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Lille is the largest city in northern France and is also the capital of Nord-Pas-de-Calais. From the historical point of view, it is believed that the city was founded in the seventh century, though apparently it is not attested until the year of 1054. One can also say that it has a grim reputation, the most besieged city in France since the Middle Ages until the wars fought in WWI, a period when the city was under German occupation.

In terms of tourism development, Lille tries to move away from its industrial tradition, looking mainly to upgrade the historic neighborhoods and to emphasize the cultural character of the city. Proof of the success of this approach has been included into the designation as European Cultural Capital City in 2004. This was mainly because of the local authorities organizing numerous cultural events, such as bringing in 2006 an Indian atmosphere to the town.

Lille Main square

Tourists visiting this city for the first time should not miss a walk along the narrow streets, as well as the cobbled and charming Old Town district, called Vieux Lille. Here are the most famous French boutiques, where you can buy numerous items, ranging from candy and chocolate to handmade embroidery.

Another place of great cultural importance is the imposing Palais des Beaux Arts. The second art museum of France after the Louvre in Paris, Lille museum houses impressive collections of European painting, sculpture and ceramics of French artists, each having an entire department of medieval and Renaissance era dedicated to them. The museum is open on Mondays between the 14 and 18, and from Wednesday to Sunday between 10 and 18. Entry costs 5 euros and there is also a reduced rate of 3.5 euros for visitors aged between 12 and 25.

Next, only few people may know that the famous General Charles de Gaulle is a native of Lille. Today’s native home was turned into a museum where furnishings can be seen both at the time, and objects and memories of the great political family. The ticket costs 5 euros and 3 respectively and the opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday between 10 -13 and 14-17.

Lille old town in winter

Finally, as a possible visitor you should also know that the city of Lille offers many other choices for spending your free time as well, having a strongly developed transportation network that helps the tourist get there and take full advantage of their spare time.