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Less than 2 hours away from London by Eurostar, and a world away in style and culture is the romantic and historic capital of Flanders, Lille. Get away from it all and discover all the attractions of this picturesque city, Lille in North West France.
Lille is a fascinating city with one of the country?s most prestigious art museums, and a beautiful, historic core that makes for enjoyable exploring. Add to that one of the best shopping centres at Euralille, a fun Sunday market at Wazemmes and a sprinkling of historic gems, and you have the makings of a perfect romantic city break destination. Lille is a cheerful, buzzing city, with many bars, clubs and restaurants, so you won?t find it difficult to find the perfect spot for a candle-lit dinner or a cosy, intimate bistro with friendly service. There is plenty to do in this historic town, from the Zoological Park, which breeds fascinating endangered species, to the annual eye-catching Hot Air Balloon Race ? an impressive sight, a truly unforgettable experience if you feel like taking to the skies!
At its heart lies the handsome, broad square known as Grand? Place, surrounded by tall 17th century buildings in brick and white Lezennes stone, and little side streets with cafes and bars. If you are up for a challenge, climb the 104 meter high belfry at the Hotel de Ville ? the tallest belfry in Europe, and the best view for miles around! The square is officially named after the city?s most famous son, General Charles de Gaulle (1890 ? 1970).
Lille offers fantastic shopping from boutiques, to the famous Euralille centre, situated in the east of the Old Town, conveniently next door to the Gare Lille-Europe railway station. The Braderie de Lille is Europe?s biggest flea market, and has many vibrant events and gatherings throughout the year. The Furet du Nord is here, Europe?s largest bookshop, which also hosts many literary-based cultural events and gatherings.
It is well worth setting aside an hour or two to visit the Palais des Beaux-Arts, for it has a world class collection of fine art. The Flemish and Dutch masters like Rubens and Van Dyck are well represented, as you might expect so close to the Belgian boarder, and 40 Raphael cartoons are a highlight of the displays. There are many works by French artists too, including Impressionists Monet and Renoir. For local interest there are beautiful sights such as the Citadel, Vauban?s five-point, star-shaped fortress of 1670, just to the west of the Grand? Place.
Lille is famously cheerful and friendly, the perfect city to discover by strolling along its ancient streets and relaxing in the charming atmosphere of its bars and cafes. Make your romantic getaway perfect, and book your city break with the specialists.