Pretty little city on the Eurostar that’s cheaper and closer than Paris

Pretty little city on the Eurostar that’s cheaper and closer than Paris

When travelling to France for a long weekend, most people chose Paris as their preferred destination.

With its plethora of museums, cafes and restaurants along with its beautiful public spaces and leafy boulevards, the French capital is an ideal place for a short break to recharge the batteries.

Yet like most popular big cities, it can suffer from a surplus of tourists, leading to overcrowding in museums and ever increasing prices for accommodation.

Yet there is a wonderful alternative to Paris for those willing to try out something a little different.

Lille is just an 82-minute direct train ride on Eurostar from London, with tickets costing as little as £38 one way.

Its streets are warm and friendly, brimming with lively restaurants, cafés and designers from Hauts-de-France.

The city also boasts a local cuisine second to none that is full of unique flavours and won’t break the bank.

Lille has plenty to keep those interested in art and culture busy during a three to four day stay.

Culture vultures should make sure to head for Le Palais des Beaux-Arts and Les Maisons Folies.

Travellers planning a trip in the autumn should try and time their stay for the first weekend in September.

This is when the unmissable Braderie de Lille street market is held, an institution in its own right.

It is the largest flea market in Europe and in 2014 there was reported to be 100km of market stalls and over 10,000 exhibitors.

During the Braderie, the city also hosts a music festival, where concert goers can gorge themselves on moules-frites – one of the traditional meals associated with Lille.

The city is famous for being the birth place of Charles de Gaulle, one of the most influential French leaders in modern times.

De Gaulle once memorably said that for his fellow townspeople “it is the truth that counts, not the frills and fripperies.”

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