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Regularly eclipsed by the renowned landmarks of Paris and the sophistication of Marseille, the luscious city of Lille is climatic cultural hub sure to surprise and seduce visitors. The evocative maze of the Old Town contrasts greatly to the vibrancy of the bustling bars and refined restaurants, providing a delightful dichotomy for the intrepid traveller. Innovative contemporary art accompanies classic sculptures in the city’s museums while warm and welcoming locals have a national reputation for being France’s friendliest.
The city of Lille bristles with a baroque beauty characteristic of Europe; pristine palaces, stunning churches and majestic museums comprise its stunning cityscape. An intriguing and relatively anomalous architectural example is Lille’s Cathedral, one of France’s national monuments. The granite grey façade incorporate smooth lines and enormous glass portals to create an arresting vision of Gothic grandeur.
Return to the peace and prettiness of nature with a visit to Lille’s renowned Jardin des Plantes, a beautiful and blissful botanical garden that teems with colour and vibrancy. A tropical greenhouse transports travellers to warmer climates while roses and dahlias exude enticing scents.
It is rare when a museum’s exterior is just an enticing and enchanting as the astounding art housed within. This is, however, the case with the magical Palais des Beaux Arts, a museum whose façade is as breathtakingly beautiful as its interior. 15th to 20th century paintings are creatively curated in stunning collections that spans centuries and styles.
Enjoy a prime position in the historic heart of Lille, the L’Assiette du Marche is a rich and rustically decorated restaurant that specialises in classic cuisine with a contemporary twist. The bounteous produce of the market inspires the ever-changing menu; so expect to be surprised and satisfied with the captivating culinary collection on offer. (Vieux Lille, 61 rue de la Monnaie, France)