Lille is known for its sweet tooth, and locals are proud of it. This friendly city is made even more welcoming by its long tradition of excellent patisseries and indulgent cakes and bakes. Read on for our round-up of the best places to visit to get your fix. In the words of Oscar Wilde, ‘the only way to get rid of a temptation is to yield to it’.
Patisserie, Restaurant, French, $$$
A true Lilloise institution founded in 1761, Méert is the home of the famous gaufre fourée, a thin and airy waffle filled with a subtle hint of vanilla cream. Heavenly. It is said to have been a favourite treat of illustrious Lille native General Charles de Gaulle.
27 Rue Esquermoise, 59800 Lille, France +33 03 20 57 07 44
Patisserie, French, Pastries, $$$
Nathalie and Gilles Peigné became local celebrities when they participated in a TV contest show to discover France’s best pattisier. Patisserie Peigné has a loyal following who swears by the couple’s original confections. No challenge is too small or too daunting – anything from an individual mojito-raspberry mini-cake to a huge pièce montée for 100 guests.
179 Rue Léon Gambetta, 59000 Lille, France +33 03 20 57 25 97
Patisserie du Lion d'Or
Patisserie, Pastries, French, $$$
Patisserie du Lion d’Or
The Lion d’Or is one of the best-loved artisanal pastry shops in Vieux Lille. It’s a local favourite since the 1960s for generation of locals who relive their childhood by picking a sweet treat for their afternoon goûter.
11 Place du Lion d’Or, 59800 Lille, France +33 03 20 55 56 57
Bakery, French, Pastries, $$$
Aux Merveilleux de Fred
There is quite often a queue outside this pastry shop, but it moves briskly and is definitely worth the wait to enjoy, among other wonders, one of their emblematic Merveilleux – a melt-in-the-mouth meringue frosted with whipped chocolate cream and dusted with dark chocolate shavings. They are made in sizes for sharing or individual, and in a variety of flavours.
67 Rue de la Monnaie, 59800 Lille, France +33 03 20 51 99 59
Le Bel Air
Patisserie, Pastries, French, $$$
Patisserie, Pastry Shop, Pastries, $$$
For something off the beaten path, head to this specialist of oriental pastries in Lille. If you are unfamiliar with these traditional treats, or find it hard to make a choice among so many tempting delicacies on offer, the friendly staff will be more than happy to guide you, or simply prepare a sampler of their bestsellers. in our opinion, the almond paste cones are delicious.
32 Place Nouvelle Aventure, 59000 Lille, France +33 03 20 55 58 54
This pastry shop brings elements of faraway places to creative baking as owner Mathieu trained in Strasbourg, Chinon, Tours, Marseille, Angers, Nice, Lithuania and Poland, before settling in Lille. Le Boulangerie Mathieu takes pride in the careful selection of its ingredients using organic produce, AOC butter, quality chocolate and seasonal fruits.
82 Rue du Molinel, 59000 Lille, France +33 03 20 55 66 57
A comparatively new entrant to the pastry offering in Lille, Éclairs Émois is entirely dedicated to éclairs was quick to build a fabulous reputation. Sweet or savoury, their contemporary creations look almost too pretty to eat. But they don’t just look good, they are also absolutely delicious and offer creative flavour combinations such as cassis and violet, salted caramel popcorn and chicory buttercream and brown sugar crackle.
75 Rue de la Monnaie, 59800 Lille, France, +33 3 20 74 83 10