Lille is a city in northern France (French Flanders). It is the principal city of the Lille Métropole, the fourth-largest metropolitan area in the country behind those of Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Lille is situated on the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium. It is the capital of the Nord-Pas de Calais region and the prefecture of the Nord department.
The original inhabitants of this region were the Gauls who were followed by Germanic peoples, the Saxons and the Frisians, and the Franks later. From 830 until around 910, the Vikings invaded Flanders. After the destruction caused by Norman and Magyar invasion, the eastern part of the region was ruled by various local princes.
For five years, from 1708 to 1713, the city was occupied by the Dutch, during the War of the Spanish Succession. Throughout the 18th century, Lille remained profoundly Catholic. It took little part in the French Revolution, though there were riots and the destruction of churches. In 1790, the city held its first municipal elections.
In 1792, in the aftermath of the French Revolution, the Austrians, then in the United Provinces, laid siege to Lille. Although Austrian artillery destroyed many houses and the main church of the city, the city did not surrender and the Austrian army left after eight days.
|Chamber of Comerce|
Euralille is Lille's largest shopping centre and offers popular clothing chains, as well as the Carrefour hypermarket. Situated between the two train stations, Gare Lille Flandres and Gare Lille Europe, and right in the heart of the city near dozens of hotels, Euralille is easily accessible to travellers coming into the city.
There are dozens of upscale boutiques (e.g. Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Hugo Boss, Kenzo) and trendier, independent stores located in Vieux Lille.
Food lovers would definitely be recommended to visit Lille. There are hundreds of little patisseries selling more cakes than I knew existed, as well as a number of chocolate shops. Guillaume Vincent (12 Rue du Cure Saint Etienne), sells exquisitely decorated chocolates which, judging from their taste, must have about 90% cocoa solids.
- Lille Cathedral, the Basilica of Notre Dame de la Treille , is a Roman Catholic cathedral and basilica, and a national monument of France. It has been the seat of the Bishop of Lille since the creation of the diocese in 1913, although construction of the church of Notre Dame de la Treille began in 1854. The church takes its name from a 12th century statue of the Virgin Mary.
- The Citadel of Lille is a pentagon-shaped citadel of the city wall of Lille. It was built around 1668. It hosts the Corps de réaction rapide France. Dubbed "Queen of the citadels" (Reine des citadelles) by Vauban, it is one of the most notable citadels designed by Vauban. The citadel was part of a double line of fortified towns of Gravelines, Dunkirk and Maubeuge-Rocroi. It was famous pré carré ("square field"), conceived by Vauban comprising 28 fortified cities. Starting from Lille, Vauban supervised the construction of the many citadels and channels of the North, which controlled the border between France and Belgium.
- The Vieille Bourse (Old stock exchange), built from 1652 to 1653, is undoubtly the town's finest building. This building is made up of 24 little houses around an arched courtyard. A second-hand book market can be seen inside. In summer, the area is brimming with people as Chess tournaments and dancing demonstration are held here.
- The Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille is one of the largest museums in France, and the largest French museum outside of Paris. It was one of the first museums built in France, established under the instructions of Napoleon I at the beginning of the 19th century as part of the popularisation of art : Jean-Antoine Chaptal's decree of 1801 selected fifteen French cities (among which Lille) to receive the works seized from churches and from the territories occupied by the armies of Revolutionary France.
The museum opened in 1809 and was initially housed in a church confiscated from the Récollets before being transferred to the city's town hall. In 1866, the "musée Wicar", formed from the collection of Jean-Baptiste Wicar, was merged into the Palais des Beaux-Arts. Construction of the Palais's current Belle Époque-style building began in 1885 under the direction of Géry Legrand, mayor of Lille, and it was completed in 1892. The architects chosen to design the new building were Edouard Bérard (1843 - 1912) and Fernand Etienne-Charles Delmas (1852 - 1933) from Paris. The building is located on the place de la République, in the center of the city, facing the préfecture of Lille. It was renovated during the 1990s and reopened in 1997. Its sculptures, paintings, drawings, ceramics and so on include works by Raphael, Donatello, Van Dyck, Tissot, Rembrandt, Goya, El Greco, Toulouse-Lautrec, Delacroix, Rubens, Rodin, Claudel and Jean-Baptiste Chardin.
- Chamber of Commerce. Created in 1701 by Louis XIV, the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie (the Chamber of Commerce and Industry) had its headquarters in different parts of the town before a building was purposely built for holding it in the face of rapid industrial development. Situated at the entrance of the boulevard Carnot, opened in 1909 by the engineer Alfred Mongy to link Lille to Roubaix andTourcoing, this building is the work of the Lille architect Louis-Marie Cordonnier, who constructed the Opéra as well as theAmsterdam Stock Exchange. Designed in a neo-regionalist style, the building is directly inspired by the rang du Beauregard (1687) (Beauregard Row) situated just opposite. Towering at 76 metres high, the belfry embodies the power and the might of European market cities.
The Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille