HI Hostels Blog

Things to do for free in Lille

Head for the North, at the crossroads of Europe. In Lille, a friendly welcome and a festive tradition warm the cockles of your heart! A university city, Lille is constantly on the go. A fun affordable getaway inspired by this selection of “great ideas”.

The must-visit Braderie

Lille and its Braderie go hand in hand Europe’s largest flea market is thought to have been around since the Middle Ages. Needless to say, it’s turned into a real institution! With a programme of events and a picturesque, multicultural atmosphere, it’s a must for all bargain hunters on the 1st weekend in September – Saturday lunchtime to Sunday evening.

Not to be missed

Don’t know Lille? Enjoy a panoramic view of the city and its surroundings from the top of the Beffroi (belfry of Lille City Hall), absolutely free on the 1st Wednesday of every month. It’s well worth the 104-metre climb.

Stroll through the narrow streets of Old Lille. Take in the Grand Place and pause a while: you are in the second most beautiful square in France. Admire the architecture of the Vieille Bourse (Old Stock Exchange) and the Grand Garde, now the Théâtre du Nord.

Go back in time to the remnants of the city’s fortifications: three city gates and above all the citadel built on the orders of Louis XIV. Tempted by a glimpse of this attraction? Unlock some of the citadel’s secrets via this virtual tour.

Prefer a guided tour? Contact a greeter: these residents of Lille or the surrounding area will offer you a free themed tour of their city, subject to booking: http://nord.greeters.website/

What about free museums?

You can also visit a museum free of charge: you just need to be in the right place at the right time. There are a host of museums in Lille and on the 1st Sunday of each month, admission is free. Worth a visit: the Palais des Beaux-Arts (Fine Arts Museum) , Musée d’Histoire Naturelle (Natural History Museum) , Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse (originally a hospital, now a town museum and gallery) .

For more ‘off the beaten path’ destinations, why not visit the Gare Saint-Sauveur in the city centre, once a station, it has now been renovated into a cultural and leisure space. Exhibitions, festivals, concerts, cinema screenings… Check out the schedule! Events are often free, as is the family guided tour of the exhibitions every Saturday and Sunday, which must be booked.

Explore the city’s green spaces

Why not share a picnic with other visitors to the youth hostel? Far away from the bustle of city life, here are just some of the peaceful green spaces to explore in Lille.

Looking for even more nature? Located in the heart of the Citadel park, admission to the Lille zoo is free. In a leafy setting, the habitat of endangered species, it’s just a stone’s throw away from the city centre.

A little tip to help you find out more

Download the free atipi.tv app which lets you explore and zoom in on interesting sites and read descriptive content. 7 places to explore in Lille. It’s easy and it’s FREE!

Any other top tips for places to visit in Lille? Add them as comments for other visitors to share.

Enjoy your trip to the capital of Flanders and see you soon at the new Youth Hostel , which opened on 5th October 2015!

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