Today I want to share my Lille sightseeing guide with you. This city in the Hauts-de-France region in the north of France is a great place to visit. It even makes a great day trip from London to Europe.

Lille Sightseeing

Lille Sightseeing

So why am I in Lille? Last week I got an invitation for a press trip to Europe with Eurostar. It would take me to one of six cities in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, or France. Wherever I went, I would travel via Lille.

Lille Sculpture

At first I was under the impression I would get to choose my destination. I put the question out to my followers on Facebook, and most respondents voted for Avignon.

I was leaning towards that city anyway, as it and Cologne were the only two on the list I hadn’t visited. However, it turned out Eurostar chose for me. They must have been mind readers, because they chose Avignon, too.

Not only was I excited to travel to the south of France, but also to have a layover in the north on which I could do some Lille sightseeing.

Lille Door

Eurostar to Lille

My boyfriend and I boarded the Eurostar to Avignon and settled into our seats for the journey via Lille.

Not long later, we won a camera by being the first ones in our group to fill out a Eurostar-themed crossword puzzle on the train. Not a bad way to start off the trip!

Lille Restaurant

Things to See in Lille

When we reached the continent, we had a two-and-a-half hour layover in Hauts-de-France. I was excited to do some Lille sightseeing.

The train pulled into Lille Europe station and my boyfriend and I quickly found the left luggage office, dropped off our bags, and set out to discover the city.

Lille Sightseeing in Place du General de Gaulle

The only analogy I can think of for Lille is my childhood jewelry box. On my fifth birthday I opened a present to find a white wooden box inside.

The exterior of the box, with a few paisley designs, was nothing special. But the interior was all pink and gold and mirrors and ballerinas. It was magical.

Lille Brasserie

So was Lille. When we first stepped out of the train station, we found ourselves in the midst of a business district.

Boxy towers stood side-by-side with the Crowne Plaza Euralille hotel, which was followed by a giant shopping center. It was the plain exterior.

Lille Contemporary Architecture

A short walk from the station brought us to Vieux-Lille, the old town. This was the sparkling interior. Rue de la Monnaie alone was enough to evoke the pink, gold, and mirrors of my childhood with its fuchsia Antoine et Lili shop.

The rest of the street was full of boutiques, wine bars, and restaurants I could have spent days exploring.

Lille Antoine et Lili Shop

Unfortunately I didn’t have days. With only two hours to do as much Lille sightseeing as we could, my boyfriend and I had to hurry. Of course, ‘hurry’ in our terms meant eating quickly.

Lille Bakery

We first found ourselves a waffle at a cute shop in Lille called Honey & Pie. Then we made our way to a boulangerie-patisserie called Aux Merveilleux de Fred, where we purchased a loaf of raisin bread.

Lille Cathedral

Moving onto Lille sightseeing of the non-culinary variety, we made our way past Lille Cathedral to the main square, Place du General de Gaulle.

There we saw the stunning Old Stock Exchange and other beautiful buildings that were reminiscent of the Grand Place in Brussels and the main square in Antwerp. It was the highlight of our Lille sightseeing excursion.

Place du General de Gaulle, Lille

We explored the square for a while, then headed back to Lille Europe train station. We said our good-byes to the historic city center and closed the lid on the jewelry box we’d discovered en route to Avignon.

Lille Shop

Lille Sightseeing Highlights

As our train pulled out of the station, we strained our eyes to see the last of the magical interior until the lid was shut. We hoped Avignon would prove as jewel-box pretty as Lille. Stay tuned to find out…

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Lille Sightseeing

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