Visit Lille for a weekend

Lille is a lively, pleasant city with a very interesting cultural heritage. Its partly pedestrianized town center makes it ideal for strolling.

Lille is one of those cities I’ve often visited on business, for a few hours or even a day, but never taking the time to linger. This long weekend was therefore an opportunity to remedy this shortcoming, with a plan to get out of town and visit museums in Roubaix and Villeneuve d’Ascq.

But not everything went exactly to plan…

You’ll find all the articles about this stay in Lille at the bottom of the page.

Henri Matisse Park


For a smooth start (or finish). 8 hectares of greenery to relax in the town center.


Hospice Comtesse Museum


This former hospital was originally built in the 13th century, but the building was completely destroyed by fire, the last one in 1649.

Gradually rebuilt since the 15th century, it became a hospice after the French Revolution, then a museum after 1962. It presents the social and cultural life of Lille in the 17th and 18th centuries, as well as temporary exhibitions.

Unfortunately, during my visit, a hack on the town hall’s servers prevented payment by credit card. I told myself I’d come back later after I’d drawn some cash, but things worked out so that I wouldn’t be coming back.


Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille Cathedral, Lille


Construction of this neo-Gothic cathedral began in 1856 and was completed in…1999! The reason for this was financial difficulties, which meant that it had to be built in stages, with several generations of architects in succession.

This explains the very modern facade, whereas the original plan was for something more classical: two towers surrounding a rose window.


I wasn’t able to visit it as much as I would have liked, as a service was taking place when I was there.

The Grand Place


Also known as Place Charles de Gaulle, this is Lille’s most emblematic site. Most of the buildings along the way are listed historic monuments, and at its center stands the Column of the Goddess (1845), a tribute to the heroism of the people of Lille during the Prussian siege of the city in 1792.


Saint-Etienne Church


This is an 18th-century Baroque church. I wasn’t able to visit it as much as I would have liked, as a service was taking place during my visit.


The Palace of Fine Arts, Lille


It is a museum of art and antiquities, and the largest Fine Arts museum in France outside Paris in terms of works on display.

Unsurprisingly, it is characterized by its collections of Dutch and Flemish painters. But I did manage to find a few impressionists…

It was also impossible to pay by credit card, but at least I had cash this time…


The Town Hall


It is best known for its UNESCO World Heritage-listed belfry.

Old Lille

Generally speaking, Lille offers a picturesque pedestrian-only city center, where it’s pleasant to stroll around or enjoy a drink on a terrace.


Outside the city

If you have a car or are prepared to take public transport (bus in one case, train in the other), it’s essential to visit the LAM ( Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) in Villeneuve d’Ascq and La Piscine (another museum…on the premises of a former swimming pool) in Roubaix.

Unfortunately, the weather deterred me and, having had a string of tourist weekends in recent weeks, I was starting to run out of steam and motivation.

A regret…but it’s a good opportunity to return, isn’t it?

Bottom line

A very pleasant visit spoiled by imponderables: sites I didn’t visit because they didn’t accept credit cards, religious monuments occupied by services when I passed by, the weather…and a bit of fatigue.

I wasn’t able to do everything I wanted, but I’m still very satisfied with my stay and the visits I didn’t make are just reasons to come back another time.

The articles about this stay in Lille

1DiaryOrganizing a trip to Lille
2TrainParis-Lille, SNCF TGV 1st class
3HotelMoxy Lille City
4RestaurantEstaminet chez Raoul Lille
5RestaurantLa Table du Clarance, Lille
6HotelL’Hermitage Gantois, Lille
7RestaurantLe Cerisier, Lille
8RestaurantLe Braque, Lille
9DiaryVisit Lille
10TrainLille-Paris, SNCF TGV 1st class ( useless, no review)
11DiaryDebriefing my trip to Lille
Bertrand Duperrin
Bertrand Duperrin
Compulsive traveler, present in the French #avgeek community since the late 2000s and passionate about (long) travel since his youth, Bertrand Duperrin co-founded Travel Guys with Olivier Delestre in March 2015.

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