Shop till you drop
Built on a former island, today the city of Lille falls under the watchful eye of the emblematic goddess who sits atop a column in Grand Place, the city’s most popular meeting place. Have an early coffee here on a cosmopolitan café terrace to set you up for the day, or to avoid wasting precious shopping time over lunch, you might fancy treating yourselves to brunch. Head to Tous les Jours Dimanche near Notre-Dame de La Treille cathedral where you can relax in comfy leather armchairs as you enjoy savoury tarts and home-made cakes.
Now you’re ready to meet local designers and perhaps be seduced by THE original, local and authentic item that you won’t find anywhere else.
Off you go down the lively cobbled streets and through little squares; the exuberant facades around you are all different – so don’t forget to look up to admire the architecture! If when you’re buying a gift (or better still self-gifting!) you always find it more rewarding to know something of the item’s backstory, make a beeline for Rue de la Clef where you’ll find Colonel Moutarde known for its quirky and multicoloured bow ties. They’re created with thread from the nearby neighbourhood of Marcq-en-Barœul and with machinery that comes from Roubaix, a suburb of Lille. Also on Rue de la Clef, there’s Julie Meuriss, selling exclusive leather goods with pretty patterns and designs.
Rue Bartholomé Masurel is also very fashionable. Here, you’ll find Summer Camp, which sells household fabrics made using linen from Hauts-de-France. Nearby, you’ll see Mademoiselle Chapeau, with its range of wide-brimmed hats, berets, caps and panamas in a wide choice of materials and colours; Chloe, the milliner, is a Parisienne originally from Lille who wanted to honour her hometown by making her wonderful creations available for everyone to enjoy.
If it’s not a successful weekend without a cultural interlude, the unmissable Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille is well worth a visit.