Be seduced by the French capital
You'll never forget the northern French city of Lille. Take in the brilliant Flemish paintings in the city's many museums or simply hang out in the beautiful Grand Place.
Dont miss the Vieille Bourse, or Old Stock Exchange, it's undeniably the city's most beautiful building. The superb interior courtyard is ideal for a moment of relaxation or a game of chess.
Clearly inspired by Rubens, the Vieille Bourse was built in 1652 and sets the tone for Lille's flamboyant, robust style. Its 24 identical houses link the city's two main squares.
The Palais des Beaux Arts sits opposite the Préfecture (prefectural office), which predates the museum by a few years. The imposing building hosts an impressive collection of European paintings, antiquities, ceramics and sculpture. In addition, the museum (the second largest in France) has some 18th-century scale models of nothern France and Belgium. Even the exhibition hall is open to the public and you can enjoy a leisurely stroll round the large reception hall, set off by an impressive colourful ceiling light, or round the garden, which is dotted with sculptures.
Tip: Be sure to check out the Rodin sculptures before you leave.
You simply can't miss the Citadelle - the massive fortress stands at the north end of Boulevard de la Liberte. Shaped like a 5-pointed star, the fortress was erected after France captured Lille in 1667.
Head to the southern part of the Citadelle and you'll find an amusement park and a small zoo. A must if you're visting Lille with the kids.
(1) Price quoted is the off peak lead in adult Standard Class return fare available for travel between midday Monday and midnight Thursday and between midday and midnight Saturday. This price is based on a compulsory return trip. Exchangeable before departure by paying a £30 fee per leg per person, plus the difference in price between the original fare and the available fare on the day in the same or higher class of service. Tickets are non refundable at any time.
© Eurasia Press, Dutton-Colin, Gérar, Hervé-Gyssels, Yves Talensac, Massimo Borchi-Sime.