Lille, France A Day Wandering Lille City walk by Tara Anbudaiyan

Discover the highlights of Lille with a Compass & Key day trip from Paris.

source: Triposo

 
Take the high-speed TGV train from Paris to the main train station in Lille, Gare Lille Flandres.

Gare Lille Flandres

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source: Triposo

 
Exit the Lille Flandres train station and walk 15-20 minutes to reach the Porte de Paris, once the south gateway to the city. A beautiful arch, built to commemorate Louis XIV's conquest of Lille, was completed in 1692. Make sure to observe both sides of the arch.

A la Porte de Paris

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source: Triposo

 
Just beyond the Porte de Paris, you'll see the Belfry of the City Hall of Lille, inaugurated in 1932 and the highest civil belfry in Europe. It was constructed after the destruction of the former Town Hall during the First World War.

Beffroi de Lille

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source: Triposo

 
Walk ten minutes from the Belfry to reach the Maison Coilliot, an Art Nouveau house located on 14, rue de Fleurus in Lille, France. This was once the home and workshop of French ceramicist Louis Coilliot. He wanted to showcase his 'enamelled lava' technique with this design at the front of the house, completed near the turn of the century. It became a listed building on 16 March 1977. You can view a video of the interiors on the INA (L'INSTITUT NATIONAL DE L'AUDIOVISUEL) website at http://bit.ly/2swQ5Iq.

Maison Coilliot

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Walk past the monument to Louis Pasteur and down Rue Nicolas Leblanc to reach the Place de la République. A highlight of any visit to Lille, the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille is a museum covering European art from the 15th - 20th century. Do not miss the immense room of 18th-century 3D relief maps used by French Kings for use in wartime efforts. You'll be able to see highlights of the museum in about one hour.

Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille

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From the museum, walk another 15 minutes to reach the city center. By now you've worked up an appetite, so escape to the delightful inner courtyard of this traditional Flemish restaurant in the heart of Lille.

La Petite Cour

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source: Triposo

 
Wander the streets of Lille's city center, with its many shops and cafés. Make sure to stop at the Opéra de Lille, a neo-classical opera house, built from 1907 to 1913 and officially inaugurated in 1923. In July 1914, while not quite completed, the Germans occupied the city during World War I and commandeered much of the furniture and equipment of the Opéra to furnish the other opera in Lille, the Theatre Sebastopol. After four years of occupation, the building was restored and opened its doors again in 1923 for a rededication as the Grand Theatre and a "première française".

Opéra de Lille

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source: Triposo

 
Walk a few minutes to reach the Church of Saint-Étienne, one of the largest Jesuit churches in France. The pulpit was created by sculptor François Rude, famous for the war heroes sculpture on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Church of Saint-Étienne

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source: Triposo

 
Spend the rest of your afternoon in the grand citadel of Lille and its surrounding parkland, located about a 20-minute walk from the city center. It is a self-contained town surrounded by five bastions and five demi-lune (half moon) fortifications in a star formation – a design which later inspired the US Pentagon. Commissioned by Louis IXV to fortify the town he just conquered, the citadel was completed in 1670 and remains the largest and the best-preserved in France. Construction of this amazing fortification proved to be quite a feat involving 3 million concrete blocks, 60 million newly baked bricks and the efforts of 2000 men.

Citadel of Lille

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source: Triposo

 
If you're staying for dinner, make your way to La Petite Table, close to the Hospice Comtesse and on the way back towards the train station. This family-run restaurant rotates its menu based on seasonal ingredients. Open 12-2pm and 7:30-10pm.

La Petite Table

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