Had been lived in Lille for a year, makes me always feel that this city is my second home. Lille is a pretty big city in the north of France, situated near France and Belgium border. When I was living in south of France, people asked me why I want to move to the north when you have sun almost everyday in the south, and they said Northern people is always sad, which is I can prove you that it is definitely not true.
I’ve been moving to several cities in different regions in France, and Lille is still my favorite one. Lille so far has the most humble and warmest people and neighborhood I have ever lived in. Even everyday is a grey sky, but you can always having fun and meet nice people.
I regularly visit this city even I do not live there anymore, so I’m going to give you some travel tips if you want to enjoy your weekend in Lille.
First, where to stay:
If you want to enjoy five-stars hotel facilities and have a historical visit at the same time Hotel l’Hermitage Gantois-Autograph Collection is the best one in the city. The hotel was established in a historical monument from the 15th century and is an exceptional mix between ancient architecture and modern design. The Hermitage Gantois, a special place to relax surrounded by history and modernity. Each room has its own personality which will make your stay a unique experience (read more & make a reservation). Tips: Don’t forget to bring your swim suit because they have swimming pool & spa service. What I love: their very huge bar and their gastronomic restaurant.
Second, having a tea time at Méert:
A voyage to the best pastry and chocolates shops in town. The history of Méert begins in 1761, when Mr. Delcourt settles Sweets Chocolatier in Lille, at 27 Esquermoise street address where we find traces of a confectionery since 1661. It will soon be followed by his compatriot Modo Rollez who with his artist friends, the architect Alexandre Alphonse Benvignat and Leroy, give instead the face we know today, an incredible Pompeian style décor and orientalist flamboyant, rich and talented Stalars Huidiez, painter and sculptor registered in the period.
The Belgian Michael Paulus Gislinus Méert took over the business after five years in the settlements in the cocoa plantations, sugar cane, vanilla and coffee. also a course rich in the largest confectionery manufacturers in Europe, it develops the already numerous pastry sweets and creates fabulous waffle filled with vanilla, finally leaving its name to the famous house.
Given the success, the first tea room “Family Tea” pure neo Louis XVI style and work of architect Cordonnier was inaugurated, followed quickly by a second art deco lounge and a new store in the years 1930. at the turn of the twenty-first century, all the seventeenth and eighteenth century buildings, which housed the workshops are transformed into reception room, leading to the place we know today. (read more history)
Must to try: Méert waffle. Tips: Be patient while queueing, it’s worth it!
Third, best cocktail bar in town:
When you have time to spend a night in Lille, you must visit Le Dandy cocktail’s bar and of course try some of their drinks, they serve original cocktails that you hardly find anywhere else. It is located in the famous quartier in Lille, le vieux Lille. If you’re not fancy to drink alcohol, don’t worry! They also have some delicious cocktail’s without alcohol. Tips: Try to reserve a place during the weekend.
Fourth, where to eat:
This one is pretty difficult, it depends what type of food you are in the mood is, but don’t worry I will give you some reference of some different restaurants in Lille.
The best Italian cuisine restaurant:La Bottega, I’ve never disappointed every time I went to this Italian restaurant, they have proper Italian pizza and very good tiramisu.
The best Japanese cuisine: Jomon-negishi
It is sometimes very hard to find a Japanese restaurant owned and prepared by a proper Japanese chef in Europe. What you can find is quick sushi or a Chinese restaurant who served Japanese food. But in Jomon, Lille, you can find not only sushi but also bento menu with tempura, a proper and delicious tempura.
French Gastronomic: Au Goût du Jour restaurant
To be honest, I haven’t try all gastronomic restaurants in Lille, well they have numbers of them. But, this one is one of the best in town. What makes different with other gastronomic restaurants in Lille, Au Goût du Jour will serve you their special menu “les yeux fermés” (read: eye closed). The chef will give you a surprise menu (starter, main dish, dessert) and of course they will ask you first something you cannot eat and you don’t like.
Tips: better make a reservation
And last, what to visit:
You can visit all historical buildings in Lille by walking distance: The famous Grand Place, Vielle Bourse just on the right, Chambre de commerce, le quartier Vieux Lille, Musée de Beaux-Arts.
If you want to show your friends a running track like a star, you can go running or have a walk in Jardin Vauban – Citadelle.