Here I have a guest post from the lovely Grace who shares somewhere she really recommends we consider for a city break. What do you think?
I recently took a trip to the beautiful French city of Lille and I fell in love. From the beautiful Parisian style boulevards to the rich history and culture, it’s an all round great city. It’s so great in fact, I think you should put it on your to do list, and here’s why…
Let’s start with money. For me how affordable a place is plays a big part in whether or not I can go. Lille is cheap as chips. Okay, well not really but it’s pretty damn reasonable to stay and play here. Especially when compared to other French cities, which in my experience aren’t too budget friendly. It won’t be the cheapest city break you’ll ever take in Europe, but if you are happy to steer clear of the tourist traps, you’ll have a great little affordable holiday.
If you are looking to explore the city as cheaply as possible I would 100% recommend joining the free walking tour. I took it myself on my first day in Lille and found it a great way to see the sights and meet other travellers. Just a word of warning, whilst these tours are technically free, they do work on a tipping basis. I’ve taken free walking tours all over Europe and I’ve found that £5 or the equivalent in local currency is usually a fair tip.
Lille is also super easy to get to, especially if you live in the South East. From the Eurostar to coach trips, and even self driving, Lille is not all that far away. Of course you can also fly there but why fork out for a flight when it’s barely 2 hours from London via the Eurostar? I’ve also found Lille is one of the first stops for many coach journeys travelling into Europe which means they are fairly regular and affordable too.
You’ll get to try the cake of dreams, the Merveilleux. You’ve never heard of a Merveilleux? Well neither had I before I nipped to Lille back in April, but believe me you have to taste one. A Merveilleux is a meringue based treat which is covered in fresh cream and then rolled in chocolate flake. Sounds amazing right? That’s because it is. They are only really found around that particular area of France and Belgium, and they are a must whilst visiting Lille. Merveilleux’s can be purchased in numerous shops in the city and retail at around €3.
Lille is also just a short train journey away from little old Belgium. That’s right, you can tick two countries off in one city break if you like and I would recommend you do. Whilst there’s lots to see and do in Lille, a day trip to Belgium really is a great way to see more of Europe in a short amount of time. There’s lots of lovely little cities in this beautiful country but I would suggest a trip to Ypres if you are a history fan like me. There you can find WW1 museum after WW1 museum and lots of battlefields and cemeteries scattered around too. It really is a history geek’s dream.
Last but not least, Lille features a host of gorgeous Parisian style boulevards whilst also maintaining a labyrinth of medieval streets. There really is a bit of everything here. You could easily spend hours exploring the winding roads, some of which are too small for cars to fit down. You could also lose track of time gazing at the slightly more modern baroque buildings found near the main square and opera house, which look like they would be featured on a postcard from Paris. One of the buildings in the city centre was actually transported brick by brick from the capital, but you’ll have to take a trip to find out which one!
All in all Lille is a great little city with so much to see and do. I think it should make it onto your bucket list this year, and I hope you think so too!
If you want to read more from Grace then pop over and check out her blog and social media.
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