Place du Théâtre in Lille, France Place du Théâtre in Lille, France

We stayed in Lille, France on Bastille Day, purely by accident. We had heard Lille was nice, and with a Saturday appointment to pick up some Westvleteren 12, we’d be practically there. So sure, why not?

One thing I immediately loved about Lille—the cheap the hotels rooms. There are scores of very nice, very affordable hotels in Lille. However, very few allow kids to stay free. We did manage to find one right downtown for only 53€ a night. Of couse, unbeknownst to us, we booked on Bastille Day, and it was loud. Probably fun times for the childless people, not so much for us.

Street art + Super Mario sculpture in Lille, France Street art + Super Mario sculpture

Grand Place in Lille, France Lille’s Grand Place

You wouldn’t know it today, but according to the internets, Lille wasn’t always a nice place to visit. Around 20 years ago, government revitalization projects cleaned it up, and the city welcomed tourists.

Lille is a nice little town. To me, it felt as much a Belgian as a French city. I didn’t find what I was hoping for—crepe stands on every corner and the patisseries of Paris. But there are lots of great shops, outdoor cafes, interesting architecture, history and a sculpture that looks like something out of Super Mario Brothers. And the crepes at the rainy Sunday market were just a satisfying as the ones we ate in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower.

We didn’t stay long into Sunday because we were without umbrellas and tired of getting wet. The city deserves more attention than the few hours we gave it. If we didn’t already have plans for Cantillon Quintessence, I’d be going back for the lille 3000 Fantastic 2012 opening parade on October 6. Look at those costumes! More pics in the pdf programme (in French).

Bakery shop window + market tomatoes + Hospice Comtesse in Lille, France Bakery shop window + market tomatoes + Hospice Comtesse in Lille, France Lille. Tres bien!

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