Welcome to Lille! Northern France, a warm land where “people have in their heart the sun they don’t have outside”, as was singing the singer Enrico Macias. Lille’s lifestyle has a lot to offer, especially when in higher education. As the third national university centre, the Lille metropolis brings 108,000 students together!
We tried to compile a maximum of useful information for when you arrive to the Flanders’ capital. But note that it’s not a complete list. Don’t hesitate to listen to your friends’ advice.
LILLE IN A FEW WORDS
Lille is not Paris. You can quite easily see everything there is to see in a few months, even in a few weeks.
The first weekend of September, don’t miss out on the Braderie, the biggest flee-market in all of Europe. Piles of mussels and antiques (or old stuff, it’s up to you!) sold right on the ground are something to see, if not to live.
If there’s a street to avoid (or to see to realize it) during the Braderie, it’s the rue de Béthune! Crowded with people during this first weekend of September, the rue de Béthune is also the main street in Lille the rest of the year. Shops, movie theatres… You can find anything around there!
Via the rue de Béthune, you can stop on the Grand Place, also called Place Charles-de-Gaulle. You can look at the Vieille Bourse, the old financial center of Lille, but also at many other nice buildings such as the Opera (picture above)… It is also an entry point to the Vieux-Lille.
For those of you who like shopping, the Vieux Lille is the luxury shops district. For those who just like historical stuff, it is the area where you’ll find some of the oldest buildings in Lille.
Nights out when you’re a student are sacred. Especially on Thursday nights. And in Lille, most of the students’ parties take place in the Solférino-Masséna neighborhood, that gathers a lot of bars and nightclubs.
For those who like popular atmospheres where people laugh loudly while tapping on their shoulders, come down to the Wazemmes neighborhood. You absolutely should not miss one of the biggest market in Europe on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday mornings on the place de la Nouvelle Aventure.
Do not miss the Vauban citadel, located in the park of the same name. For an old sixteenth century building, it is rather well preserved!
For more information, consult the Lille tourist office website in French or in English
Beer is nice to quench your thirst but it doesn’t feed you (although some will always argue the contrary). So to stuff your face properly, there’s nothing better than a good old dish from the “ch’Nord”: welsh, Flemish carbonnade, mussels… with fries on the side of course!
As for deserts, there’s the sugar pie or the speculoos crème brûlée.
The Lille area is served by different means of transportation that will allow you to get around during your stay. The Lille Erasmus Student Network (ESN) offers a great guide, so we decided to share it with you.
(The website also has an English version: http://uk.transpole.fr/)
You can buy single trip tickets or get a monthly or even an annual one if you frequently use public transport, it will cost you less.
If you’d like to get more information or if you’d like to get annual tickets, you can go to the Lille Flandres station’s agency at the metro level (underground).
Another Transpole agency will welcome you in the basement of République-Beaux-Arts metro station.
* On Thursday and Friday nights: 1 bus every 30 minutes from 00:30 until 5am.
* On Saturday nights: 1 bus every 20 minutes from 00:30 until 6am
You can check the link below to get the stops and more information: http://www.transpole.fr/fr/bus/lignenuit.aspx
It is without a doubt the most useful and cost-effective public transportation in Lille. You can use your PassPass card (Transpole’s public transport card) to rent a V’Lille.
For more information: http://www.vlille.fr/
One of Lille’s main asset! The city abounds in all sorts of cultural events and you have time to get bored!!
But also lots of concert halls!!! Big ones: the Zénith, the Aéronef, the Splendid, the Grand Mix, and smaller ones: the Biplan, the Cave aux Poètes, El Diablo, the Péniche…
It is a spot that cannot be overlooked as it recently hosted the Davis Cup (sorry for mentioning it), the EuroBasket (could it be jinxed?) and will be the stage of the 2017 World Men’s Handball Championship!
Traduction: Clémence Brasme