A 50-minute tour of the city on a convertible bus, which is air-conditioned and wheelchair-accessible. The tour runs every day, every hour, all year round. It starts from the Tourist Office and includes an audio-guide available in 9 languages.
Visit the Lille Palais des Beaux-Arts: the quality of its permanent collections make it the second largest general-interest museum in France, (after the Louvre). The building is typical of late 19th-century monumental architecture. Renovated in 1997, its 22,000 m² house prestigious collections of European painting, a few examples of 19th century French painting, a large collection of drawings, a sculpture gallery and 17th and 18th century ceramics. Don’t miss the relief maps of fifteen fortified towns in Northern France and Belgium, used by the French Kings during wars.
Charles de Gaulle was born in Lille on November 22, 1890, in the house of his maternal grandparents at 9 Rue Princesse. He was baptised on the same day in the nearby Saint-André church. Listed as a Historic Monument, the house is now a museum, which recreates the atmosphere of a typical late 19th-century home of the northern French industrial middle class. The exhibited family keepsakes and personal objects are a reminder of De Gaulle’s younger days. A recently-developed multimedia centre also looks back over the great statesman’s historic work.
Every first weekend in September, Lille is home to “La Braderie”, the biggest flea market in Europe! Preceded by a half-marathon, the flea market officially opens at 2 pm on Saturday and carries on until 11 pm on Sunday. The city is transformed into a huge pedestrian zone where 10,000 traders, second-hand sellers and especially “Bradeux” (non-professional sellers) gather in a festive atmosphere. All of the city’s restaurants sell mussels and chips, and participate in an unofficial competition to see which one is able to build the highest pile of empty mussels shells: quite a sight!
This museum is housed in a former Art Deco swimming pool built by Lille architect Albert Baert between 1927 and 1932. The pool, shower cubicles and a few bathrooms have been kept to act as a background to an applied arts collection (ceramics, textiles, fashion, design furniture) and a collection of 19th and 20th century paintings and sculptures (Ingres, Dufy, Claudel, etc.)
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