The Most Unique Experiences You Can Have in Lille
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The capital of the Hauts-de-France region in Northern France is full of surprises thanks in part to its long tradition as an important merchant center. The cobbled streets of the historical center coupled with a bustling art scene, world-class museums, great food, fabulous beer, and the legendary warmth of its people combine to create an experience Lille visitors won’t easily forget.
Go behind enemy lines
Follow the life of the French Resistance in the North of France through a visit to the Musée de la Résistance. Located in Bondues—within a 15-minute drive from the city—the museum is set in a fort built after the War of 1870. It was also the site of 68 Resistance fighters’ execution during the Second World War. The Museum exhibits items, documents, scene recreations, and explains the workings of the underground press, the escape network, and the camp deportations.
Ancien Fort de Bondues, Lille Metropolitan Area, Bondues, France, +33 3 20 28 88 32
Have the best waffle of your life
It’s a closely-guarded secret recipe since 1949, but Lille is home the legendary gauffre fourrée—a delicate, skinny waffle filled with bourbon+vanilla cream, still made in the traditional way by Maison Méert. One bite and you’ll wonder why no one shared any information about this treat sooner.
Méert, 27 Rue Esquermoise, Lille, France, +33 03 20 57 07 40
Go on a Downtown Safari
Located in the huge park surrounding the Citadelle, more than 350 animals representing 70 species from five continents including zebras, rhinoceros, alpacas, pandas, giant turtles, tropical birds, and pelicans call the renowned Lille Zoo home.
Zoo de Lille, Avenue Mathias Delobel, 59000 Lille, +33(0)3 28 52 07 0
The most famous flea market in France dates back to the early Middle Ages. The Braderie de Lille is an annual street festival and secondhand/antique market that takes place on the first Sunday in September. The market takes over the entire center and features over 10,000 stalls, food, music, and live entertainment.
L’ancienne bourse, l’Opéra et la braderie | ©PROFrédérique Voisin-Demery/Flickr
For some quirky fun on wheels, take a tour of the city in a chaueffer-driven 2CV convertible, fold down the roof, and feel free as the wind while discovering the sites and monuments and charming old streets of historic Lille.
TradiBalade | ©Lille Tourisme
Discover Emerging Artists
The former mail sorting office has been converted into a cavernous endless 6000 m2 art space. Its three levels showcase cultural events, the latest and greatest contemporary-art collections, and emerging talent within the framework of the Lille3000 ‘portal to the future’.
Le Tripostal, Avenue Willy Brandt, Lille, France, +33 03 20 14 47 60
Tripostal contemporary art space Lille © Sylvia Edwards Davis
Tango in the Stock Exchange
The Vieille Bourse, built in the 17th century, is one of Lille’s most-notable landmarks. The handsome building receives thousands of visitors learning about its architecture and history or visiting the fabulous secondhand-books market. Perhaps less known: the Stock Exchange has tango in the central courtyard with easy-to-follow demonstrations for beginners.
La Vieille Bourse, Place du Général de Gaulle, Lille, France, +33 891 56 20 04