15 Best Things To Do In Lille

Lille is the capital of the Hauts-de-France region in Northern France, and is a charming destination for travelers with lots of places to see. With its medieval center, vibrant cultural scene and easy access to nearby Belgium and the Netherlands, the Lille Métropole provides visitors with plenty of opportunities for exploration and adventure. From historic monuments to cutting-edge museums, here are the best things to do in Lille that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

1. Palais des Beaux-Arts

Palais des Beaux Arts de Lille Pin

The Palais des Beaux Arts de Lille is a museum located in northern France that specializes in fine arts. It is the largest museum of its kind outside of Paris and is considered one of the most important ones in Europe. The building itself dates back to 1809, when it was first opened as a private art gallery by Napoleon I. Today, it houses a permanent collection spanning from antiquity to modern times, with significant works from French masters such as Monet, Poussin, Matisse and Rodin.

In addition to the main galleries displaying artwork from various periods, the palace of fine arts museum of Lille also features temporary exhibitions from time to time. These exhibitions often focus on particular artists or movements or themes related to fine art history.

Contact:

Address: Pl. de la République, 59000 Lille, France

Phone: +33 7 87 09 92 25

Accommodation: Best Hotels In Lille

2. Old Lille

Old Lille Pin

The city of Lille is home to a unique and vibrant district known as Old Lille. It is the perfect place for history buffs and culture lovers alike who are looking for an unforgettable experience. This historic area has been standing since the 13th century, making it one of the oldest in all of Europe.

One particular highlight in Vieux-Lille is the Citadelle de Lille - a fortress built by Vauban during Louis XIV's reign that now serves as an open air museum.

Old Lille was first founded as a trading post in the 12th century, but its true heyday arrived during the industrial revolution of the 19th century. During this time, this Old district enjoyed great success as an important port for trade and commerce. As business flourished, so too did the culture - fine restaurants surged onto the scene to feed wealthy merchants and travelers alike; beautiful architecture blossomed throughout; art galleries opened up to showcase local talent.

The Old town still retains much of its beautiful historical architecture today - tourists can view carefully restored buildings like Place du Theatre or admire the Notre Dame de la Treille Cathedral's gothic style spires from years gone by.

Recommended reading: Best Places To Visit In France

3. La Vieille Bourse

La Vieille Bourse Pin

La Vieille Bourse is an iconic building located in the center of Lille. It was constructed in 1854 and has become one of the most recognizable features of the city’s skyline. The bourse (exchange) was originally built to house a stock exchange, which it did for over a century before it went out of business in 1974. Since then, La Vieille Bourse has been used as an indoor market and public gathering place.

The Old Stock Exchange building itself is designed in the Flemish Renaissance style with beautiful detail work that has been carefully preserved since its construction. Inside the building are four courtyards surrounded by 24 guild houses with intricate facades that have remained unchanged over time. During the day, visitors can explore these unique buildings while also enjoying a variety of small shops and cafes within them.

Contact:

Address: Pl. du Général de Gaulle, 59000 Lille, France

Phone: +33 3 59 57 94 00

4. Grand Place

Grand Place Pin

As one of the must-see attractions in the city, the Grand Place is a historic square located in the heart of the city. It has been one of the city’s main squares since medieval times, and is a major landmark today. Grand Place consists of two parts, the upper square and lower square, both surrounded by beautiful old architecture.

The upper square was once used for public executions and other spectacles, while the lower square served as a marketplace where traders sold their goods. These days, Grand Place continues to be an important focal point in Lille with many activities taking place throughout the year such as concerts and festivals.

The architectural beauty of the Grand Place is breathtaking; it features white stone buildings with flowing red brick roofs typical to Flemish Renaissance style.

5. Parc Zoologique

Parc Zoologique lille Pin

The Parc Zoologique is a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. It's based in the iconic Brunfaut park, so you can enjoy the surroundings as well as the animals. This zoo specializes in North African species, such as camels and Barbary sheep, so it's especially interesting for those who are fans of this part of the world. You can observe these incredible creatures up close and even take part in organized activities like camel rides or animal encounters with some of their smaller mammals.

The Lille zoo also has a number of other attractions that make it well worth a visit. There are petting areas where visitors can interact with friendly farm animals and there is also a playground area with plenty of activities for kids (and adults!) too while you visit Lille.

Contact:

Address: Av. Mathias Delobel, 59000 Lille, France

Phone: +33 3 28 52 07 00

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Quickly search the best flights from the widest selection of airlines flying to Lille. Regardless of what airline you go with, you can save money by comparing. Skyscanner is the best airline price comparison service specifically for Lille.

6. LaM

LaM museum Lille Pin

The LaM,  formerly known as Villeneuve d'Ascq Museum of Modern Art, is a stunning modern museum of modern art that houses an impressive collection of more than 4,000 works of contemporary and modern art. From paintings to sculptures, installations and photographs, there is much to explore at this impressive cultural landmark.

The permanent collection is composed of masterpieces from celebrated artists such as Marcel Duchamp, Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso. Visitors can also enjoy special exhibitions throughout the year that explore various artistic movements from around the world. Beyond the artwork itself, guests are privy to a range of educational activities including lectures and workshops led by renowned art professionals.

Conveniently located in downtown Lille near other Lille attractions such as restaurants and shops, LaM offers an enriching cultural experience for all ages.

Contact:

Address: 1 All. du Musée, 59650 Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France

Phone: +33 3 20 19 68 68

Booking.com

7. Lille Citadelle

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The Lille Citadelle is a must see historic site that was first built in 1667 under the orders of King Louis XIV and was designed to protect the city from foreign invasion. Originally it occupied an area of around 2 hectares, but today it has expanded to 6 hectares. Visitors can explore the fortress walls which are still standing strong after over 350 years of existence, as well as the various moats that surround it.

The Citadelle offers a variety of activities for guests which include guided tours, educational programs and interactive exhibits. Inside these walls one can find various museums of Lille such as the Musée de La Poudrière or Museum of Gunpowder and La Musée des Beaux-Arts or Museum of Fine Arts. Additionally there are several gardens where you can relax and enjoy nature amidst its ancient surroundings.

Contact:

Address: Avenue du 43e régiment d'infanterie, 59800 Lille, France

8. Stade Pierre-Mauroy

Stade Pierre-Mauroy Pin

Stade Pierre-Mauroy is a modern soccer stadium that has become the home of Lille OSC football club. Built in 2012 at a cost of €274 million it has quickly become one of France’s most iconic stadiums. It was designed by the French architecture firm Wilmotte & Associés with an impressive capacity of 50,186 seats making it the largest stadium in Northern France.

The exterior design stands out with its metal matte gray cladding and curved walls while inside you can find luxury facilities such as restaurants, VIP lounges and hospitality boxes which provide an unrivalled fan experience. The playing surface consists of a hybrid grass pitch which is made up from natural grass turf combined with synthetic fibres to ensure year-round quality despite seasonal changes.

Contact:

Address: 261 Bd de Tournai, 59650 Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France

Phone: +33 3 20 59 40 00

9. Maison Natale Charles de Gaulle

Maison Natale Charles de Gaulle Pin

Charles de Gaulle was born in Lille on November 22, 1890. His birth place is known today as Maison Natale Charles de Gaulle, or the birthplace of Charles de Gaulle. The house is a two-story building located in the heart of the Lille old town. It consists of several rooms that were used by his family during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The interior design of this historic home reflects traditional French style with furniture and decorations from that period.

Today, Maison Natale Charles de Gaulle is an important tourist attraction for those who want to learn more about this great leader's life story.

Contact:

Address: 9 Rue Princesse, 59000 Lille, France

Phone: +33 3 59 73 00 30

10. Town Hall and Belfry

Belfry in Lille Pin

One of the most important tourist attractions in Lille is the Town Hall and Belfry. This Unesco World Heritage site can be found in the center of Vieux Lille, making it a must-see for anyone visiting this charming city. The Town Hall and Belfry are an especially unique part of Lille as they represent an important point in history. It was constructed during the 15th century to symbolize the growing power of Lillians by displaying their wealth through architecture.

The building itself has two distinct parts; one is dedicated to house City Hall offices while the other contains a massive bell tower with unique bell chimes that can be heard all around town each day at noon. The Lille belfry has become quite iconic for its intricate design, including four levels with pointed spires encircling a copper dome that stands proudly on top.

Contact:

Address: Pl. Simon Vollant, 59000 Lille, France

Phone: +33 3 59 57 94 00

Best Flights To Lille

Quickly search the best flights from the widest selection of airlines flying to Lille. Regardless of what airline you go with, you can save money by comparing. Skyscanner is the best airline price comparison service specifically for Lille.

11. Maison Folie Wazemmes

Maison Folie Wazemmes Pin

Maison Folie Wazemmes is a cultural center in Lille, France that seeks to bring together the local and global community to explore art, culture, and history. Located in an old industrial building, it offers a space for concerts, workshops, conferences, and exhibitions. The mission of this place is to promote diversity and inclusion through its programming.

The center itself features two stages for live performances; one used for music events such as concerts or DJ sets and one used for theatre productions. It also includes several galleries dedicated to exhibiting work from both local and international artists.

The exhibitions are often on themes related to contemporary issues such as identity formation or relationships between man and nature. Additionally, the Maison Folie center hosts workshops designed to help participants develop new skills related to art creation or performance techniques.

Contact:

Address: 70 Rue des Sarrazins, 59000 Lille, France

Phone: +33 3 20 78 20 23

12. Villa Cavrois

Villa Cavrois Pin

Villa Cavrois is a stunning example of modernist architecture that stands as an awe-inspiring monument to French culture in the town of Croix, just outside of Lille. Built in 1930 by architect Robert Mallet-Stevens, the villa is a remarkable example of Art Deco design, with its stark geometric patterns and angular lines.

Its beautiful white walls contrast sharply against its lush green gardens and luscious blue pool. Inside, you are treated to an immersive experience of glass furniture, curved staircases and round columns reflecting light from the large windows throughout the building.

The stately Villa Cavrois has been lovingly preserved for generations thanks to its designation as a National Monument since 1983.

Contact:

Address: 60 Av. du Président John Fitzgerald Kennedy, 59170 Croix, France

Phone: +33 3 20 73 47 12

Booking.com

13. La Piscine Museum

La Piscine Museum Pin

If you want to take a day trip during your visit to Lille, La Piscine Museum in Roubaix, North of France, is a stunning modern art museum with an impressive collection of both antique and contemporary art. Located in a former municipal swimming pool built in 1932, the museum features sculptures, photographs, paintings and more from artists like Monet and Rodin.

The grounds of this Lille museum are decorated with beautiful gardens filled with vibrant flowers and foliage that complement the architecture. The unique building structure also brings an interesting contrast to the art collection inside.

The permanent displays at the Piscine Museum provide visitors with insight into the history of fine arts in France. With its diverse collection of works from numerous eras and styles, it serves as an ideal learning experience for history buffs and culture enthusiasts.

Contact:

Address: 23 Rue de l'Espérance, 59100 Roubaix, France

Phone: +33 3 20 69 23 60

14. Palais Rihour

Palais Rihour Pin

Palais Rihour is one of the most iconic buildings and best places to visit in Lille. Situated in the city center, this remarkable palace draws visitors from all over the world. It was built between 1402 and 1424 on behalf of Duke Philip I, who intended to create a grand estate for himself and his family. The building has gone through several periods of renovation throughout its history and today it stands as one of the main landmarks in Lille.

The architecture of Palais Rihour is truly impressive. Its imposing walls are adorned with sculptures depicting war scenes and crowned with an intricate red brick façade which boasts beautiful stonework detailing throughout the building's four wings. Inside there are large ceremonial chambers, along with many beautifully decorated galleries featuring Flemish tapestries from Flanders and other ancient artifacts that highlight its rich cultural heritage.

Contact:

Address: 42 Pl. Rihour, 59800 Lille, France

15. Marché de Wazemmes

Marché de Wazemmes Pin

Marché de Wazemmes is a weekly market in Lille that has been running since the 19th century. This vibrant Lille flea market is held every Sunday and Tuesday on Place de Wazemmes, located in the multicultural area of Moulins. It's one of the most popular markets in Lille and offers a wide variety of products from local farmers, merchants, food vendors and artisans.

Here you can find fresh produce such as fruits and vegetables, cheese, seafood and pastries. There are also stands selling clothing items like sweaters and scarves as well as jewelry and accessories. In addition to all these goods for sale are friendly locals offering cultural experiences like music performances or storytelling sessions to add to the atmosphere of this lively event.

Contact:

Address: Pl. Nouvelle Aventure, 59000 Lille, France

Phone: +33 3 20 49 55 92

Best Flights To Lille

Quickly search the best flights from the widest selection of airlines flying to Lille. Regardless of what airline you go with, you can save money by comparing. Skyscanner is the best airline price comparison service specifically for Lille.

FAQ

Q: What is Lille France best known for?

A: Lille is best known for its rich history, exquisite architecture, and lively cultural scene. With its strategic location near the border of Belgium, Lille has been influenced by both French and Flemish cultures throughout the centuries. This unique blend is evident in the city's stunning architectural gems such as the impressive Palais des Beaux-Arts and the picturesque Old Stock Exchange.

Furthermore, Lille is also  renowned for its annual Braderie de Lille, one of Europe's largest flea markets. This two-day event attracts millions of visitors from around the world who come to explore over 10,000 stalls filled with antiques, vintage items, and various treasures.

Q: Is it worth visiting Lille France?

A: Lille offers visitors an experience that is truly worth exploring One of the main attractions in Lille is its picturesque Old Town, known as Vieux Lille. Here, visitors can wander through narrow cobblestone streets lined with charming Flemish-style buildings dating back to the 17th century. For art enthusiasts, Lille presents an array of exceptional museums that showcase masterpieces from various periods.

Q: What food is Lille famous for?

A: One of the most famous foods that Lille is renowned for is its traditional dish called "moules-frites." This beloved dish consists of fresh mussels steamed in white wine or beer and served with a side of crispy golden fries.

Another food that Lille takes great pride in is its warm and comforting carbonnade flamande. This hearty beef stew features tender chunks of beef slowly cooked in beer, along with onions and spices, resulting in a melt-in-your-mouth texture and tantalizing aroma. Served with crusty bread or frites, this classic Flemish dish is a true comfort food staple in Lille.

Q: Is Lille a cheap city?

A: From reasonably priced accommodations to inexpensive dining options and free attractions, Lille proves itself as a hidden gem for travelers on a budget. When it comes to finding accommodation in Lille, there are several wallet-friendly options available. Budget hotels and hostels offer comfortable rooms at affordable rates. Additionally, there are numerous Airbnb listings throughout the city that provide cost-effective lodging alternatives. Food enthusiasts will also be delighted by the array of budget-friendly dining choices in Lille.

Q: Are people in Lille friendly?

A: Visitors to Lille will find that the locals are incredibly warm and welcoming. Firstly, it's important to note that Lillois people take great pride in their city and are eager to share its treasures with visitors. Whether you're lost in the winding streets of Vieux Lille or seeking recommendations for the best local brasserie, you can expect kind-hearted assistance from the locals. Don't hesitate to strike up a conversation with a local at a café or market – they will likely be more than happy to engage in friendly banter or offer guidance on navigating this enchanting city.

Q: Is Lille France good for shopping?

A: Lille is an absolute haven for shopaholics. With its charming blend of traditional and modern retail options, this city offers a unique shopping experience that caters to all tastes and budgets. One of the main highlights of shopping in Lille is the renowned Euralille Shopping Center. This sprawling mall boasts over 120 stores featuring both international brands and local designers. From clothing and accessories to electronics and home decor. Additionally, the city center is dotted with numerous independent boutiques where you can discover one-of-a-kind pieces curated by passionate local shop owners.

PLAN YOUR TRIP TO LILLE

Book Your Hotel In Lille

You can book your hotel in Lille with Booking.com as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hotel, they also return the cheapest rates for accommodations like guesthouses and apartments.

Book Your Flight To Lille

Use Skyscanner to find cheap flights to Lille. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines around the globe so you always know you get the best rates.

Need a Rental Car In Lille?

Here is a budget-friendly car rental resource. No matter where you’re traveling, you’ll be able to find the best — and cheapest car rentals in Lille here.

Looking for an Airport Transfer Service In Lille?

If you are looking for a convenient and affordable option to get to and from the airport in Lille, here you will find all the answers to book your next airport transfer in Lille.

Don’t Forget Your Travel Insurance

Travel insurance will protect you against illnesses, an injury, luggage theft, and even trip cancellations. It’s a comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong during your trip. I never travel to Lille without it as I’ve had to use it several times in the past. My favorite travel insurance companies that offer the best service and value are:

Looking for the Best Travel Companies to Save Money With?

Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m taking a trip. They will save you money when you travel too.

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