Things to see in Lille

Tourist information

Office du Tourisme de Lille
Palais Rihour, Place Rihour
Tel: (03) 5957 9400.
www.lilletourism.com

Passes

The 'City Pass Lille Métropole' gives free access to over 30 sites in Lille and the region, as well as free transport in the city. The pass is available for one, two or three days and can be purchased online (www.lilletourism.com), at the tourist office or in some hotels.

La Vieille Ville (Old Town)

Cobblestoned streets and old Flemish town houses (now home to exclusive boutiques) make for a pleasant stroll in a part of Lille barely changed in centuries. Particularly lively on Sundays, when the market takes place. Sit at a café and watch life go by. The cathedral, nearby, has a modern facade and gothic interiors.

Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Vieille Ville, Lille, France
Maison Natale Charles de Gaulle

Lille's most famous son, the Général de Gaulle, rose to fame as leader of the Free French forces in exile in London during WWII. He became President of France in the 1950s, when he brought stability to a divided country, which was struggling to adjust to the postwar situation. Visit the house where he was born in 1890, now a museum.

Opening Times: Wed-Thurs 1000-1800, Sun 1330-1730.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: 9 rue Princesse, Lille, France
Telephone: (03) 2838 1205.
Musée de l'Hospice Comtesse

This hospice, founded in 1237 by the Countess of Flanders, Jeanne de Constantinople, is one of the oldest buildings in Lille's Old Town. It is home to a collection of gold, silver and earthenware objects, tapestries of Guillaume Werniers, paintings by the Watteau brothers, and several classic Flemish works.

Opening Times: Mon 1400-1800, Wed-Sun 1000-1800.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: 32 rue de la Monnaie, Lille, France
Telephone: (03) 2836 8400.
Website: www.musenor.com
Palais des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Museum)

Widely acclaimed as France's second best museum after Le Louvre, the Palais des Beaux Arts, is housed in a Belle Epoque palace right in the city centre. The impressive collection includes paintings by many such as Donatello, Raphael, Rubens, Van Dyck, Rembrandt, El Greco, David and Toulouse-Lautrec.

Opening Times: Mon 1400-1800, Wed-Sun 1000-1800.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Place de la République, Lille, France
Telephone: (03) 2006 7800.
Parc Zoologique de Lille (Lille Zoo)

A good one for those travelling with children. The zoo, near the Citadelle Vauban, houses over 100 species of animals, ranging from birds (owls, parrots, etc) to big mammals such as rhinos, snow panthers, zebras, llamas and monkeys. Snakes, bats, tortoises and tiny monkeys such as ouistitis and tamarins can be seen in the tropical house. Open daily, and free.

Opening Times: Mon-Fri 0900-1800, Sat-Sun 0900-1900 (Apr-Oct); Daily 1000-1700 (Nov-Mar) - closed mid-Dec-mid-Feb.
Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Parc de Loisirs de la Citadelle, Lille, France
Telephone: (03) 2852 0700.
Place Général de Gaulle (aka Grand-Place)

Lille's main square is now an attractive pedestrian area overlooked by the Voix du Nord building (home of the North's leading newspaper, once the journal of the French Resistance in WWII). La Vieille Bourse (the Old Exchange), a centre where Flemish merchants traded their famous high-quality cloth, is on the left. The Column commemorates the siege of Lille by the Austrians in 1792.

Disabled Access: Yes
Unesco: No
Address: Place Général de Gaulle, Lille, France
Edited by Tina Banerjee
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