5am Lille

Loving Lille

More pictures of Lille, France at ‘The Habitual Runaway’ on Facebook.

We arrived in Lille at 5am. It was never on my radar as a place to visit or stop, but Mother Nature made the decision for us.

Walking Lille

Having just exited Belgium with its lack of road side amenities, we were both in desperate bathroom need. We figured there might be a café or bakery open, so we thought we might eat too.

I have been to France a number of times before and driven most of the main highway routes, so it was a bit surprising to me to find such a ‘treasure’ in Lille.

Streets in Lille

I don’t say that often, but honestly, it was spectacular. Ornate and ostentatious, Lille is deserving of much grander fanfare than it generally receives.

No one has ever suggested I visit, I have never heard a rave review or even seen it highlighted in a travel log, until my recent research.

Vieux Lille

The streets of Lille warrant a good walk, so even though we needed to pee and had missed a nights sleep, (Brussels the previous day, Ghent overnight and Lille in the morning with only a 3 hour nap!) walk we did.

I gasped at every turn – such grandiose architecture! Clean cobblestone streets and cute shops (‘The Workshop of the Green Witch’ – love it!).

Workshop of the Green Witch

Of course, being there at 5am, none of them were open, but the roads were blissfully empty which makes for great photo taking and lots of goofy ‘running through the streets’ type behaviour.

Or maybe that was as a result of being over tired – either way, the streets of Lille were ran, the fountains jumped through and the alleys fouled with our urine (yes, we did).

Voie Du Nord

Sorry Lille, we loved you, but we really, reallyreally had to pee. We tried to find a respectful spot, if that helps – and I promise we searched until the second before I pee’d my pants for a public (or even private) toilet!

(Don’t ask me why I have to make my embarrassing confessions publicly – perhaps this is the only way I can apologize to the decent citizens of Lille for unintentionally disrespecting their beautiful city!)

Grand Place Lille

Standing in the centre of Grand Place Lille (the only in Europe without a central Church after the ‘Austrian Issue), is a statue affectionately referred to as ‘the Goddess’.

She towers over everything else in the medieval sky line, making for a great photo with the early morning sky as a backdrop.

In front of Grand Place, Lille

I put Lille in my book as a place worthy of a second visit. While researching recently, I discovered that Lille is full of fantastic celebrations, carnivals and festivals – my favourite is a yearly night that museums stay open free of charge until 1am!

How fantastic is that? I think we could use a similar injection of ‘free culture’ around here.

Our next mission – to head out and find a place for a long nap!

Many additional photos in the slideshow.

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You can follow this trip by heading to the ‘8 Country EU Tour‘ section, and you can enjoy many more photos of France by heading to the Habitual Runaway on Facebook.


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8 responses to “5am Lille

  1. Lille is one of the pearls of France, but I have to admit that I’ve never visited it myself (although it’s less than one hour by train from our capital Brussels). In 2004, it was European Capital of Culture (next year this is Marseille, could be interesting for you as well: http://marseillecityofculture.eu/capital-of-culture.html) Just wanted to include this article about Lille: http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2004/feb/08/lille.france.observerescapesection. I do have plenty of friends who love art, culture, good food and architecture and they all loved Lille so I hope you will have the chance to go back one day!


    • Thank you so much for the links! Yes, it was gorgeous! I absolutely hope to make it back again. Completely unexpected!


  2. Selected this semi-randomly out of the places you have visited because I was once on a walking tour of Greenwich and an elderly couple also on the walk had retired there. They were full of praise for it, and so it’s on my “maybe, someday” list.


    • I am happy to hear that it was referred to you – Lille went completely unnoticed to me until we happened upon it. It is a gorgeous, friendly place. If you ever make it out, you will love it =)


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