Cities like Paris and Nice get a lot of the limelight when we think of visiting France – but today, Aurel explains what makes the northern city of Lille such a cool and exciting place to live, and totally deserves your attention!
Aurel, Content manager
My name’s Aurel and I’m studying for my MA in Lille (and before that I studied in Brussels, so very nearby). I’ve lived in Paris, Munich, and travelled all around Asia, but I always love coming back to vibrant and bustling Lille. If you’re lucky enough to visit, here’s my personal selection of what to enjoy in the capital of French Flanders!
- The beautiful historic center, Vieux Lille, is jam-packed with traditional restaurants, museums and great shopping opportunities. You really can’t miss out on taking a walk around and discovering the city.
- Wazemmes is a creative and dynamic working-class district, centred on the huge Market Hall. I always recommend that people check out the exotic shops here and keep their eyes open for an unexpected bargain, or stop off for a beer in one of the busiest bars in the area.
- Lille has a great selection of cafés. I love the cosy vibes at Tamper! Espresso Bar, where you can also sample some superb cakes. La Brulerie is another great option, with warm family-run atmosphere and really charming interior design.
- For food, Oum Falafel has probably the best falafel in the entire city (and Lille is a city with a lot of great falafel!). If you want seafood dishes, then go to Les petits poissons, where you can enjoy an “apero iode”: amazingly fresh oysters for one euro, with a glass of wine.
- Lille is also a destination for beer-lovers. Mouss’touch has affordable artisanal beer, as well as a large choice of bottle and tap beers. Try their delicious house brew, “la daron”, which goes well with one of their homemade crêpes! I used to be a crêpe man before my time at Spacebase, so my praise should be highly regarded. Staff are friendly and attentive, and on Tuesdays they organise live music with local artists. This is the place to go for an affordable northern French beer!
- La biche et le renard is a concept store / bar which opened in 2016 in the northern part of the city and aims to promote local hand craft-beers and artists. It’s awesome decor and independent vibe sums up what Lille has to offer.
- Finally, Le cirque is a former hostel that has been renovated and offers a huge choice of beers and local dishes.
- Le Magazine club is the biggest techno club in Lille. Recently refurbished, this is a must if you’re missing Berlin nightlife. World renowned DJs play here and the lineups here are probably the most interesting in the whole of France (sorry about it Paris).
Things to do
- Don’t miss the marché de wazemmes. It happens every week on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, and is one of the largest markets in France. It’s colourful, full of character, and filled with surprising finds you won’t get anywhere else.
- For fans of design and architecture, check out the Villa Cavrois. It’s located a little further outside the city center but I promise it’s worth it. This spectacular modernist mansion was built during the 1930s by architect Robert Mallet-Stevens for Paul Cavrois, a textile industrialist from Roubaix.
- The former industrial train station of Saint Sauveur has been converted into a massive recreational area where some exhibitions, parties are often organized. You can also chill in the backyard to tan or to have a barbecue (if the weather allows it).
This elegant and spacious meeting room, perfect for conference and workshop, directly opposite the main train station with great restaurants and bars nearby.
For lively events with a bit of character, Cafe Oz is an Australian-themed bar in Vieux Lille.
Or try this modern, well-equipped office space, located right beside the buzzing EuraLille urban district.
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