Melissa McDonald, City Break Specialist

"The lyrical city of Lille is a haven for art lovers, food enthusiasts and romantics looking for an experience in old world charm. Visit the Palais des Beaux Arts to view an impressive collection of art and sculptures, then head over to Grand Place, the main square of the city, where you can view majestic architecture dating from the 17th to the 20th century."

Lille at a glance

Lille, the capital of the Nord region of France, is a medieval city with 17th century architecture, picturesque squares and a collection of fantastic art galleries. The city holds both Flemish and French roots and is known for its friendly atmosphere as well as its superb shops, cafés, bars and restaurants, making it a popular destination for a short break via Eurostar.

Lille’s main square, Place du Général-de-Gaulle, once acted as a bustling wheat market in medieval times. Today, the area known as ‘Grand Place’ still holds an atmosphere of animation and is home to a number of monuments and buildings of interest, including the Column of the Goddess and La Vieille Bourse, one of the city’s most prestigious Renaissance buildings.

There are a number of premier art museums in Lille, many of which boast impressive collections dating from the 12th century onwards. Perhaps the most widely known of these galleries is the Palais des Beaux Arts, home to a rare collection of works by artists such as Rubens, Goya, Donatello and Van Dyck.

Perfect if you’re looking for:

  • Art and culture
  • A weekend short break
  • Historic attractions

Getting around

Lille’s city centre is easy to navigate by foot. There is also a well laid out public transportation system operated by Transpole that operates bus, tram and subway networks throughout the city.

Shopping

Lille provides a diverse shopping experience, offering popular chain stores and malls alongside classy boutiques, independent shops and outdoor markets.

Le Furet du Nord, Europe’s largest book store, houses 8 floors of titles and holds regular book related events. Located in the city’s main square, the bookstore welcomes over 10,000 shoppers per a day.

Dining in Lille

A treat for the palate, Lille’s gastronomy is a cultural mix of Flemish tradition and French art form, creating sumptuous dishes that are both satisfying and full of flavour.

Thanks to a strong influence from its Belgian neighbour, Lille is home to a number of small breweries and is known for its specialty strong beers. Often each type of beer is served in its own custom shaped glass complete with branded logo, making the variety of beers on offer at most drinking establishments all the more interesting.

Must-try local dishes:

  • Carbonnade – small chunks of beef cooked in beer
  • Moules frites – mussels with chips
  • Gaufres – a thin waffle filled with a sugary substance made from sugar-beet syrup

Get your tailor-made city break itinerary

Osprey Holidays can create a fabulous short break to Lille designed completely around your needs. We can arrange whatever you need, including:

  • All travel and transfers on days of your choice
  • Accommodation from our handpicked range of Lille hotels, to suit your budget and requirements

Our award-winning team can provide expert advice and recommendations, from general questions to tiny details. Contact us now for your tailor-made itinerary.

Important information
Population 225,784
Languages French
Currency Euro
Visa Information No visa required for EU citizens
Average temperatures

(monthly highs °C)

Interesting facts

The Lille Metropole City Pass gives free access to over 27 museums and attractions, as well as Lille's public transport network.

Distance from airports
Lille 11 km
Railway stations
Lille-Flanders

Things to do in Lille

  • Museum of Modern Art: Collection of modern artworks (free on the first Sunday each month)
  • Grand Place: The main square is surrounded by many beautiful monuments, the Opera and is also home to the Furet du Nord cultural library.
  • Palais des Beaux Arts: Prestigious art gallery with works by Goya, Donatello and Veronese along with German paintings and sculptures from the 15th and 16th centuries.
  • Parc de Zoologique: Set beneath Lille’s impressive fortified Citadel; great free family day out.