Lille, France

Lille is an amalgam of the traditional and the modern, the French and the Flemish. Wander around the streets in the Old City, take in architecture and culture and enjoy the little moments in the capital of the Hauts-de-France region

What to do
Vieux Lille (historic center)
Citadelle de Lille
Cita attraction park
Zoo Lille
Puppet theater Le P’tit Jacques
Museum of Natural History
Beffroi de Lille
Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille
LaM, Museum of Modern Art
Christmas market
Fun fair

Where to eat
What to eat
Where to stay
Practical stuff
Map

What to do

Vieux Lille (historic center)

The Vieux Lille takes up three neighboring squares, Grand Place, Place du Théâtre and Place Rihour

The Grand Place is also named place du Général de Gaulle, as Charles de Gaulle was born in Lille in 1890.

You can enjoy the architeture at one of the many cafés and restaurants around the Grand Place

Place du Théâtre, in front of the Lille Opera, the Beffroi de la Chambre de Commerce de Lille and the Vieille Bourse. This square was called Petite-Place in contrast to the Grand-Place

You can also enter the Vieille Bourse and buy some books! Built in 1652, when the city was Spanish, the bourse is made up of 24 separate houses that enclose a courtyard

Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille Cathedral is also worth a visit. Its construction started in 1854 and took almost 150 years (!) to finish. It was completed in 1999 with a modern facade. This is about 6 minutes walk from Grand Place

Citadelle de Lille

The park is about 15 minutes walk from Grand Place or 5 minutes by car.

Cita attraction park

Cita is a small and fun attraction park in Lille. It is situated right next to the Zoo Lille. As both are quite small, it is easy to visit both in one day

Cita Lille

Cita is a small and fun attraction park in Lille. It is situated right next to the Zoo Lille. As both are quite small, it is easy to visit both in one day

Zoo Lille

Zoo Lille is situated right next to the Cita-Parc, a small and fun attraction park. As both are quite small, it is easy to visit both in one day

Zoo Lille

Zoo Lille is situated right next to the Cita-Parc, a small and fun attraction park. As both are quite small, it is easy to visit both in one day

Puppet theater Le P’tit Jacques

There is also a puppet theater right across the river opposite the zoo! This is open between April and October. Some shows are suitable for kids 2+ years old, other for 3+ years old
Puppet Theater “Le P’tit Jacques”
https://lepetitjacques.fr/
1 Av. Léon Jouhaux, 59000 Lille, France
https://goo.gl/maps/2MdYqdfz6cmyudAR8

Museum of Natural History

This is a small museum with a lot of stuffed animals and skeletons. There are vivariums with alive insects and spiders. There are also several ateliers for kids. This is about 10 minutes walk away from the center
https://mhn.lille.fr/
Musée d’histoire naturelle de Lille
23 Rue Gosselet, 59000 Lille, France
https://g.page/mhnlille?share

Beffroi de Lille

You can climb up the Beffroi de Lille for a panoramic view of the city. This is not for the faint-hearted with 100 steps until the elevator. This is about 15 minutes walk from the center of Lille and quite close to the Museum of Natural History
You can book a visit here
Beffroi de Lille
Pl. Simon Vollant, 59000 Lille, France
https://goo.gl/maps/hqw5i4S8gTtDiSux6

Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille

The Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille is one of the largest art museums in France. There are family animations for kids that are 3+ and 6+ years old every Sunday and for toddlers 18 months to 3 years old on Saturday. You can reserve here. There are also ateliers for kids during school holidays. This is close to the Museum of Natural History and the Beffroi de Lille.
Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille
https://pba.lille.fr/
Pl. de la République, 59000 Lille, France
https://goo.gl/maps/9UJqg31jX5VMUj8t8

LaM, Museum of Modern Art

If you are into modern art, this is a great museum. There are ateliers for kids during school holidays, see more info here. There are also family visits organized that are suitable for kids 2-3 years old, see more info here. It is 15 minutes by car from the center (or about half an hour by public transport)
LaM, Lille Métropole Musée d’art moderne, d’art contemporain et d’art brut
https://www.musee-lam.fr/en
1 All. du Musée, 59650 Villeneuve-d’Ascq, France
https://goo.gl/maps/wCGdjyEzoqU4rmAp8

Christmas market

The Christmas market in Lille is magical, with a Ferris wheel, a carousel and a Christmas village!

Fun Fair

The Fun Fair in Lille is perfect for kids with lots of attractions. Another good reason to visit the capital of the Hauts-de-France! Usually the spring fun fair takes place during Easter school vacations and the summer fun fair end of August

Lille Fun Fair

The Foire aux manèges in Lille is perfect for kids with lots of attractions. Another good reason to visit the capital of the Hauts-de-France!
Usually the spring fun fair takes place during Easter school vacations and the summer fun fair end of August

Where to eat

There are many restaurants around the Grand Place. There is also a restaurant between Cita and the zoo, if you are spending the day in the park.

Pâtisserie Méert is famous for its waffles (which in Lille means thin waffles with vanilla cream in the middle)
Pâtisserie Méert
https://www.meert.fr/
25-27 Rue Esquermoise, 59000 Lille, France

But if you are willing to go outside the city center, the two restaurants mentioned below will make the kids happy:

Pirates Paradise is a restaurant with an indoor playground and a pirate theme – what’s not to love? (20 minutes drive from the center of Lille)
Pirates Paradise
https://lille.pirates-paradise.fr/
2 Rte de Roncq, 59960 Neuville-en-Ferrain, France
https://g.page/pirates-paradise-288?share

L’Estaminet de la Ferme Aux Oies has both indoor and outdoor playground. In winter there is a small ice rink for kids too (15 minutes drive from the center of Lille)
L’Estaminet de la Ferme Aux Oies
https://www.lestaminetdelafermeauxoies.fr/
101 Rue Pavé Stratégique, 59700 Marcq-en-Barœul, France
https://g.page/estaminetlafermeauxoies?share

What to eat

*Carbonnade Flamande: beef stewed in beer for many hours. The Flemish roots of Lille show in this dish and in many others. Also everything is stewed in beer and not in wine, another sign of the Flemish background of the city
*Le Welsch: this popular dish is ham, brown beer, tons of cheese and an egg on top of it in the end
*Waffles: in Lille this means paper thin waffles with vanilla cream in the middle! The most famous ones are from Pâtisserie Méert (see details above)

Where to stay

Anything close to the center would work. For example the Novotel Grand Place is between the Old City and the Citadelle, great location for families who want to spend their time in the center
Novotel Lille Centre Grand-Place
116 Rue De L’Hopital Militaire, 59000 Lille, France
https://goo.gl/maps/8WorpV13XMmBoCXK8

Practical stuff

*The Lille City Pass covers the museums mentioned above and a lot more. There are passes for different amounts of time, ie 24, 48, 72 hours. A travel pass for bus, tube, tram is also included. See more details here
*If you are planning to see the main things in this post, then just walking around Lille should be more or less enough. The center and the Citadelle are 15 minutes walk from each other. Going from the center to the museums around Beffroi takes also 15 minutes walk
*Public transport is free with a City Pass and is quite good. This is the official site where you can enter your itinerary and see public transport options
*Driving around Lille can be difficult, as there is a lot of traffic
*Parking: there are free places on the street, paid and park and ride places.
-Paid parking: most of the center is categorized in three zones, yellow, orange and red. You can pay at a parking meter or by a mobile app. You can find details on the zones here and the map to see where the zones are here
-Park and ride: these are free parking places next to a metro station, so you can leave your car there and hop on the metro to get to the center. You can find more details here
-Private parking:
=If you want to visit the Citadelle with the zoo and the Cita amusement park, there is paid parking next to Cita (outdoor, 500 places). It is much better to go early, otherwise the parking is very crowded and you will need to wait for cars to exit for you to go in
Parking Liberté
All. des Marronniers, 59800 Lille, France
https://goo.gl/maps/2KcY5eSnZj2api49A
=If you want to visit the center, there are several paid parking places around the center. This one is right at the Grand Place, so very convenient:
Parking Indigo Lille Grand Place
33 Pl. du Général de Gaulle, 59000 Lille, France
https://goo.gl/maps/NfY6PTecB55CUdzMA

Map

All places mentioned above are also gathered on the map: outdoor and indoor activities, kids friendly cafés/ restaurants and hotels under separate layers
*Tip: if you want to see a specific layer, you need to tap the upper left corner of the map and unselect the other layers
https://worldwildschooling.com/world-wild-schooling-map/

Processing…
Success! You're on the list.

Follow us!
Facebook
Instagram
YouTube

Let’s connect!
Facebook group for Benelux
Facebook group international