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. Those travelling from London on the Eurostar find that a stop in Lille is rewarding, but anyone who enjoys the ambience of a medieval old town will enjoy a vacation in this city. Those with a taste for Belgian beer will also not be disappointed.

Many of the most popular attractions in Lille can be found in the historical town centre, Vieux Lille, and 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 which 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 like posters, books and comics. Also in the heart of Vieux Lille is the wonderful Hospice Comtesse Museum, which was founded as a hospital in 1237 and today exhibits art and artefacts from the region and from the hospital's long history. Looking through the old building and imagining the lives of the nuns who once lived there tending the sick is the main appeal of this intriguing place.

Lille has some great museums and another unique one to visit is the Musee des Moulins, which is devoted to windmills. The Palais des Beaux-Arts, which features works by masters like 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, with beautifully laid-out exhibitions, lovely grounds and a building which is in itself a work of modern art.

Other attractions in Lille include the magnificent Notre-Dame de la Treille Cathedral which is an unexpected mixture of the Gothic and the contemporary and is especially attractive when its main facade is viewed from inside, when a pink glow of light makes its way through the thin marble. 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.

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…

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Musée des Moulins

Something different that appeals particularly to the mechanically minded is Lille's museum devoted to windmills. Situated…

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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…

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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…

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