An insider's guide to Lille
Why should I choose Lille for my year abroad?
Lille is a myriad of contradictions. A city of old and historic architecture and fine gastronomic tradition coupled with modern bar and nightlife facilities which cater to the city’s large student population. A city where fine wine emporiums sit comfortably beside branches of McDonalds and a city where religious, commercial touristic and hedonistic activities collide. In short, Lille’s handsome and delightful city centre is all things to all people. The city is very accessible and travellers will be happy to learn that tube prices are much lower than their London counterparts and reasonably priced monthly travel cards are also available. The metro line covers the Lille metropolitan area which includes the cities of Roubaix and Tourcoing, thus offering a rapid connection every 1-4 minutes and access to some unmissable cultural hotspots. La Musée de la Piscine in Roubaix is a visually stunning building which houses a remarkable collection of artefacts. Furthermore, Lille’s attractions are picturesque and a treasure trove for historians, culture vultures and are even impressive for those with just a mild appreciation of handsome architecture. Roaming through the city centre is a visual extraganza and one feels cultured by just admiring the visual beauty of the many attractive landmarks such as the fine opera house and La Vielle Bourse which dominate the city skyline. Place Rihour and La Grande Place are core rendez-vous points surrounded by bars, restaurants and fountains where the city’s culture and people come together. Furthermore, the beautiful cobbled streets of Vieux Lille provide a wonderful backdrop to the many restaurants and bars which permeate this district. In general, fine dining is an afforable prospect in Lille and one can take advantage of a wide array of culinary treasures from traditional French fare to chips and kebabs. Although, one can pick up good wine on the cheap, drinkers need to be aware that bar prices aren’t cheap. However, attractive, trendy bars, friendly locals and yes even sometimes pacing yourself during a night out can compensate for this. Lille offers a great social scene and lively nightlife and vibrant, alcohol fuelled superclubs of Belgium are also within easy reach of the city. Ultimately, Lille is a great and accessible student city with wonderful transport links. Its important cultural dimension affords residents the opportunity to learn, discover or even just admire, and with such an extensive array of bars and restaurants one should leave this city with a rather revitalised if not more sophisticated palette.