Northern France _ Lille _ Place des patiniers © CRTC Hauts-de-France MakeArtMediaNorthern France _ Lille _ Place des patiniers © CRTC Hauts-de-France MakeArtMedia
©Northern France, Lille, Place des patiniers |CRTC Hauts de France- Makeartmedia

Lille: 5 different ways to experience it

Lille is good for you, with a cosy, low-key atmosphere, secret venues that will awaken your senses, slake your thirst for new discoveries and create precious moments to share as a couple, and charming, cocooning hotels and restaurants perfect for rejuvenation but also for ambling out into Vieux-Lille with its maze of tiny alleyways. This northern French city is the perfect couple’s escape.

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Instagram #lille

Gorgeous views from Le Carlton

This four-star hotel in the heart of the city is a unique venue for a romantic getaway, with its Privilège room offering exceptional views over the opera house and the theatre, and its location just a minute’s walk from the Grand’Place and the city’s finest boutiques and restaurants. Everything here conspires to creating the ultimate couple’s weekend, from relaxing in the sauna and strolling along Vieux-Lille’s cobbled alleyways to culinary adventures in the hands of Michelin-starred chefs… Pull out all the stops for your partner!


01. Immerse yourself in Flanders

Start with panoramic views over the rooftops from the heights of the UNESCO-listed town-hall belfry. After booking in advance to take the 100 steps and the lift up to 104m, you’ll be rewarded by an unparalleled 360° vista of Lille and its environs – immense views that inspire contemplation and a feeling of connection with local history and nature.

Come back to earth and discover the Flanders of days gone by in Lille’s Palais des Beaux-Arts on Place de la République, where 15 plan-reliefs of fortified towns and cities in northern Europe have just been restored. With the help of a special helmet taking you into a 3D virtual world, explore 18th-century Lille and immerse yourselves in the Flemish landscapes filmed by famous director Bruno Dumont. After taking in Goya’s Old Women and The Young Ones, pause in front of Rubens’ magisterial Descent from the Cross. Then immerse yourselves in the details of the works in the Gigapixels Atrium and grant yourselves a moment of relaxation on the cosy sofa.

If you prefer flea-market chic and lounging in crackled-leather armchairs, head for “C’est Tous les Jours Dimanche”, a very popular spot, especially at Sunday brunch, with all-homemade fare.


02. Lose yourself amidst the cobbled lanes of Vieux-Lille

Get lost in Vieux-Lille’s labyrinth of cobbled alleyways as you discover its townhouses with their sandstone, brick and stone facades, along with the odd baroque sculpture. The lively colours of Hospice Comtesse (32 Rue de la Monnaie) with its air of a Flemish béguinage (Beguine architectural complex) will catch your eye.

For a spiritual interlude, push open the heavy wrought-iron and marble door of the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de la Treille, opposite Rue du Cirque, and let yourself be bathed by an orange light the intensity of which depends on what time of day you visit.


03. Unique culinary experiences

Awaken your tastebuds with an unusual tasting experience by one of Lille’s array of talented, boundary-pushing chefs. Fresh produce, low food miles, and good, healthy, handpicked ingredients go without saying for these young chefs. Just make sure to book dinner at least two months in advance, as these restaurants are much in demand…

For typically Flemish yet inventive dining, try Le Bloempot by chef Florent Ladeyn (22 Rue des Bouchers). At Chez Mon Cousin (282 Avenue de Dunkerque), chef Nicolas Pourcheresse has travelled the world in search of the most surprising flavours. And at Le Rouge Barre (50 Rue de la Halle), innovative Steven Ramon beckons you in for a delicious tasting menu amidst a classic Lille décor of bricks and whitewashed stone.

Also in the heart of Vieux-Lille, Michelin-starred La Table (32 Rue de la Barre) is in an 18th-century mansion, and depending on the season you can dine in the library with its remarkable woodwork or in the French-style garden. The cuisine is courtesy of Thibaut Gamba, who trained in some of Paris’ finest restaurants.


04. Shop in artisan boutiques

The cathedral is two steps from Rue Bartholomé Masurel and Rue du Cirque, the perfect spots to uncover THE gift that will forever remind you of your getaway. How about a one-off bowtie from Colonel Moutarde (31 Rue de la Clef), handmade in France, northern French household linen from Summer Camp (10 Rue Bartholomé Masurel) or gourmet produce from the revered L’Épicerie Madame (33 Rue Lepelletier). And don’t miss the famous waffles with Madagascan vanilla sugar at Meert (25-27 Rue Esquermoise), a legendary and elegant pâtisserie and tea room.


05. Continue the fun with a pre- or post-dinner drink in Lille.

New discoveries and surprises await
They include the obligatory local beer: tiny La Capsule (25 Rue des Trois Molettes) in a vaulted brick cellar with exposed wooden beams typical of Vieux-Lille offers 28 craft brews. Then there’s Coke (30 Rue Thiers), a cosy brasserie named in honour of a miners’ club that was once based in this splendid building, with northern French specialities. Cocktails have well and truly arrived in Lille with the appearance of the Michelin-starred Le Joker (29 Place Louise de Bettignies); entrust yourself to its mixologist for help in choosing among 10 cocktails of the day. You can also sign up for a cocktail-making class including a demonstration of the fact that you can create a cocktail in less than two minutes.
And let’s not forget wine. Le Jaja Bar (Rue Saint-André) has it all: more than 200 labels, tasty sharing planchas and genial service