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What to see in Lille

Lille Attractions

A tour of Lille will reveal a charming mix of French and Flemish features, and a historic core that is filled with impressive architecture, squares and cobblestone streets. There are lots of things to see and do in Lille, which is a friendly city and is becoming increasingly popular as a French destination.

Many of the most popular attractions in Lille can be found in the historical town centre, Vieux Lille. The Grande Place, Lille's main square, is a good place to start a tour of the city. The Grande Place is a typical European town square that would not seem out of place in Brussels and boasts some glorious architecture, including the 17th-century Vieille Bourse. The Vieille Bourse is the old Stock Exchange building and it has a bustling little collectors market in its inner courtyard where visitors can rummage for things such as posters, books and comics. Also in the heart of Vieux Lille is the wonderful Hospice Comtesse Museum. Founded as a hospital in 1237, today it exhibits art and artefacts from the region and from the hospital's long history.

Lille has some great museums and a unique one to visit is the Musee des Moulins, which is devoted to windmills. The Palais des Beaux-Arts, which features works by masters such as Raphael, Rubens, Donatello and Goya, to name but a few, is definitely worth a visit, and the Musee d'Art Moderne is one of Lille's most popular tourist attractions. Other attractions in Lille include the magnificent Notre-Dame de la Treille Cathedral, which is an unexpected mixture of Gothic and contemporary architecture. Lille also has a nice little zoo, or Parc de Zoologique, which visitors can enter free of charge to see various animals including rhino, zebra, red pandas and monkeys. (Most of the institution's animals were born in captivity and came to the zoo through exchanges under international breeding programmes.)

Hospice Comtesse Museum

In the heart of Lille's old town stands one of the few remaining Flanders buildings, founded as a hospital in 1237 by the Countess of Flanders, Jeanne de Constantinople. It remained in service as a…

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Musée des Moulins

Something different that appeals particularly to the mechanically minded is Lille's museum devoted to windmills. Situated on the highway to Roubaix, the Musée des Moulins boasts two preserved…

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Notre-Dame de la Treille Cathedral

A modern architectural attraction, Lille's cathedral (dedicated to the Virgin Mary) is an imposing structure, begun as a basilica in 1854 in 13th-century Gothic style. Building continued slowly, interrupted…

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Palais des Beaux-Arts

A striking and ornate 19th-century building which houses Lille's renowned museum of fine arts, Palais des Beaux-Arts is a masterpiece in itself. The building contains a treasure trove for art lovers,…

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