It was built built from 1924 to 1932 by the architect Emile Dubuisson who was inspired by the triangular-gabled Flemish houses. Its 104 meters-high belfry is listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site.
The belfry is open for visits every days from 10am to 1pm and from 2pm to 5.30pm.
This is the work of Sébastien Leprestre, Marqui of Vauban, carried out on the order of Louis XIV, who had just conquered the town. Its construction lasted from 1667 until 1670. It was really a little town surrounded by five bastions in the form of a star with a total circumference of 2,200 metres. Building it called for the firing of 60 million bricks, and the quarrying of three million stone blocks and 70 000 pieces of sandstone. The royal entrance gate carries a Latin inscription sounding the praise of the glorious Sun King. The "Queen of Citadels" on the frontier of Flanders, formed part of a double line of strongholds between Gravelines, Dunkirk and Maubeuge/Rocroi. This was the famous "Pré Carré" conceived by Vauban to include 28 fortified towns.
- THE OLD LILLE
Remarkably restored, the Old Town enchants the eye with its flamboyant architecture. The softly dare facades that set off the exuberance and profusion of their decoration. The extraordinary diversity of the 17th century architecture is an invitation to saunter ; so look up to appreciate the perfect harmony of brick and stone.
Guided tour of Old Lille every Saturday at 10.15am.
- CATHEDRAL NOTRE-DAME DE LA TREILLE
In 1854, the idea of building an imposing basilica on this site dedicated to the Virgin Mary was born. Lille had been known for its miraculous statue of the Virgin protected by an iron trellis (hence the name “Notre-Dame de la Treille”) since the Middle Ages.
The initial project was massive: 132 metres long, with spires reaching up to over 115 metres. However, wars and financial difficulties soon put an end to these plans. With the creation of the bishopric of Lille in 1913, the basilica became a cathedral, but the project, although reduced to more modest proportions, began to drag on and the cathedral remained unfinished.It was not until the 1990s that public funding allowed for the completion of the main facade, which was inaugurated in 1999. Designed by the Lille architect Pierre-Louis Carlier, it is the product of great technical prowess and was made possible by the collaboration of Peter Rice. The central section is composed of a 30 metres high ogive covered with 110 sheets of white marble 28 millimetres thick, and supported by a metal structure. From the inside, this translucent veil reveals a surprising orange-pink colour.At the top, the glass rose window based on the theme of the Resurrection is the work of the painter Ladislas Kijno. The iron doorway is by the Jewish sculptor Georges Jeanclos.
- THE MAIN SQUARE
The Lillois' favourite meeting place offers an interesting view of the architecture from the 17th to the 20th century. Standing in the centre of the squares stands the Goddess commemorates Lille's resistance to the Austrian siege in 1792. In front of the Old Stock Exchange built from 1652 to 1653, is undoubtly the town's finest building. This building is made up fo 24 little houses around an arched courtyard. A second-hand book market as well as chess players can be seen inside. On this square is situated the Grand Garde.
The building was used to house soldiers from the sentry guard. It is now the Théâtre du Nord.
- MARCHE DE WAZEMMES
With food, flowers, fabrics and exotic products, it's one of the largest markets in France. Colourful, with a "soho" atmosphere, you'll often hear an accordion being played.
Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from 7.00 am to 2.00 pm.
Covered market from Tuesday to Saturday from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm.
Sunday and bankholidays from 8.00 am to 3.00 pm.