Lille is located in the north of France, near the border with Belgium, and is one of to oldest cities in the country, dating back to 2000 BC. The city is the fourth largest urban unit in France, with an urban population of over one-million. Formerly one of France’s major industrial centres, Lille has transformed into a city of culture and commerce.
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Welcome to Lille
Lille has what can be described as a temperate oceanic climate, with average summer temperatures around 25°C and average winter temperatures a few degrees above freezing. The city’s long and turbulent history and its unique culture are what draw many tourists to visit and explore this remarkable city in northern France.
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Where to Stay
Deciding where to stay in a city like Lille will depend on what you expect from your holiday and what type of person you are. It’s pretty easy to make your way around the city, so wherever you stay you’ll not be far from where the action is. If you like to be in the hub of all of the activity then an apartment in the historic centre might just be right for you. Surrounded by the old-world architecture of La Vieille Bourse and the Citadel of Lille and the hustle and bustle of constant activity, this area of the city offers an experience like no other. South-East of the historic centre is the Moulins district, which is less busy but has great transport connections. Within the Moulins district you’ll find the Lille Botanical Gardens and the Lille Observatory. With so many properties to choose from with Wimdu, you’re bound to find the right apartment for you.
Things to Do
With its history, architecture and vibrant and diverse culture, Lille has a wealth of things on offer for visitors to do and see. In the centre you’ll find some incredible museums, such as the Musée des Beaux-Arts, which exhibits European art from the 15th to 20th centuries, the Museum of Natural History, which has an extensive zoology department containing over 110,000 specimens of mammals, birds, exotic birds, reptiles, insects and more. Lille is also home to a number of pristine parks and gardens, including the beautiful botanical garden Jardin des Plantes, Jardin Vaubin and the Bois de Boulogne. If you’re hoping for a relaxing holiday, then look no further! If you’re visiting with the family, then the Zoological Garden may interest you. With fun activities for kids and grown-ups alike, the sprawling 148-acre Zoological Garden offers free entry to all. The park is home to 400 animals representing 70 species, including zebras and giraffes.
Eating and Drinking
Lille has a terrific restaurant scene, presenting some of the best seafood delicacies in northern France. It’s best to book a table in advance if you plan to go for a meal in the evenings - with the city being so renowned for its great dining, the best restaurants tend to get pretty full. The diversity of offerings is remarkable for a city of its size, and there are plenty of dining options to choose from, regardless of what you crave - whether you plan to enjoy savoury tarts and beer in a local pub or the gastronomic elegance of one of the city’s old-fashioned traditional brasseries. The regional cuisine is a combination of northern French and Flemish styles, with typical dishes such as waterzooi, a stew of freshwater fish, and potjevleesch, a white-meat terrine. The city also punches above its weight in terms of nightlife, with many bars staying open until the early hours.
Lille has enviable transport connections, equalled by few other European cities, with Paris just a one-hour train ride away, and London an hour and a half. The city’s public transport operator is known as Transpole, and serves the entire metropolitan area, running trams, buses and a metro system. The city boasts a grand total of 68 urban bus routes, eight of which cross the border into Belgium. The Lille Metro system opened in 1983, and is the first automatic metro line in the world. All stations have doors and barriers between the platform and the train. The system comprises two lines, which stop at 60 stations. The tram system comprises two interurban lines with 45 stops, connecting Lille to the nearby cities of Tourcoing and Roubaix. If public transport isn’t your cup of tea, the V’Lille self-service bike hire system might be a little more to your liking. With stations scattered around the city, it’s easy to get from A to B wherever you’re going.
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