suburbs, in Roubaix, this museum is a little gem. The swimming baths are breathtaking due to the old Art Deco style. It gathers a great collection of applied and modern arts. You will also discover the heritage of Roubaix as it was considered as the worldwide textile capital.

 

La Villa Cavrois

60 Avenue du President John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 59170 Croix

It is an emblematic monument from the famous architect Robert Mallet-Stevens. You will be stunned by this modern architecture from the 1930’s. I could say it is a contemporary castle, newly renovated. With 830m2 of terraces and 72m water mirror, you can now imagine the greatness of this place… 

For the gourmets, have a welsh in a typical Estaminet (grilled bread with melted cheddar and beer). For a morning or mid-afternoon tea, have a  taste at “Au Merveilleux”  (Generous meringues with chocolate, and don’t be surprised by the queue in front of the shop) or at Meert (High end fine patisserie)!

 

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