New in lille ?

Sneetch - photo Lille Opéra et beffroi chambre du commerce

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

At the heart of European capitals
Living in Lille is extremely convenient when you want to visit major European cities, especially by train. We tend to forget it but Paris is only an hour away by TGV, Brussels and Amsterdam are respectively 35 minutes and three hours by Thalys and London only 1h20 with the Eurostar!
Must sees

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 and traditional recipes
You CAN NOT come to Lille without tasting the local beer! Whether from the North or Belgium, it will still be better than any other you can try elsewhere.

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.

TRANSPORTATION

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.

Metro, Tram et Bus
Transpole is the company that deals with all the means of transportation in Lille. To get information on the schedules, the fares, or pick an itinerary to get to your destination, you can visit their very complete website that will give you all the necessary information.

(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.

Night bus
You live in Villeneuve d’Ascq and you want to go out in Lille but the metro stops at midnight? Night buses are there to allow you to come home safe. They run:

* 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

V’Lille
With more than 2000 bikes and 437 stations, this public bicycle system is available in all of the metropole and its surroundings, whether in Lille, Villeneuve d’Ascq, Roubaix, Tourcoing etc. It has a very affordable fare of 1,4€ for 24h, 7€ for a week or even 36€ for the year!

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/

CULTURE

One of Lille’s main asset! The city abounds in all sorts of cultural events and you have time to get bored!!

Museums and concert halls
The metropole has for example a lot of museums such as:

[…]

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…

Maisons Folie and Gare Saint Sauveur
Ever since Lille has been the European Capital of Culture in 2004, the city has also kept many of the facilities created for the occasion and that are now part of the landscape like the maisons Folies (Wazemmes, Moulins and Beaulieu) or the gare Saint-Sauveur where concerts and exhibitions come one after the other without ever looking the same.
Renaissance (Lille 3000)
Every three years, the city (through its cultural program Lille 3000) organizes a big event around a specific theme. After “Bombaysers de Lille” in 2006 that celebrated India, “Europe XXL” in 2009, “Fantastic” in 2012, the fourth edition has begun on September 26th and is focused on Renaissance. This year’s theme is centered on the notion of urban renewal and follow the observation that “this start of the 21st is a turbulent time from which a new world is emerging just like during the Renaissance in the 15th century, marked by an intellectual and artistic renewal.” A lot of exhibitions, concerts and events are planned and facilities are spread out throughout the city. Until January 17th 2016.

SPORTS

Football and Grand Stade
If Lille isn’t known for being a sport’s stronghold, the city can still boast about its football team, the LOSC (Lille Olympique Sporting Club) that won both the Cup and the Championship in 2011. Some scandalmonger will say that it’s starting to date a little bit. In any case, the team has been playing for two years in an ultra-modern facility, the Pierre-Mauroy stadium that will also hosts 8 of the 2016 Euros’ games next year!

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!

Basketball
As for basketball, the Villeneuve d’Ascq feminine team, the ESBVA is among the bests in the country. As proof, last year, they won the Eurocup and made it to the French Championship’s final. Not too bad, right? You can see them play at the Palacium in Villeneuve d’Ascq

Traduction: Clémence Brasme