A weekend visit to Lille

For our first foreign trip together, Kathleen and I decided to visit Lille, a location neither of us had been to before. Lille is a city of some 230,000 in the north-west of France in an enclave jutting into Belgium and it is the country’s fourth largest city. It is a mere one hour 20 minutes from London by Eurostar which has played a part in the substantial recent revival of the city.

We were surprised at just how vibrant is Lille – lots of cobbled streets, splendid architecture, artisan shops and cultural activities. Perhaps the top three tourist sites – all of which we visited – are the Palais des Beaux-Arts (the second most important art gallery in France), the Musee de L’Hospice Comtesse (a museum of local arts and crafts), and the birthplace of the former President Charles de Gaulle. There are an incredible number of cafes (our favourite was the famous Meert) and wine bars (our favourite was one called BiBo ViNo).

Lille is very close to the location of the trenches of World War One and we took an afternoon tour to two battlefields: Fromelles in northern France (battle on 19-20 July 1916) and Ypres in southern Belgium (five battles including Paschendaele).


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