Lille, a city with a stormy past and an exciting future. Lille's history has been marked by 11 invasions and has come under the rule of Austria, Spain and France. Today, Lille is a vibrant city with a strong economy as symbolized by the booming business centre - Euralille.
This tempestuous history has left behind many relics for tourists to view and many of which will leave you in awe. The Vieille Bourse is Lille's most spectacular building. It was built in 1652/3 and is designed with 24 identical houses all joined onto a courtyard. This magnificent structure is lavishly decorated with cartouches, garlands and fruits all in the style of Flemish Renaissance. Each day you will find the courtyard abuzz with chess players and bookstalls. In the summer months you can enjoy a tango display too.
The Grand Garde is essential to your itinerary. Representative of the French royal presence this structure was constructed in 1717. The sun emblem of Louis XIV as well as the arms of France and Lille are clearly displayed on the pediment. The Grand Garde is now home to the Théâtre du Nord. The Opéra is another impressive building constructed in the neo-classic style. It has been opulently decorated. Adorning the pediment is the image of Apollo and the Muses by Hippolyte Lefébvre.
Why not stop by a few of the museums in Lille, touching up on its culture. Palais des Beaux-Arts is second only to the Louvre and displays brilliant paintings, sculptures, relief models and ceramics in 22 000 square meters. Other fascinating museums include the Maison Natale Charles de Gaulle (his birthplace) and the Hospice Comtesse museum (a hospital founded in 1237).
Find out how juniper is manufactured by visiting the Wambrechies distillery established in 1817. This distillery still manufacturers using old methods which you can observe.
Travel to Lille from the UK by means of the Lille Eurostar. Alternatively many other high-speed trains arrive at the train station from all over Europe. It is easy to find a hotel in Lille that will suit your requirements from luxury accommodation to a countryside bed and breakfast. Lille's tourism office is very clued up and helpful and will be able to assist you with anything you may need whether it is a hotel in Lille, information on sights or anything else. When visiting France, Lille is not to be missed!