Our Hotels in Lille
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Points of interest
Ever a city of contrasts, Lille also manages to combine grand historic architecture around the landmark Place du Général de Gaulle with futuristic new buildings like Rem Koolhaas's Lille Europe rail hub and the adjoining, bizarrely shaped Tour de Lille, while regeneration of once-forgotten areas around Lille's Wazemmes Market is happening at the speed of light.
Thanks to all its diverse roles, Lille makes a delightful weekend destination for families and friends, as well as a handy business hub, owing to its proximity to Eurostar's European rail network. And whether you visit Lille on a leisure break, for work meetings or a night out at Lille Opera, we have well-priced Lille hotels to suit every occasion.
Things to do in Vieux-Lille
All walking tours of Lille should start on the majestic Place du Général de Gaulle (more commonly known as the Grand'Place) in lively Vieux-Lille (Old Lille), where intricate neoclassical façades mingle with an assortment of gabled edifices showing Flemish influences – while all looks authentic, in fact much of this grandiose architecture was restored after WWI. To local residents, the Grand'Place is a focal point of Lille life. It's where they come to chat on café terraces spreading across the square, overlooked by several landmarks including the 17th-century Lille Old Bourse and an ornate edifice that has now metamorphosed into the Théâtre du Nord, with its repertoire of modern drama and dance.
Steps away through cobbled streets packed with designer shops is Notre-Dame de la Treille cathedral, noted for its serene, neo-Gothic interior. Work on the cathedral began in the 1850s, but it was only finally completed some 140 years later with the addition of a white-marble façade topped by a glittering rose window to its otherwise unassuming exterior. It's surrounded by red-brick, gabled houses built in typically Flemish style.
Another mighty Vieux-Lille icon is the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, erected in the late 19th century and today containing an improbably large collection of European art that could keep you coming back for several days. You'll also find the Charles de Gaulle Birthplace Museum in Vieux-Lille, where the life and times of the much-feted former president are showcased through displays of family mementos and furniture, plus a multimedia centre highlighting his political career.
When you've explored all the secret corners of the Vieux-Lille at ground level, we suggest you climb to the top of the UNESCO-listed Beffroi de Lille for magical panoramas over this historic city centre.
If it's time for some fresh air after all that high culture, take a moment out in the 17th-century, star-shaped Citadelle de Lille and its surrounding parkland. Just on the western edge of Vieux-Lille, this family-friendly spot started life as an army barracks and is now home to turtles, parrots and meerkats in the Zoo Lille and kids' amusement rides at Cita-Parc.
Other Activities in Lille
Just a 10-minute stroll from Vieux-Lille, Euralille offers up another world. This thrumming contemporary business district, Eurostar rail hub and busy shopping centre combined is chock-full of defiantly contemporary buildings designed by star architects including Jean Nouvel and Rem Koolhaas. The area is watched over by Yayoi Kusama's gigantic and colourful "Shangri-La Tulips" sculpture, and exciting venues that showcase the area's renaissance include Le Tri Postal, where avant-garde art exhibitions are held in a former post office building.
You can find more thought-provoking exhibitions in suburbia too, and we recommend a visit to Lille's largely residential Villeneuve-d'Ascq to tour the futuristic LaM: set in one of Europe's largest outdoor sculpture parks, the gallery's undulating white walls hide a sensational collection of modern works by artists including Modigliani, Picasso and Klee. Another must-see sight out of the centre is La Piscine Museum in Roubaix – an art deco swimming pool transformed into a beautifully laid out sculpture gallery.
Closer to the magnificent Vieux-Lille than Villeneuve-d'Ascq, and very different in character to both, cosmopolitan and formerly industrial Wazemmes centres on its namesake red-brick market hall, where stalls are laden with flowers, Lille's speciality potjevleesch (a hearty meat terrine) and square blocks of pungent Maroilles cheese. The bustling Sunday flea market on the square outside is another big draw in this ever-transforming district, where narrow streets reveal Asian fast-food spots and Arab cafés serving up couscous and mint tea.
Wine and Dine in Lille
The Franco-Flemish influence in Lille is reflected in its cuisine; sitting side by side with French brasseries are typically Flemish taverns known as estaminets. They serve Flemish specialities like mussels and arbonnade flamande stew – both cooked in beer – waterzoiï (fish or chicken stew) and crisp waffles for a street snack. As well as unearthing cosy eateries in Vieux-Lille, try restaurants on rue des Bouchers, Lille's latest foodie hotspot.
But Lille's best restaurants are not all about traditional French or Flemish cooking. Wazemmes is known for Oriental and Middle Eastern delicacies, and thanks to the city's multicultural population, you can find all sorts of world cuisines tucked among vegetarian cafes and "zinc" bars serving up pastis.
Lille, like most of northern France, is known for its beer – another Flemish influence – rather than wine, so across the city you can sample Trappist, Tripel and Lambic brews from just over the border in Belgium.
Best Hotels in Lille, France
When you're deciding on the best places to stay in Lille, bear in mind that we have some of the best-priced hotels, with a good range of 3-star Lille hotels where bed and breakfast deals are available, as well as family-friendly hotels in Lille with interconnecting rooms and games areas for the kids.
Heading to Lille for a sightseeing weekend? Some of our best Lille hotels are conveniently located on or around the Grand'Place in Lille old town. If you're taking the car, some of our hotels in Lille centre come with parking facilities, and as Lille is such a major business hub, we have 4-star hotels with coworking space near Lille Eurostar station. Other accommodation options in Lille include the stylish, informal Mama Shelter Lille, with its leafy terrace, trendy tapas bar and individually decorated guest rooms.
How to get to Lille
Lille Airport is 20 minutes south of the city, with shuttle buses running into the centre. However, the easiest – and quickest – way to get to Lille from the UK, Paris or Lyon is by direct, high-speed Eurostar rail services into Lille Europe. All regional and local trains use the neighbouring Lille-Flandres railway station. If you need to stay overnight near the stations, we have hotels at Lille Gare.
The historic city centre lends itself to walking tours of Lille, but the rest of the city is served by a handy public transport system run by ilévia, comprising trams, métro lines and bus routes.
When to Visit Lille
With a northern European climate that can be wet, windy and cold in winter, Lille nevertheless enjoys warm weather from late spring into early autumn – visit in summer to enjoy the outdoor café lifestyle in Vieux-Lille.
The city also draws in visitors with its schedule of festivals. Art and music jamborees take place throughout the year, but the most popular annual event is undoubtedly the Christmas Market, taking over Place Rihour in December with a big wheel and scores of wooden chalets selling festive decorations, mulled wine and gingerbread treats.