The Nord and Lille, memories forever!!!

Let me tell you a story of my belle France on a memorable city for my family and having wife’s side family close, this is Lille! I like to put up a post on the city alone for all and me to get back here as soon as possible. Having exchange with fellow bloggers in my blog reminded me to do justice to Lille. As with anything with visiting family around time for sightseeing is always limited so will put some older personal pictures here for me and you.

Lille is a great city often overlook and now really link by train from Paris and even London, Brussels, Amsterdam etc. The city center is wonderful and the shopping phenomenal.  Lille is a city in the Nord dept 59 of the region of Hauts-de-France. It is often calle the Capital of Flandres as it used to belong to the roman Flandres which in turn belongs to the historic French Flandres, old territory of the Count of Flandres and not part of the Flemish speaking area. And pictures are rare here as with family nearby we are too busy doing mostly family trips, we do use it as a base to go into Belgium!

A bit of history I like and kept it short this time…!

The city of Lille has gone thru many monumental periods in its history and count as one of the cities most invaded in France. Lille has belong to the counts of Flandres, kingdom of France, Burgundian state, Holy Roman Empire ,the Spanish low countries before coming back to France taken by king Louis XIV during the war of Spanish succession. The city was again invaded in 1792 during the Franco Austrian war ( French revolution)  and very much touch by the two world wars. During WWI the city was occupied by the Germans from 1914 to 1918, and it was the English under Gen Birdwood that liberated the city in October 17,1918. The city was in ruins. Lille was taken in WWII since May 1940 by the Nazis and attach to the nazi commander HQ in Brussels and not from the Vichy regime, so totally detached from the rest of France. Lille is finally liberated again by the British on September 3, 1944.

It is for this reason that Lille did not developed into a typical city center layout but a mosaic of districts with their own identity. The historic heart that today is composed of the old Lille and Center Lille or Vieux-Lille and Lille-Centre; these two districts are extensions of the city in the 17C to 19C. Then, coming the districts born out of annexations in the 19C such as the Bois Blancs, Vauban, Esquermes, Wazemmes, Lille-Moulins, Faubourg de Béthune, Lille-Sud, Saint-Maurice Pellevoisin , and Fives as the better ones and then coming those born out of the 20C such as Hellemmes ,and Lomme.

Some of the things to see here , and lacking pictures! in my opinion are: The Collegiale Church of Saint Pierre and its cryptChurch of Saint-Maurice, and Church of Sainte-Catherine,  the old stock exchange or Vieille Bourse, the   wonderful Citadelle known as the Queen of Citadelles , the Cathedral of Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille. Others will be the  house or maison de Gilles de la Boë, Church of Saint Etienne, Church of Saint André, new stock exchange or Nouvelle bourse, city hall or Hôtel de Ville, and wonderful shopping train complex of Euralille (this we have pictures lol!).  We love the shopping here!

Lille euralille MF pipo et boys jun02

Lille Euralille gare d'europe et boys jun02

Other wonderful streets to walk on and see old Lille are rue des Chats-Bossus, Place du Lion-d’Or, rue de la Monnaie, rue des Arts ,rue Saint Jacques, place aux Bleuets, or the house of old men or Maison des Vieux-Hommes built in 1624 at rue de Roubaix. And do not missed the Grand’Place this to me is Lille at its best. You have wonderful art at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, built in 1885, the Théâtre Sébastopol from 1903, and the Opéra from 1907. The wonderful park of Bois de Boulogne in Lille next to the Citadelle,with a zoo, an attraction park. Not to leave out the other museums such as the native house/museum of Charles de Gaulle at rue Princesse, and the wonderful musée des Canonniers at rue des Canonniers house in an old convent tracing the history of the military actions in town and especially the sieges of Lille. Plenty to keep you busy and even come back for more. Well found the Porte de Paris with a view of the Belfry behind in my FB page! souvenirs of Lille!

Lille porte de Paris and Belfry behind c2000

As a side story; I like to put up here an anecdote. As been visiting older brother of my wife near and my other half love of shopping I had to dig in my road warrior skills to drive into nearby places looking for outlet store malls.  There are factory outlets in the outskirts of Lille such as at Roubaix , the Usines we have been with the family and they are pretty good if you know what you are looking for and prices. Also,McArthur Glen factory outlet that my boys enjoyed when came here, that I have a picture!

The Usines webpage (old factories district converted to outlet stores): https://www.usineroubaix.fr/en/

The McArthur Glen webpage (new complex for a chain of outlet stores) : https://www.mcarthurglen.com/outlets/en/fr/designer-outlet-roubaix/

Roubaix McArthur Glen shops pipo et MF Jul02

Another anecdote proper to this post. I remember when was preparing moving to France permanently,as my dear wife Martine propose me and I agree, been looking back now the best decision of my life!! I met a Belgian collegue from Waterloo at the Novotel hotel at the airport at Lille-Lesquin to go over my resumé/CV in give it a French format; I drove from my wife’s older brother home in Caudry (see post). The meeting went well, we still in touch! ,and I got the job right away!! While still in Florida! Wonderful memories of always in August 2002 as I moved in August 2003 to France! To start my job, and the rest of the  family followed in December 2003 once house sold. And the rest is history. I could say where all started for us really as after this meeting the decision was made to come to France and it has been the best ever by me thanks my dear late wife Martine, my Frenchie of always RIP.

Lille Airport webpage for the memories!! https://www.lille.aeroport.fr/home/

And the Novotel hotel at Lesquin for the memories!! https://all.accor.com/hotel/0427/index.en.shtml

Looking back we should have come in more to Lille. However, the region is full of wonderful spots and we have covered many of them with my posts in my blog. Been near the Belgian border with family allowed us to visit many places with a place to stay which is always a great one two combination. We shall be back is in our list to visit family and perhaps more into Lille. Hope you enjoy the post and my anecdotes of always.

The city of Lille on things to see in French: https://www.lille.fr/Que-faire-a-Lille/Decouvrir-Lille

The Lille tourist office on things to see in English: https://en.lilletourism.com/discover-lille-1.html

There you go folks, I hope you enjoy the post on Lille , and do visit worth the detour. It is in my list to do once real travel starts after the pandemic rules and restraints. And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

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2 Comments to “The Nord and Lille, memories forever!!!”

  1. Lille is certainly the ideal city for a weekend, there is enough to see to keep you busy with a good variety of activities in a walkable area

    Liked by 1 person

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