The insider’s guide to Lille: where to eat, drink, shop & stay

Insiders guide to Lille - MyFrenchLife™

When I informed my friends and family of my choice to live in Lille for my year abroad, I was naturally greeted with responses like: “Do you really enjoy rain that much?“ and “Don’t you mean Lyon?” It would seem that not much else exists north of Paris…

Yes, the rain may fall more often here than it does in St Tropez, but it certainly doesn’t ruin the parade. It is simply impossible not to fall in love with Lille and the warm welcome of the Chti’s.

We’ve compiled a guide to Lille, with a list of all the best places to eat, drink, shop and sleep – basically everything you need for a fantastic stay in this northern French city!

Where to eat?


No visit to Lille would be complete without visiting this famous French institution: Meert. Opening in 1761, this humble sweet shop has transformed into a legendary patisserie, providing delicious, sugary treats for the likes of King Leopold and Lille’s own Charles de Gaulle who was a huge fan of the famous ‘Meert’ gaufre. Come and give into temptation!

27 rue Esquermoise, 59000 Lille

MyFrenchLife™ - guide to lille - Meert

L’Assiette du Marché

Located on Rue de la Monnaie, L’Assiette du Marché is a fabulous restaurant right in the centre of Vieux Lille. Follow the cobbled streets to a beautiful, open courtyard for fabulous al-fresco dining, if weather permits. Dining inside this wonderful, historic building is equally a delight, with some of the finest, modern French cuisine in Lille.

61 Rue de la Monnaie, 59000 Lille

Where to drink?

Le Café Livres

MyFrenchLife™ - guide to lille - le danday

Situated in Vieux Lille is Le Café Livres, a coffee shop dream for all book lovers. Grab yourself a drink and cosy up in the corner with one of the many French  books that are a part of this library-cum-café. There are often acoustic nights and poetry readings scheduled, showcasing plenty of local talent.

35 Rue de Bouchers, 59000 Lille

Le Dandy

Although it may be small, Le Dandy is a wonderful cocktail bar spread across three different levels with a wonderful ambiance. The selection of drinks is just as quirky as the furnishings, with some of the most spectacular looking and tasting cocktails. A firm favourite amongst tourists, expatriates and locals alike.

67 Rue Basse, 59000 Lille

Where to shop?

Vieux Lille

Not only is the quartier of Vieux Lille one of the most beautiful areas to take a little promenade, but its intertwining, cobbled streets are also full of one-off French boutiques and high-end designer shops. Shopping until you drop is most definitely a possibility.

MyFrenchLife™ - guide to lille - lille vieux

Vieille Bourse

This market, located in the grounds of the Vieille Bourse, is small, yet packed with amazing antique finds. From vintage film posters, old currency and a wealth of beautifully bound, classic French books. If you lust after all things retro and unique, make sure to stop by this market, which runs every Tuesday to Sunday from 1 until 7pm.

Place du Général de Gaulle, 59000 Lille

Vintage Store

Aptly titled ‘Vintage Store’, this shop does what it says on the tin – or more so the front window. Despite only being a small shop, it is full to the brim with brilliant bargains and one-off vintage finds from high-end brands such as Chloé, Moschino and Louis Vuitton, to name but a few. Guaranteed to always find a treasure!

5 Rue de la Barre, 59000 Lille

Where to stay?

MyFrenchLife™ - guide to lille - garmois

L’Hermitage Gantois

If you’re looking to splurge and treat yourself to a fabulous, luxurious stay whilst visiting the capital of the North, then L’Hermitage Gantois is the only worthy option. The incredible building has a rich history, dating back to 1462 when it was constructed as a hospice for the old and poorly. The rooms reflect the building’s vintage feel and architecture, whilst the piano bar adds a modern touch to one of the finest hotels in Lille.

224 Rue de Paris, 59000 Lille

So what are you waiting for? Lille is only a 1h and 20 minute train journey via Eurostar from London. It really never has been so easy to ‘pop’ over the Channel, and see what this magnifique ville has to offer!

Have you been to Lille? What are your favourite things to do and see in this French city?

Image credits:
1. Lille, via Wikimedia.
2 – 5 © Clare Povey.

About the Contributor

Clare Povey

My love of France started during my first French lesson, and has led me to study French at university, work in Lille, and ultimately be a contributor for MyFrenchLife™. What could be better than sharing all things French with other equally passionate Francophiles? Follow me on Twitter and Google+.

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