Lille 2009

This page tells about one of the greatest times of my life, a period of 2½ months in the fall of 2009 in Lille where my wife was studying. Lille is a city of 226 000 people in the Northern France close to the Belgian border. The metropolitan area has over a million of population. Lille has excellent connections as it takes only an hour to Paris with a train and about half an hour to Brussels.

We lived in an apartment hotel called Appart'City Grand Palais which is located a few minutes from the Lille downtown.

Our apartment was a nice little flat with a small kitchen and an accessible toilet.

Gare de Lille Flandres is one of the two railwaystations of Lille.

One of the main streets of Lille starts in front of the Flandres station.

Many local trains and also the TGV-trains (to Paris) depart from the Flandres.

Lille has an excellent metro. The lines stretch to quite a few nearby cities like Roubaix, Tourcoing and Villeneuve-d'Ascq.

The metro is completely accessible and also automated which means there is no driver. The metro of Lille is the first automated metro in the world.

There's also a tram which has lines connecting to two nearest cities.

The Grand Place square is the heart of Lille. There are a lot of shops and restaurants around it.

This is the building of La voix du Nord, a local newspaper.

Vieille Bourse is one of the most beautiful buildings of the square.

There's also Le Furet du Nord, one of the biggest bookstores in Europe.

Close to the square is a long pedestrian street Rue de Béthune which has dozens of shops. One of them is the Fnac, selling consumer electronics, music, dvds and books.

Celio, seen on the left, is one of the numerous clothing shops that isn't seen in the Northern Europe.

Close to the railway stations is a big shopping center Euralille with 120 shops. We visited Euralille dozens and dozens of times.

In Villeneuve-d'Ascq, about 20 minutes from the Lille center with the metro, there's another huge shopping center, Le Centre V2.

One of V2's 140 shops is the self-service restaurant Flunch.

The Galeries Lafayette is one of the biggest department store chains in France. Lille's Lafayette is situated by the pedestrian street.

Visiting cafés was an essential part of the days in France. Here we are about to enjoy hot chocolate, café moka (coffee with chocolate) and a very typical French delicacy, pain au chocolat.

One of Euralille's cafés is the Segafredo.

In France all the churches are very beautiful. Here is the St. Maurice cathedral that dates back to the 14th century.

In Tourcoing, a nearby city, is the St. Christopher's cathedral which also is very much decorated.

Lille has an old town district, the Vieux Lille. There are a lot of museums there like the Hospice Comtesse which was originally a hospital.

The streets of the Vieux Lille are narrow and cosy.

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This photo shows a couple of important sights, the Porte de Paris gate and the city hall with its tall tower.

The Palais des Beaux-Arts is a big museum of arts. The collections are the largest outside of Paris's museums.

The museum has numerous statues, sculptures and paintings.

In the middle of November the Marché de Noël de Lille, a big Christmas market area, opened.

The market was situated at the Rihour square and had a large number of little cottages and stands selling Christmas decoration, souvenirs and baked goods.

After dark it was especially beautiful at the marketplace.

When the Christmas season was beginning, a huge ferris wheel was built to the Grand Place square.

A tall Christmas tree with blinking lights also decorated the square.