Lille, France is right on the border of Belgium and France not too far from the coast. Instead of driving directly home from Bruges, we drove the short hour south to Lille to explore their Christmas Market. There were many mixed reviews that I had read, and when I arrived I discovered why. There were several small market areas spread out over the city center, but nothing very unique was offered. The city itself is cute. There are a couple of very picturesque buildings, but otherwise it is just like any other city. There is one exception (which I will get to at the end)… The market square we parked under (Place du General de Gaulle or Grande Place) had Christmas scenes set up all around, complete with an enormous Christmas Tree. There was a GIANT ferris wheel and Christmas music being played.
A little further down is the main Christmas Market area. There were quite a few vendors and my daughter got to ride the carousel a few times.
The building behind the gingerbread man is the same as below. It houses the Office of Tourism.
Want to see another French Christmas Market? Get ready for my Alsace Christmas Post as well!
Saint Maurice’s Cathedral was interesting-I haven’t seen a children’s play area in the sanctuary of a Cathedral before. The centuries-old artwork adorning the walls was beautiful!
We kept wandering and found Porte de Gand, a charming 1620 city gate with a restaurant at the top.
Driving out of the city, we passed the City Hall and the Paris Gate.
Now, I promised to tell you something unique about Lille. It is Euralille.
Euralille is a major business district in Lille. It includes a train station and a mall (with all the usual shops), a ginormous Carrefour grocery store, as well as restaurants, a theater, offices, apartments, conference center, exhibition center, of course a parking area, and more! Essentially, Euralille is a city within a city. It was conceptualized in 1986 when the tunnel was built between England and France. Lille is the major connecting point between London and Paris, and the city wanted to make it an exciting attraction. Euralille has it all.
After a delicious lunch at McDonalds (yes, we eat there when we travel because it is cheaper, easier, and we always know what we are getting), we headed home!