Lille has the fourth-largest metropolitan area behind Paris, Lyon and Marseille, with an urban population over one million. It lies very close to the Franco-Belgian border, and it attracts students to it’s many universities from all over Europe. The atmosphere of Lille is the furthest I’ve encountered from a typical French city so far and that’s no bad thing! It felt a little more like Amsterdam in it’s ambiance, it’s shops, architecture and demography; throw in a tram and a canal and you’re good to go. But of course no one wants another Amsterdam, every great city is great because there shouldn’t be another like it. It’s the same for Lille, and while I didn’t spend enough time there to really get a feel for the place I would venture to say it’s one of my favourite places that I’ve visited so far in France. What can I say I’m a sucker for a big, bustling city. It didn’t feel as safe as other places I’ve visited but that’s one of the disadvantages of a big city anywhere in the world.
The light was just stunning on La Mairie around sunset, I don’t know if it’s the colour of the stone in France or the light but it’s really spectacular at dusk (visit the Pantheon in Paris at sunset after a sunny day and you will understand).
On our last night we visited a Japanese restaurant where we feasted upon a E21.50 buffet of all you can eat, with lots of vegetarian options making me a happy lady. I also managed to eat about fifty thousand courses with chopsticks, even noodles! I thought that was worth a mention, seeing as I was previously particularly inept in the use of these utensils from hell…