Ah Lille ! As you may already know, I did all my studies in this city. It represents a big part of my life and will always stay in my heart. Two of my best friends still live there and that gives me the opportunity to go back on a regular basis but not as much as I would like to. Lille is such a beautiful city! You don’t believe me ? Follow me and you will see !
I have the impression that I enjoy this city and its architecture even more since I left it. I don’t know if it is because I grew up and I see things from a different perspective or if it is because it’s easier to like a city you don’t live in anymore just like we get along better with our parents after we’ve left home.
Anyway, the more I go back to Lille and the more I stop in front of every building to admire its architecture.
This post won’t be a city guide because I haven’t lived in this city for 5 years. Furthermore, the places I used to go to no longer represent places I like to go today. Let’s simply stroll in the Vieux-Lille areas that I like so much.
Place du Général de Gaulle (Grand’ Place) :
This is the historic and main square of the city.
What I like the most is the “Vieille Bourse”: 24 individual homes facing an inner courtyard where second-hand book sellers, antique dealers and chess players meet in the afternoon.
Place Gilleson :
Behind Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille, there is an adorable square that looks like a small village: place Gilleson, where old houses that seemed to overlap each other preceded by wooden bridges. It has an undeniable charm!
The architecture of Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille cathedral might seem odd with its mix of tradition and modernity but when the sun is shining on it, it offers a spectacular scenery: its marble façade becomes translucent and lets the sunlight go through it!
Rue des 3 Mollettes :
Rue des 3 Mollettes is a cute little street in the Vieux-Lille facing Gilleson square.
I also love very much this design shop in front of La Treille cathedral: Les Meubles de Septentrion (2 rue des 3 Mollettes 59000 LILLE).
Rue de Weppes :
Via rue des 3 Mollettes you can reach rue de Weppes, a little architectural curiosity in the middle of the Vieux-Lille.
Not only it is worth a look for its charm but also it’s a good shortcut to access rue Esquermoise by a little wooden passage.
Rue Esquermoise :
Here is what rue Esquermoise looks like. It is one if the main streets of the Vieux-Lille and one of the oldest. It’s in this street that you can find the famous Meert patisserie but we will talk more about it at the end of this post.
Place aux Oignons :
From La Treille forecourt, don’t miss « la place aux Oignons » (litterally onions square). On this square you feel as though you were back to the XIV and XVth centuries. The antique dealers, the charming boutiques and the famous saloon “Au Vieux De La Vieille” contribute to recreate a picturesque atmosphere.
Place Louise de Bettignies :
This beautiful square is bordered by beautiful typical houses which are characteristic Flemish residences from this historical district.
Ilot Comtesse :
L’Ilot Comtesse is a green space where it’s nice to have a picnic on warm summer days.
Rue de la Monnaie :
It’s the famous Vieux-Lille street where the XVIIth and XVIIIth century brick houses recall Flemish paintings.
Jardin de l’Abbaye de Loos :
This is a small haven far from the hustle and bustle of the city that I just discovered recently.
The charm of the Vieux-Lille :
In general, you can say that I love the Vieux-Lille for its colorful facades, its Flemish architecture mixing red bricks and stones, its bow-windows, its lovely doors, its moldings, its cobbled streets, its private mansions…
It is now impossible for me to go to Lille without stopping at Meert and savor their delicious waffle stuffed with Madagascar vanilla with a fragrant tea and a patisserie (the waffle is small hi hi). It’s funny because when I was living in Lille, I never went there and now if I don’t have my waffle I’m in a bad mood. Even though we now have Meert in Paris, I never go both because I would like to maintain this as an exclusive pleasure from Lille and I prefer to savor this moment in their wonderful tea room!
Meert – 27 rue Esquermoise – 59000 LILLE
Finally as in Paris, Lille is full of hidden treasures in small private courtyards that I love to discover by surprise.
In a few words, Lille seduces by its flamboyant architecture. It’s a jewel that invites strolling with the head in the air to be able to appreciate all its niceties, but it’s also a warm city where it feels good to live. I spent amazing years there, met wonderful people and came out of my shell. I can say that it’s Lille that made the woman I am today. Lille is and will remain my “city of heart”. <3