7 must-see architectural icons in Lille

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Northern FranceCultural HeritageCities

Le LaM
© DR - Le LaM

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 19 March 2024, updated on 2 May 2024

France’s 20th Century Heritage certification was awarded for the first time in Lille. Alongside the picturesque Vieux Lille and Saint Sauveur neighbourhoods, the European Metropolis of Lille (MEL) invites visitors to take in a century of architecture that includes the new architectural giants of the North, seven iconic monuments of the urban landscape. Ready for a bit of time travel?

La Nouvelle Bourse (1910)

The Palais de la Bourse’s neo-Flemish bell tower stands opposite the old 17th century stock exchange. The building, erected in 1910 by Louis Marie Cordonnier, is an ode to triumphant industry: it is also home to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, but the ground floor is open to the public. The vast ceiling shines light onto an amazing Hermes hermaphroditus bas-relief. But most striking are the frescoes that showcase two facets of 1950s art. One, hyper-realist, depicts the official opening of the Port of Lille, while the other, by Emile Flamant, depicts does frolicking in the flowers.

Roubaix Swimming Pool (1927)

Since 2018, the pool, or the André Diligent Museum of Art and Industry, is accessed via the garden of an old textile factory. And this makes the sense of surprise all the more striking. Pieces by Camille Claudel, Emile Bernard and Fantin-Latour casually converse in the Art Deco garages and changing rooms. The high point remains your arrival at the Olympic pool, still filled with water, surrounded by sculptures and Sèvres porcelain. Henri Bouchard’s studio has also found a home in the additional 2300m². - Roubaix Swimming Pool - André Diligent Museum of Art and Industry

La Villa Cavrois in Croix (1932)

Fans of architecture by Robert Mallet-Stevens should make the pilgrimage to Croix, on the outskirts of Roubaix, to admire the architect, designer, and interior designer’s masterpiece. The villa was built for Paul Cavrois, an industrialist from Roubaix, and spans some 2400m². The apparent simplicity of its yellow brick façade conceals amazingly complex interiors: cupboards built into pear and palm trees, folded metal radiator facings, synchronised clocks, and vast bathrooms. Seen from the end of the outdoor pool, the bold structure resembles an ocean liner. - Villa Cavrois

The LaM in Villeneuve d’Ascq (1980)

To admire this building’s elegance, position yourself alongside one of the statues in the surrounding gardens, like Chant des Voyelles by Jacques Lipchitz. This series of brick and glass cubes, designed by Roland Simounet, initially hosted the collections of Roger Dutilleul and Jean Masurel. In 2010, a white concrete extension was added that now exhibits outsider art. Visitors can explore the bright, labyrinthine rooms like it was the home of a friend. - LaM - Modern Art Museum

La Tour de Lille (1995)

This mind-boggling building, also known as the boot, flipper, the shoe, or simply the “L”, occupies the 150 hectares of Euralille. Christian Portzamparc achieved a tour de force by placing the tower above the train station, as if a bridge. Its blue-grey shades match the skies of the Nord, and the bevelled windows overlook Vieux Lille. The 18th floor is home to SPL Euralille.

The façade of Notre-Dame de la Treille (1999)

This neo-gothic cathedral remains unfinished, and only received its door in 1999. Made up of 110 thin slabs of marble which appear dark from the outside, the slightest sunbeam lights them up. Let there be light.

Swam (2019)

The grey building that is home to Mama Shelter emerges from the Swam like a modern-day dungeon. The architect, Jérôme de Alzua, was inspired by the neighbouring Porte de Roubaix and old battlements to enclose this new complex within a curtain wall of openwork bricks. A strategic link between Lille-Flandres and Lille-Europe train stations, between the modern city and Vieux Lille, Swam takes its name from the old Souham barracks. Its terraces overlook Henri Matisse park on one side, and Vieux Lille on the other.

Learn more:

Tours of Vieux LillePlan your stay in Lille in Hauts-de-France

By Redazione France.fr

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