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Paris is great, Paris is fun, Paris is wonderful… but have you ever heard of Lille? Lille, more and more, tends to be the new little trendy version of Paris. Similar to its big sister, Lille has a tremendous background history, wonderful cobblestone streets and crazy chic nightlife hotspots but all with its own special touch. With discovering and sharing new hidden gem destinations being an absolute pleasure, Favoroute has gathered all that you may not yet know about Lille but still enough to make you fall in love with …

It’s charming architecture

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From ‘het Parijs van het noorden – Lille’ guidebook

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From ‘het Parijs van het noorden – Lille’ guidebook

With its restless history of conquests, Lille has been under the influence of the Flemish, the Spanish, the Germans, the Austrians and finally the French over the centuries and now has one of the most incredible city characters ever seen! Lille has the best of both worlds, from classy stylish streets to exoticism, gardens from a different era and an animal kingdom park. When in Lille, one can find the same pattern and rhythm that animates vivid Paris, cobblestone streets, red bricks walls, stylish forged iron ornaments… and even more. The ‘Vieux-Lille’ district offers plenty of eye ravishing gems with old 19th century familial shopfronts and traditional festivities displayed as if time had collapsed for an instant. Exploring the old city means also discovering its inner culture. From the Halle aux sucres to the Vielle Bourse, Lille will reveal its ancient trade secrets that once fuelled its prosperity as well as revealing its talents with the music Conservatoire and splendid Basilique Notre Dame de la Treille.

It’s heartwarming local feeling 

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From ‘het Parijs van het noorden – Lille’ guidebook

As a French city after all, Lille remains fiercely attached to French traditions and one cannot leave without having been confronted with this aspect. Being a less touristy city than Paris, local habits are far more recognizable in Lille. Having the urge to authentically share in local life for a moment is such a simple pleasure, that spending a morning sitting at a coffee table whilst watching a local buy a baguette in their favorite boulangerie is already an insider move. Footbridge at the core of Europe, Lille’s friendliness and craziness will surprise you from the moment of your arrival at the EUROPE station! A real center of urban life, the modern and new Lille arises and will allow its visitors to meet and see all the diversity and richness of its culture.

It’s romantic and resourcing getaway potential

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From ‘het Parijs van het noorden – Lille’ guidebook

Lille offers incredibly romantic ballads all over the city. Why not have a playful, lovely break in its famous Zoo in the center of the Vauban Esquermes district? Here, meeting more than 450 animals from 70 different species over 3.5 hectares will be an authentic, totally free, epiphany of nature. Where could you have a more romantic escape than in the Parc Jean Baptiste Lebas? Naturally a favorite of the locals, the park is spread over 3 hectares with stylish gardens and designer landscape pieces that will impress you and create the ultimate memory of Lille’s blossoming green spirit. But yet, the must see remains the Citadelle, an ancient fortification of the city, the citadelle is a unique gem that has lasted over the centuries. A great symbol of the city’s wealth, it will be easy (and highly advised) to get a little lost in its alleys and mythical doorways such as the Porte Dauphine along the Deule river.

It’s trendy events …

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From ‘het Parijs van het noorden – Lille’ guidebook

One of the best times to go to Lille is definitely in winter for its Christmas Market! Hot spicy orange wine, creamy patisseries, warming lights and decorations all over the city will make your journey in Lille look like one of your best childhood memories! A vast display of all Lille’s trade secrets, Lille Christmas Market is the best way to spot the best crafts of the city! A must do!

Summer in Lille also offers great surprises! The Braderie de Lille (antique market/ garage sale) remains the main event of the year for the city. The largest market displayed in France, the “Braderie” is a very ancient tradition in Lille and appeals to a lot of French that make the journey to Lille during the weeks the event runs. Thousands of collection enthusiasts gather, seeking the best deals on rare pieces. No better way to have a taste of the local life than go to this great event, eating traditional food with the many foodtrucks and taking a shot at talking directly to Lille locals!

Want to discover more about Lille hidden gems? Let yourself be guided in Lille by our Travel Designer guidebook !

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