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Lille The most Flemish of French cities

Regions and cities Nord-Pas-de-Calais Lille

Its superior geographical location and transport network make Lille a gateway to Northern Europe. Dynamic and colourful, it is the biggest city in Northern France.

Things to know

The city in Flanders

Legend has it that Lydéric founded Lisle in the year 640 on the land of the man who murdered his parents, the giant Phinaert. The capital of French Flanders, the name of which appeared in the XIth century, has been a city of industry and commerce throughout history.

Sites and Monuments

Palais des Beaux-arts

Covering 22,000m2 and housing famous collections, the Palais des Beaux-arts is the second biggest museum in France. It offers European paintings, ceramics, French sculpture and 4,000 drawings, including 300 by Raphael.


A Flemish city

The Old Quarter of Lille has the most visible examples of the architectural history of the city. Flemish art rubs shoulders with industrial heritage, and the traditional Northern estaminets and cafés serve local specialities in a warm atmosphere so typical of the region.

Events and festivals

Bargain hunting

A whole weekend to hunt for bargains, rummage and haggle at the biggest flea market in Europe. On the first weekend of September every year, professional brocante traders and junk sellers line the kilometres of streets. 


The port

Located on the Deûle ‒ the river open to Europe that crosses Lille ‒ and connected to around 700km of regional navigable routes, it is the 3rd biggest river port in France. It is a true multiple platform (river/road/rail), managing traffic of around 7 million tonnes per year.