View Map

Overview

Lille’s biggest draw is without a doubt its wonderfully preserved old town – Vieux Lille — which somehow feels more Flemish than it does French. But the cultural and artistic capital of northern France is not just a pretty face. It counts a trio of world-class museums – one devoted to fine arts, another to modern art and a third, housed in a converted former municipal swimming pool, containing mostly decorative arts. Vieux Lille hosts some of the best boutiques and clothing shops outside Paris, and nightlife here is particularly vibrant, thanks to some degree to the large student population here. This being France, you can expect an ...

Lille’s biggest draw is without a doubt its wonderfully preserved old town – Vieux Lille — which somehow feels more Flemish than it does French. But the cultural and artistic capital of northern France is not just a pretty face. It counts a trio of world-class museums – one devoted to fine arts, another to modern art and a third, housed in a converted former municipal swimming pool, containing mostly decorative arts. Vieux Lille hosts some of the best boutiques and clothing shops outside Paris, and nightlife here is particularly vibrant, thanks to some degree to the large student population here. This being France, you can expect an inordinate choice of excellent fine-dining venues; seek out too any of the many estaminets, local eateries that serve such Flemish specialties as carbonade (beef stewed in root vegetables and beer) and flamiche (a kind of quiche made with leeks). And don’t be surprised at all the smiles and cordial greetings. The Lillois are considered the friendliest folk in France.

Steve Fallon
About the Expert

Steve Fallon has more than two dozen years of experience as a travel writer and guidebook author, having written or contributed to some 80 Lonely Planet and other guides.

view full overview

Steve Fallon for Triporati

Compare Flight, Car Rental, and Hotel Rates

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Note: A new window will open for each site you select.

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Lille is situated on the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium. It is the capital of the Nord-Pas de Calais region and the prefecture of the Nord department.
  • Language: French
  • Currency: Euro
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Pre-Lenten carnivals (or mardis gras) are the magnet for this area in February/March, but if you can time it right, head here on the first weekend in September when Lille hosts the Braderie, the world’s biggest flea market.