Need to blow the cobwebs for a weekend, to clear your head without breaking the bank?
First reason: and not the least… Lille is only 30 minutes away from Brussels or 1h30 by car. So why not ? Take your backpack, pack enough to hold out for a weekend and tallyho, here we go!
Second reason: Lille is beautiful. What a cultural heritage! Its Grand Place, the old town, the Palais des Beaux-Arts (Centre of Fine Arts), the Vieille Bourse (Ancient Stock Exchange), the Opera, the Hôtel de Ville (City Hall) and its Befry – bell tower – … to mention only the unmissable. If it rains, I recommend a bus tour starting at the Tourist Office. The price is 11€ per person (keep your ticket to benefit several discounts on entries in other places: at the Centre for Fine Arts for example). So you get a glimpse of the city and its strategic points in less than an hour… and dry! If the weather is nice, it is an opportunity to stroll through the city, turning lanes in the old city and be led to haphazard (more information here).
Third reason: Until January 13th (you have to rush), Lille is looking really dreamlike. Discover urban metamorphosis that gives the city a quaint and marvelous turn. Personally, I was expecting something completely different, something more grandiose. I must admit to a disappointment with the urban metamorphosis.
However, numerous temporary exhibitions take place throughout the city, in the framework of the project Lille 3000 (or Fantastic Lille as they call it). I saw the exhibition “Tales of the Flemish landscape in the XVI century» at the Centre for Fine Arts and I was more than delighted! With about a hundred masterpieces like the ones by Bosch, Brueghel, Met de Bles, Bril or Patinir, the fantastical and marvelousness of these landscapes, which nowadays arouse fascination, dread or questioning, are illustrated. I suggest taking a headphone for the visit, the commentaries are not too long, they’re clear, and they’re perfect for amateurs like me, who want to understand these masterpieces.
Watch out, this exhibition also comes to an end on the 13th of January, so don’t delay. The Centre for Fine Arts is open every day (except on Tuesday) from 10am to 6pm, Monday from 2pm to 6pm and during weekends until 7pm. The entrance fee is 9 €, only 6 € with the discount and the audio guide.
Fourth reason: For those who have a passion for books, there is Le Furet du Nord, a huge bookstore-and-stationery shop on 5 to 6 levels. A real maze with an extensive selection of books. Everything to treat yourself!
Fifth reason: What could be more of a change of scene than to eat GREAT moules frites (mussels with French fries) outside your oldie but goody Belgium ?
Translated from 5 bonnes raisons d’aller à Lille By Emilie Fouquet