Feel our top 5 sensory experiences in Lille…

See the view from the belltower of the Hôtel de Ville. At 104m, it’s the tallest belfry in northern France and offers a striking 360° view over the city and its surroundings.

Hear 350 animals at the zoo. Lille's most visited attraction encircled by the Deûle canal, it’s free to enter and is home to monkeys, zebras, panthers and a variety of rare birds.

Smell juniper, used to make the local tipple. The Distillerie Claeyssens de Wambrechies is Lille's last remaining distillery, where genièvre – once the staple drink of textile workers and miners – is still made on vintage machinery according to traditional methods.

Taste boozy beef in a small Flemish restaurant. Carbonade flamande is the ubiquitous local beef stewed in beer, found in cosy joints known as estaminets.

Touch goods in the vast modern shopping centre at Euralille, the city’s urban district conceived in the 1990s by a group of major architects and planners.

Renowned for its friendliness, Lille (External link) wows visitors with its lofty bell towers, art collection at Palais des Beaux-Arts (External link) (considered the second largest general-interest museum in France, after the Louvre) and famous stuffed waffles at the Méert pâtisserie. Enjoy the relaxed pace in the old town – stroll cobbled alleyways past typically Flemish architecture and cosy restaurants. Shop till you drop at Euralille or relax in the plant-stuffed Jardin des Géants. The best bit? You can get to Lille direct from London in under two hours by Eurostar. An ideal weekend city break!

Getting to LilleBy train: 2h from London by Eurostar

Further information:Lille Tourist OfficePlace Rihour59000 LilleTel. +33 (0)3 59 57 94 00 (External link)