One of France’s northernmost cities, Lille’s French roots are infused with Flemish culture. A banquet of architectural gems awaits in Old Lille, providing a suitably grand façade for the city’s chic boutiques, excellent restaurants, and micro-breweries. All that plus one of France’s largest markets, two world-class art museums, and a 17th-century citadel.
With the Belgian border less than a half-hour away, Bruges, Ghent, and Brussels all make popular choices for a day trip, combined with a pitstop at Flanders’ WWI battlefields and memorials. Staying on French soil, high-speed trains link Lille with Paris, while the northern port cities of Calais and Dunkirk are famed for their WWII history and windswept beaches—a hotspot for windsurfing and kite-surfing.
MATCH DAY MENU
IF YOU ONLY HAVE ONE DAY…
Marvel at the Flemish-inspired architecture on a walking tour of Old Lille (Vieux-Lille), take in the views from the belfry at the Hôtel de Ville, then tuck into Flemish cuisine at a traditional bistro along Rue de Gand. Spend the afternoon admiring masterpieces from Picasso to Monet at the Palais des Beaux-Arts, then join locals for drinks at an estaminet (traditional tavern).