Lille is a charming and quaint town in Northern France near the France/Belgium border. Lille is not as well-known as its more glamorous cousin Paris, which is quite a shame because Lille has just as much charm and beauty and has a far more relaxed vibe. I stumbled upon Lille by accident after buying a rail pass for 79 euro that allowed me and my adventure partner to travel all over Belgium. On our rail pass map, we saw that the rail pass allowed us to make a foray into Lille and we just couldn’t say no to France.
What we noticed right away when we arrived in Lille was that it didn’t feel like we were in Belgium anymore. Lille has a very French vibe with its elegant architecture. Yet, Lille also has a bit of a Flemish vibe with Flemish architecture also sprouting up here and there. Lille also had a young and colorful vibe, as it lacked the pretentious vibe of Paris and the people seemed much more approachable and friendly.
We went to Lille with the only aim of having French cuisine for dinner, so we didn’t really do any sightseeing beyond walking around this colorful city. Lille is the perfect-sized city for walking around in – it’s neither too small nor too big. On the way to eat escargots we snapped pictures of the Beffroi de Lille, a beautiful old belfry that stands tall above the city. We also strolled around Lille’s Grand Place which is right outside the train station and full of bustling cafes.
After leaving Lille to head back to Belgium, we were left with a lingering love for Lille. Lille has all the French elegance combined with that Flemish charm. It’s definitely an underrated city and highly worth the stopover.