There’s just something nice about catching the train and having it transport you to another destination without having to worry about long queues at security nor having to hang around for a few hours in an airport lounge with no seats (I’m looking at you Stanstead!).
When an email from Eurostar flashed up on my phone during that period between Christmas and new year announcing a sale, I just couldn’t resist booking another city break.
£29 each way to Paris, Lille and Brussels? Um, yes please!
In fact, I was so excited I actually booked tickets to Paris which, whilst it would’ve be lovely, wasn’t my intended destination. Thankfully the customer service guy at Eurostar was extremely helpful and sorted it all out for me.
I decided to try a different French city and head to Lille.
I had no idea what was there but who cared, a weekend somewhere different is always nice plus I could put that French degree to good use!
We arrived in Lille quite late on Friday evening having taken the Eurostar after work. We were leaving at around 4 on Sunday afternoon so this gave us about 36 hours of solid exploring time.
Here’s what we got up to…
La piscine museum
I have a confession to make. I’m not normally a fan of museums. If you feel the same way make an exception for the piscine museum just north of Lille.
This museum is housed in what usued to be a public swimming bath and is absolutely gorgeous.
There are huge stained glass windows at either end of the pool and, when the light hts hem, a beautiful light flows into the swimming baths.
The swimming baths remain pretty muh in tact. There’s still the old changing rooms which now houses pieces of art, the pool itself is still there and you can imagine swimmers paddling up and down as you wander from one piece of art to the next.
The art itslef was also quite interesting. A mixture of sculpture, video, painting and textiles there’s something for everyone at the Piscine museum.
Details: open Tuesday- Thursday: 11 am to 18pm, Fridays 11am to 8pm, Saturday & Sundays 1pm to 6pm.
Price: 5.50 euros
Wandering the old town
Obviously this had to happen. Lille has a rather small old town but it’s a pretty one. The narrows streets areilled with little boutique type shops on every turn. Just dont eace your shopping until Sunday as you’ll find all the shops are closed.
Browsing chocolate at Meert
This chocolate shop is renownd in France and further afield for creating chocolate masterpieces.
We were in Lille before Easter so the window was full of huuuge chocolate eggs and sculptures made entirely out of chocolate.
Buy a mix and match ba of treats to keep you going as you stroll the streets of Lille
Finding the first ever Paul’s
I feel foolish for thinking that Paul’s was an American company trying to do French food. I think that’s because I saw it absolutely everywhere…
But turns out Paul’s is authenticly French and the first ever one of this global chain was in Lille.
There’s a Paul’s on what feels like every Street in Lille but the original one is actually in rue de la Mackellerie in Croix.
Riding the world’s first driverless underground train
Lille is home to the world’s first driverless underground train! The carriages and trains themsves atemuch smaller than the underground trains in London but they zip through the tunnels and around corners opening their doors and doig everything all without a driver.
It’s pretty cool to sit up front and watch the train hurtle over the tracks.