From € 48

A day trip to Lille

Lille is the capital of French Flanders. It combines a rich Flemish heritage with French charm and delicacies. In Flemish, the city is called Rijsel. Get there by train from Amsterdam Central in 3.35 hours.
Its historical heritage and surprising museums are plenty of reason to fall in love with Lille, but we also recommend a rendezvous with the nearby textile city of Roubaix.
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Shopping in the historic centre of Lille

The city has two stations: Lille Flandres and Lille Europe. They are a stone's throw away from each other. The train from Brussels arrives at Lille Europe station. You can walk from that station to the picturesque city centre in 15 minutes. In Rue de la Monnaie, the rue de la Monnaie, façades of different colours show the richness of the 17th century. Every afternoon there is a book market at the Beursgebouw, an imposing structure in Flemish Renaissance and Baroque style. It is the place to go for a unique souvenir. Apart from books, you can buy old postcards and posters here.

Go up to find tranquillity

Lille city centre can be busy and lively when the clothing boutiques and delis are open. Want to escape the noise? Then visit the Beffroi de Lille. The belfry is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Book a time slot in advance to climb the 104-metre tower.

The natural history museum is also wonderfully well-organised and rarely very crowded. In a large gallery, whale skeletons hover above visitors. Want something to eat first? Then head to restaurant Sweet Flamingo in the museum shop for a Cabinet de curiosités brunch.

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Dine with the locals

In Lille, curiosity is rewarded. Wander through inconspicuous gates in the city centre and who knows, you might end up in courtyards such as Rue de Weppes, with plenty of pleasant terraces. This is where the locals eat and drink, shielded from the bustling shopping streets. Rue des Vieux Murs is another picturesque street and lies in the shadow of Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille cathedral. Les Frères Pinard is the perfect French spot for a break with a good selection of wine and cheese. Prefer beer? The hip brewpub Bierbuik is a popular meeting place. You can taste Lille's Flemish influences in its dishes.

Grab a bike: Park at an old depot hall

Lille is a bicycle-friendly city where many residents prefer to bike This is thanks to V'Lille, the local counterpart to the public transport bike. With 2,220 bikes spread across 223 locations, finding a bike is easy. For a small fee, you can rent a bike and return it anywhere in the city. From Lille Flandres station, it will take you five minutes to reach cultural centre Gare Saint Sauveur by bike. This old depot hall houses a city farm, alternating exhibitions and a trendy bistro.

Conquer the Citadel of Lille

A 15-minute bike ride away is the 17th-century Lille Citadel. The star-shaped fortress is surrounded by lush green parks. The citadel itself is still military territory and has limited access. For Sunday tours, you must provide proof of identity seven days before your visit.

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Explore the suburbs

Few visitors venture outside the historic city centre, but France's fourth largest city definitely has more in to offer. Explore the modern architecture of the Euralille district or cycle north along the Canal de la Deûle. The pizzas and tasty beers from microbrewery BriqueLand, located in an old textile factory, provide enough sustenance for the ride back.

Take the train to Roubaix

With a City Pass Métropole Européenne de Lille, you can travel for free on public transport in Lille as well as Roubaix. From Lille Flandres, you can take the ten/miunte train ride to Roubaix. Roubaix was the global heart of the textile industry in the early 20th century. Today, it is one of France's poorest cities, although you would not think so when inside museum La Piscine.
With your City Pass, you can visit it for free. With its sculptures in old bathing huts, the Art Nouveau building is a fresh counterpart to Lille's busier Palais des Beaux Arts. There is also plenty of modern and contemporary art and design.

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Discover Roubaix's textile past

Thanks to the flourishing textile industry, textile baron Paul Cavrois made tons of money. He had Villa Cavrois built, a modernist villa from the 1920s. Its interior design is sleek, minimalist and a little stark. The rooftop terrace is breathtakingly beautiful.
You do not just find bygone glory in Roubaix. The workshop of Les Trois Tricoteurs (The Three Knitters) is a hotbed of creative energy. The textile lab is home to traditional knitting. Socks are made while you wait - or better still, while you have a beer in the bar adjacent to the atelier.

To Lille by train

Lille is easy to reach by train. Travel to Brussels with Intercity Brussels or Eurostar and from there catch the TGV to Lille. Travel time is about 3.35 hours. One-way ticket prices to Lille start at € 48. The sooner you book, the cheaper your ticket. You can, of course, get there and back in a day. But Lille is also nice for a weekend away! Or a midweek? Book a hotel and explore the city at your leisure.
Read tips for getting the cheapest train tickets

Day trip to Lille

From € 48