What to see in France

Discovering the treasures of Lille and its campsites

Lille, Capitale des Flandres et des Hauts-de-France
Lille, Capitale des Flandres et des Hauts-de-France


Art and history are the two words that best describe the city of Lille. A former merchant city and now the fourth largest city in France in terms of population, the city made a new start twenty years ago by emphasising its modernity. Very touristic and always on the move, the inhabitants of Lille, whose kindness is no longer to be proven, have also managed to put forward an architectural heritage of more than ten centuries.


There is no shortage of campsites to discover the beautiful city of Lille. Often less expensive than a hotel, the campsite pleases all the family and the children always find their happiness there. Around Lille, the town of Houplines is located 17 kilometres from the centre of Lille and offers four campsites, one of which is naturist. The campsite L'Image*** is located on the edge of a pond and is open all year round. The campsite Les Alouettes** is also located on the edge of a pond. Finally, the town offers you the La Cour du Roy** campsite. Only 12 kilometres from the centre of Lille, the town of Sainghin-en-Mélantois has a campsite, Caravaning du Grand Sart** with 74 pitches and open all year round.

The Palace of Fine Arts

It is the second richest French museum in terms of the number of works exhibited. It includes European and French paintings and sculptures (Goya, Delacroix, Courbet, Claudel, Rodin, David...). The museum has also opened a Renaissance and Middle Ages area. Its 19th century architecture is remarkable for amateurs. In order to satisfy the whole family or all generations, the Palais des Beaux-Arts offers workshops for children, open all year round, but also visits for families, with a touch pad.

The Old Stock Exchange

Considered one of the most prestigious monuments in the city, the Vieille Bourse was classified as a historical monument in 1921 and again in 1923. The inner courtyard is surrounded by 24 identical interlocking houses. Located in Old Lille, it is also a witness to an intense economic activity as well as to a prosperous period of the city. Thanks to restoration work, the Vieille Bourse has kept all its light and freshness of yesteryear. In the courtyard, you can meet booksellers and even admire tango dancers during the summer. A pleasant moment to share with the family.

The magnificent building of the Vieille Bourse in Lille
The magnificent building of the Vieille Bourse in Lille© IStock

The town hall

Largely inspired by Flemish architecture (houses with triangular gables) and built at the beginning of the 20th century by the architect Emile Dubuisson, the great interior hall of the town hall is spectacular with its rows of pillars and its 107 metres long. There is an impressive collection of contemporary art, as well as a fresco by the artist Erro, which tells the story of the city in cartoons. It is possible to climb the 104-metre-high belfry, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is a symbol of the freedom of the northern cities.

The town hall and its belfry in Lille
The town hall and its belfry in Lille© IStock

The Rihour Palace

The history of this monument is tumultuous since, since its construction in 1473 and which lasted 20 years, the Palais Rihour knew at first two fires in 1700 then 1756 and a third in 1916 after having been recognized as Historic Monument in 1876. The palace was razed to the ground in 1918 and only the 15th century chapel and the staircase escaped the flames. Today events are organised in the chapel with its magnificent stained glass windows and cross vault.

Place du Général-de-Gaulle

Also known as the Grand-Place, it is located in the heart of the city. In the Middle Ages it was used for trade and commerce. The Voix du Nord building is crowned with three graces representing the three provinces of the region. The Vieille Bourse, which I mentioned earlier, remains the image of opulence. It is also the place where the people of Lille meet, a place of celebration, but it is also where the famous braderie takes place every year.

The Place du Général de Gaulle, also called Grand-Place in Lille
The Place du Général de Gaulle, also called Grand-Place in Lille© IStock

The Citadel

Designed, built and then named by Vauban the "queen of citadels", it is a military defence work built in the 17th century, of great architectural quality and today very well preserved. The building has been classified as a historical monument since 2012. The Citadelle is still occupied by the army, but it remains open to the public. The gardens of the Citadel are the green lung of the city. It is also a pleasant place to discover with the family, with an abundance of flora and fauna. Children's games are available in summer and the zoo also occupies part of the park. A visit that will please both children and parents.


See all my campsites consulted