History & Culture Guide

Due to its island location amidst the River Deûle, Lille, once known as L’Isle, has quite the stormy history, having been the subject of siege no less than 11 times! Learn about the fascinating conquest of Louis XIV, how the city fast became the centre of France’s textile industry and how it was ruled as part of Belgium under the Nazi Regime. The city has so much to offer, it is difficult to choose where to visit first, however we feel these should be top of your list…

Cathedrale Notre Dame de la Treille

So named after the 12th-century figure of the Virgin worshipped throughout the city, the Cathedrale Notre Dame de la Treille was constructed in the late 19th century. However the building wasn’t completed until the 1990s! Unfortunately, you can no longer see the Virgin when you visit the cathedral as she was stolen in 1959, but don’t let that stop you visiting, it is still definitely worth going to learn about the eight neo-Gothic style chapels, see the grand organ and be captivated by the astounding 20th-century stained glass windows.

Grand Place

The Grand Place is the main square and the heart of the city, making it ‘the spot’ to take a break from shopping and plan with your friends an exciting evening ahead. At the very centre of the square is the symbol of the spirit of the city, the column of the Déesse, the goddess. Learn the story behind this historic statue and how it was built to honour the bravery of those who defended their city during the siege of Lille in 1792. Also, it is beneath this impressive monument that with some luck you might see: a local band playing, a student protest or a Fêtes de Lille parade during your visit./p>