What to do in Lille

Discover the capital of the Nord-Pas de Calais

Little more than an hour's drive from the Calais ferry terminal, Lille can make for a good day trip or weekend break outside of the UK.

Lille is the fourth largest city in France, situated on the Deûle River and not too far from the Belgian border.  Accessible by both car and train from Calais.

The city has a rich history which is reflected in the large number of museums and monuments.  Formerly the European Capital of Culture (2004), Lille is a welcoming city with unique charm - with both French and Flemish influences.

Main Attractions


Lille Grand Place

The biggest attraction for both tourists and the locals alike, the Grand Place is the busiest area of the city.  This is where the Vieille Bourse is located, or the Old Stock Exchange as it is known in England.  There are several impressive buildings and monuments to pay attention to.  Opposite the Vieille Bourse is Europe's largest book shop, Le Furet du Nord.  The Grand Place itself is made up by a large number of shops.
Lille Grand Place



On top of the Vieille Bourse there are several impressive buildings to view in Lille.  La Métaphore (the theatre), the Voix du La Nord (Voice of the North) and the Palais des Beaux-Arts (Palace of Fine Arts) are just a few to name, all located within a short walking distance of one another.

Lille Architecture


Lille is occupied by several statues and monuments scattered around the city.  Amongst these are The Goddess, located in the Grand Place, a statue of General Faidherbe, and a monument paying tribute of the Pigeons of the 1914-18 war.  There are quite a view located all over Lille, commemorating war figures, a mayor, poet and Joan of Arc.  A War Memorial stands at the Palais Rihour.

 Lille MonumentsLille Monuments

The Citadel

Located in the north of the city is the Citadel of Lille and is easily accessible by public transport.  The huge pentagon-shaped citadel remains the largest in all of France.  It was built by 2,000 men during the 17th century and remains in good shape to this day.  Tour guides are available during the summer at a price of €7.

Lille Citadel

The Zoo

Adjacent to the Citadel is Lille's Zoo.  There is no charge for entering and the zoo inhabits over 70 species of animal from five continents.  From Birds, Gibbons, Rhinoceros' and Zebras all on display - there is a great variety of species to see when you visit.  A great attraction for the kids!

 Lille ZooLille Zoo