“Once a year go some place you’ve never been before”; A quote you’ve probably seen a million times around the net before, but it’s actually one of those quotes I resonate with and live by. In the recent years I’ve made it a routine to travel to a place I’ve never been before; Whether it’s in my own backyard(the Netherlands), a country I’ve never been before or a new city in a country I’ve already visited. So last weekend (as you might have seen on my Instagram or not) I went on a getaway to Lille, France.
When most people think of France, the first city that pops up is Paris, right? Since I’ve been to Paris many times now, I wanted to explore a different French city with easy and quick access by train. And that’s how Lille came up! (FYI: Lille is only 2.5 hours away from Amsterdam)Architectural Diversity, History and Picturesque Charm
I never thought I would enjoy the city as much as I did. I love Paris, but after my 2-night stay I think I’ve got a secret crush on Lille as well. Lille is a city in the northern part of France and close to the border of Belgium( about 10-15 minutes by train from Belgium). Although Lille is known as a university city (mind you everywhere you walk you’ll come across youngsters from ALL OVER….LOTS of them!), it’s still the picturesque charm, architectural diversity and history that makes this city so loveable and quite unique.
As a lover of architecture and photography, I couldn’t help myself but snapping around with my phone camera everywhere I walked; From the newer part of the city which includes EURALILLE(the business district) to the historic centre of La Grand Place a.k.a. Place du Général de Gaulle ( the main market square) and Vieux Lille(“Old Lille”, which has these cute little shopping streets, restaurants and cafés).
Let’s Talk Shopping!
Aside from all the beautiful historical buildings, Lille also has lots of options for the shopaholics amongst us: From shopping centres like EURALILLE(which has FREE WiFi!!) to shopping streets and markets in and around Lille’s historic centre and Vieux Lille.
Side Note: I actually had one shopping mission, which pretty much failed. I wanted to buy some new Make Up For Ever foundation from Sephora(which I wrote about in a previous beauty post), but none of the locations had my color/number. So I was told to either order it online or buy it in Paris. And guess what? This summer I actually have plans to go to Paris! So I prefer to buy it there since I have to try it out as well.
Anyways, inside the courtyard of La Vieille Bourse, the old Stock Exchange of Lille(situated at La Grand Place ), there’s a daily second-hand book, antique and art market, which was quite interesting to see especially in a unique building like this. They sold stuff like vintage VOGUE artworks for just EUR5,- or old French newspapers and books.
After a weekend of relaxing, sightseeing, food and shopping I can honestly say that my city trip to Lille is one that I definitely will repeat in the future; Whether for a day trip or an overnight stay. Lille, has now become my alternative for Paris, because it’s just like “La cité d’amour et de la mode”, only “10 times smaller(not sure if it’s actually 10 times smaller, but it is small compared to Paris). Although I think that the very next time that I will visit Lille will be in Summer time, when it’s warmer and there’s no sign of overcast weather(like I had when I visited last weekend, and as you could see from some photos).Have you been to Lille before? If so, let me know your thoughts about the city in the comment section below. And if you haven’t visited this charming city yet, I highly recommend it!
XO – Jey.