A lot of people dream of visiting France. It’s not quite a surprise, though as even with just one picture of one of its attractions, it’s easy to get convinced because of its unique romantic vibe and gorgeous architecture. France also has picturesque views that no one will be able to say no to.
However, when talking about France, many people would only think of the Eiffel Tower first. It has been the powerful and distinctive symbol of both Paris and France for years. And a trip to the country will not be complete without a picture with or of the famous tower.
But France isn’t just about Paris and Eiffel Tower. There are also other regions in the country that you need to see too to fully get to know and enjoy the country. One of which is Lille France.
Lille France is actually the capital of Hauts-de-France’s northern region. It is known for its culture, as well as its Flemish roots. It is also known as one of the great places in France to stop over. But what does it actually offer, you say? Check out what awaits you in the city.
- 1 Lille France Attractions
- 1.1 Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille
- 1.2 Lille Métropole Musée d’Art Moderne, d’Art Contemporain et d’Art Brut
- 1.3 Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse
- 1.4 Eglise Saint-Maurice
- 1.5 Eglise Sainte-Catherine
- 1.6 Cathédrale Notre-Dame de la Treille
- 1.7 Rang du Beauregard
- 1.8 Grande Braderie de Lille
- 1.9 Parc Zoologique
- 1.10 Lille Citadelle
- 1.11 Stade Pierre-Mauroy
- 2 Luxury Hotels in Lille
Lille France Attractions
There’s actually a lot of attractions in Lille that will make you love France even more. In case you want to see more of what the country has to offer other than the famous Eiffel Tower and the Louvre Museum, here are some of the things that will make love France more.
1Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille
It’s okay if you won’t get to see the famous Louvre Museum when you’re only visiting Lille. This is because this city has Palais des Beaux-Art de Lille or the Fine Arts Museum of Lille. For starters, it is worth seeing as it is one of the first museums built in France. Thus, you will be treated with some gorgeous vintage architecture. But of course, what’s inside is more worth-seeing.
Apart from its exterior beauty, this place also boasts of the huge collection of arts that it houses. In fact, it is one of the largest art museums and it is also the second most important museum in the country. You can even get to find a collection of masterpieces of European paintings by Van Dyck, Delacroix, Rubens, and Goya. The museum also houses stunning examples of the 19th-century French painting and impressionist art including some works of Claude Monet and Picasso.
Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille also houses a good deal of antiquities collection. Plus, it has a sculpture gallery with pieces made by Rodin and other famous artists. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or not, a trip to this museum is something that you should not miss.
2Lille Métropole Musée d’Art Moderne, d’Art Contemporain et d’Art Brut
Lille Métropole Musée d’Art Moderne, d’Art Contemporain et d’Art Brut or Lille Metropole Museum of Modern, Contemporary and Outsider Art is also one of the attractions that you need to see in Lille. First off, this is because of its unique lush setting. Another reason why it’s worth the visit is that it is regarded as one of the most important museums of the 20th and 21st-century art in Northern Europe where you can get to enjoy seeing a comprehensive collection of modern art. In fact, this museum features over 4,500 works. You can also get to see some of the works of Kandinsky, Klee, Miro, Braque, Modigliani, and even Picasso. On top of that, it has a beautiful garden with stunning sculptures that makes the area even more gorgeous.
3Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse
For many horror movies, old hospices or hospitals are scary. But there’s no need to be afraid of Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse. As a matter of fact, you will learn more when you visit this place too.
Also known as Hospice Comtesse or Hospice Notre-Dame, as its name suggests, this place opened in the 17th century as a hospital that cared for the sick and the poor of the city. After the French Revolution, though, the site then became an orphanage and home for the elderly. Since it was built, this place witnessed many stories until it stopped operating. And in the 1960s, the then Hospice Contesse re-opened. However, it no longer serves as a place to care for the locals. Rather, the hospice became a place where the new generation can learn more about the local history – a museum.
At Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse, you can get to see beautiful paintings, including an artwork made by a former orphan that stayed there in the 17th century. You can also get to see various works of art that depict the history of the city until the French Revolution.
Its interior is also well-restored that you can get a peek of what it looked like in its early days. On top of that, you can also get to see the furnishings from the 17th and 18th centuries. It’s one of the places in the city where you can get a good peek of the history so don’t miss out on this one too.
Whether you’re into architecture or you’re just religious, Eglise Saint-Maurice is also a must-see. For starters, this is a catholic church. But even if you’re not a catholic, or if you’re not religious, this place is also worth visiting because of its stunning architectural design. Founded in the 14th century, this place has retained a sense of architectural unity in spite of undergoing several renovations.
Just outside the church, you’ll already be greeted with a design that serves as a good example of a Hallekerque, a type of structure that adapted to the fragile marshy soil of the place. Its interior, of course, is also stunning. In fact, the church is distinguished by its harmonious interior design that features five aisles and 36 columns. You can also get to see 17th and 18th-century paintings made by some of the best artists in Lille.
The church, as a whole, is very stunning. So be sure to bring your camera with you to capture its beauty.
Speaking of the church, near the Eglise Saint-Maurice is Eglise Sainte-Catherine, another historical church that you need to see. Located on Rue Royale, this church joins the historical buildings lining the street. Apart from being one of the oldest structures in town, this site is also a must-see for its lovely 15th- century Gothic design. It also boasts of an extraordinary painting, the Martyrdom of Saint Catherine that Rubens made, which is located in the north aisle. If you’re already visiting Eglise Saint-Maurice, don’t forget to see Eglise Sainte-Catherine too.
6Cathédrale Notre-Dame de la Treille
Cathédrale Notre-Dame de la Treille is yet another fascinating church in Lille. There are actually a number of things that make this cathedral interesting. One of which is its name. Before it was built, the area provided shelter for a statue of the Virgin Mary, which is believed to be miraculous. Back then, this statue was merely protected by an iron trellis, hence the name of the cathedral. Apart from its history, this church also boasts of a stunning and unique architectural design made by architect Pierre-Lous Carlier and Peter Rice, the engineer who worked on the Sydney Opera House and Paris’ Pompidou Centre, that makes it even more interesting.
The way it was constructed also makes it interesting. Apparently, the original plan for this cathedral was to make it big with a size of 132 meters long with spires that reach over 115 meters. However, because of financial issues due to the wars, the scale of the project was limited. But thanks to its builders’ talent, the cathedral still got remarkable features that you need to see in person. One of which is its translucent veil that gives it a unique orange-pink glow. It also has beautiful stained glass windows and a collection of stunning spiritual paintings.
7Rang du Beauregard
Rang du Beauregard is also one of the Instagrammable locations in Lille that you need to see. Facing the chamber of commerce, this attraction is a uniform row of elegant terraced houses created in 1687. Its design follows specific design standards that align with the Vieille Bourse. It features decorative cartouches like cornucopias, scrolls, and angels. The building embodies Lilloise Neoclassical Baroque style. Its design is also intertwined with the city’s history, which makes it even more worth seeing. You can also get to see small cannonballs, which the Austrians left during the 1972 Seige of Lille, in its facades. The buildings are privately owned, though, which means you won’t be able to explore it on the inside. Still, its exterior alone makes it all the more worth seeing.
8Grande Braderie de Lille
Also known as Lille Flea Market, this is also one of the things you need to prioritize when traveling to Lille France, especially if you’re looking for some unique but affordable finds. Here, you can find over 10,000 exhibitors selling their wares at open-air stalls scattered throughout the city. They sell books, vintage porcelain, clothing, as well as pieces of jewelry. You can even find old records, antique silverware, artisan crafts, and artworks that find nowhere else in the world. You can find nearly everything as it is the biggest flea market in Europe. And have we mentioned that you can get them at an affordable price?
Apart from that, you can also get to try out the local street food. This includes French fries, grilled fish, mussels, as well as other specialties in the region. You can get to taste some delicious and refreshing drinks too.
However, this flea market isn’t always there year-round. Apparently, the city only holds Grande Braderie de Lille during the first weekend of the month of September (at 2 PM on a Saturday). So you might want to plan your visit to Lille well. But don’t worry if you miss this year’s event. Grande Braderie de Lille is held yearly so there’s always a next time.
Lille isn’t just about museums and architectural structures. The city also has a zoo that is worth seeing, the Parc Zoologique. Sure, you may have zoos in your hometown but visiting a France in Lille France is still a different experience.
Here, you can get to see nearly 500 animals from 70 odd species. You can get a closer look at them and even learn more about them, as well as their habitat. This, of course, makes a great place to take the kids. Hence, it’s no wonder it is also one of the most visited attractions in France. What we love about this zoo is that it also plays a part in international conservation programs for endangered species.
The zoo also has nice enclosures. They are natural-looking so animals enjoy it too. Of course, you will love the atmosphere too as you won’t feel any guilt for having a day off with your family or friends. Kids will surely love the place too. The exhibits are also divided into different areas and organized geographically so with just visuals, you can already get to learn more about the animals’ habitat.
History buffs will love Lille Citadelle too. As its name suggests, this place is the citadel of the city wall of Lille. It has a pentagonal shape and is regarded as the Queen of the citadels because of its design and size. It also boasts quality architecture and preservation.
The site also holds many stories even from the way it was designed. For starters, this fortress was designed by Vauban, the well-known military engineer who left his mark nearly in every corner of France during his time.
Aside from its design, the way it was built is also impressive. And in spite of the speed of the project, you will also be impressed as its quality wasn’t compromised.
However, note that the site is still used as a French military base. Thus, you won’t be able to enter and explore it. But don’t worry, you can still marvel at its beauty on its outer walls. And if you’re already in the area where Parc Zoologique is, don’t miss out on this site too as it is also located in the same part of the city where the zoo is.
If you’re a sports fan, Lille also has a spot for you – the Stade Pierre-Mauroy. It’s basically a stadium that serves as a home to the LOSC, also known as Lille Olympique Sporting Club. That said, you can get to watch some live-action football game. It has a seating capacity of 50,000. But this place isn’t just for football fans.
During summer, the stadium doubles as a concert venue. Hence, you can also get to see your favorite artists, including Rihanna.
Whether you’re a football fan or you’re looking to see a major artist’s concert, you shouldn’t forget adding this to your travel itinerary too. Just keep an eye on its calendar to see what’s on so you won’t miss anything.
There are still more attractions in Lille, as well as in the nearby cities and towns. And if you want to see more of them, a day trip won’t be enough. We highly recommend that you stay longer to fully see the beauty of Lille and the nearby cities. But the question is, where should you stay? Don’t worry, we got your back as we listed some of the best places to stay in Lille, especially if budget is not a problem.
Luxury Hotels in Lille
Since you’re already in France, why not live your vacation days to the fullest and experience the luxury that it offers? Lille has plenty of them. In case you’re considering staying in a luxury hotel in Lille, take a look at these good ones we found.
Hôtel Barrière Lille
400 meters from Lille-Europe Train Station, you will see Hôtel Barrière Lille, a 5-star hotel that features three restaurants, a hotel theatre, a casino, plus a business center. You can also get an access to the spa with a fitness center and a sauna for free. Thus, you won’t have to worry about your fitness routine while you’re on vacation.
Of course, its rooms are definitely worth talking about. Aside from having comfortable beds, each room in this hotel also has a dressing room. On top of that, each has large windows where you can get a good view of the city. If you’re not traveling on a budget, this hotel is worth checking out.
Hotel L’Arbre Voyageur – BW Premier Collection – LILLE
Hotel L’Arbre Voyageur – BW Premier Collection – LILLE is also minutes away from Lille Europe Train Station and is 200 meters away from Lille’s Opera. Here, you can enjoy a bar, two restaurants, and meeting rooms. But what we love about this boutique hotel is that each of its rooms features individual stylish décor. You can also get to enjoy a breakfast buffet every morning.
Like the previous hotels we’ve mentioned, L’Hermitage Gantois also has great rooms and a spa place to offer. But what we love about this place is that it has an elegant exterior design that resembles a building from the 15th century. On top of that, it has a nice indoor pool. Another thing to love about this place is that it is located at the heart of the city. That said, you won’t have to travel far to get to most of the attractions listed in your itinerary. In fact, La Grand Place is just a five-minute walk away.
Aparthotel Adagio Lille Centre Grand Place
If you’re not into some old-fashioned design, Aparthotel Adagio Lille Centre Grand Place is worth checking out too. Opened in 2019, this hotel has a chic style. Aside from cozy rooms, it has accommodations that offer sun terrace. It also has an area where you can play billiards. The best part of it is that it is also near some of the top attractions in the city.
The Eiffel Tower has really made France popular that it is recognized as a distinctive and powerful symbol of the city where it sits, as well as of France as a whole – just as how the pyramids are to Egypt and the Statue of Liberty to New York. Hence, it’s quite not a surprise why almost everyone who wants to go to Paris has the Eiffel Tower on top of their list. But then again, there’s so much more to see in France than this famous landmark. In Lille alone, you can get to fill your eyes with beautiful landmarks. It may not be as popular as Paris but this place is truly worth the visit for the different attractions and experiences that it has to offer. Whether you’ve already been to Paris and you want to see something new in France or you just want a not so touristy place to visit where you can still get to know France, this city is something you need to consider adding to your travel itinerary.