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Things to do in Lille

Dive in to art at the La Piscine Musée d’Art et d’Industrie

Away from the Flemish flourishes of Lille's centre is a stand out art deco gem. La Piscine Musée d'Art et d'Industrie (tel: +33 3 2069 2360; www.roubaix-lapiscine.com) is a former swimming pool re-purposed as delightful gallery. The poolside sculpture room is one of France's most serene exhibition spaces.

Find French fancies behind a fantastic Flemish facade

Unaltered for 250 years, visitors with a sweet tooth should seek out Méert (tel: +33 320 570 744; www.meert.fr) for first-class French patisserie. The shop's flamboyant façade, all golden cherubs and beautifully crafted cabinets, is as unmissable as its creative confectionery, which ranges from cakes to chocolates.

Rock the boat with a gig on a barge

Embark on an intimate evening's entertainment aboard La Peniche (tel: +33 33 2057 1440; www.lapeniche-lille.com). The converted barge boasts a sharp-eared booker when it comes to international musicians and local comedy talent, and is like no other venue in the city - especially in the summer months.

Rummage for a bargain at Europe’s biggest flea market

Held on the first weekend of September, Braderie de Lille (www.braderie-de-lille.fr) is Europe's largest flea market. Attracting bargain seekers from the world over, Lille's centre bustles with bric-a-brac and antiques. If you can keep your money in your pocket, there are some steals come Sunday afternoon.

Size up one of France's largest art galleries

The likes of Rubens, Raphaël and Goya hang on the walls of Palais des Beaux Arts (tel: +33 3 2006 7800; www.pba-lille.fr) making it a real destination gallery. France's largest outside of Paris, the depth of its collection makes it one of the country's finest museums.