The underrated city on the Eurostar with a famous market visited by millions

Known as the cheaper version of Paris, a city on France’s border with Belgium is often overlooked by those taking the Eurostar onto the continent – but it has plenty to offer.

Lille is famous for its incredible markets, but also boasts fantastic architecture and great food.

While so many miss it and head straight to more touristy destinations such as Paris or Brussels, Lille’s markets are visited by millions – and with good reason.

Writing for the , Chris Leadbeater said: “Drowned by the styles and sounds of Paris, little Lille has long been overlooked.”

It’s famous market, held in the first weekend of September every year, features an incredible range of nick-nacks, curiosities and artworks to pick up.

The city’s main square, known as Grand Place, is home to history and statues lining its edges – but becomes dominated by market stalls every year.

Mr Leadbeater said of the market, which three million are believed to attend: “Everything you never wanted – and the occasional thing you did – is on sale here.”

Markets are jam-packed with an ecclectix mix of food and drink, great works of French literature and clockwork toys.

Market in Lille

It is the largest flea market in Europe – but it isn’t the only reason to head across the Channel to Lille.

The streets have a mix of cute shops, tiny café-style bars known as estaminets, galleries and restaurants,

And there are also some of the city’s main attractions, including the Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille Cathedral and the birthplace of Charles de Gaulle.

The main square of Lille

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    It’s food is also fantastic, with its own variation of a Welsh rarebit made with beer and ham.

    There are also influences from Belgium, with waffles on sale filled with a mixture of sugar, rum and butter.

    And while beer-drinkers may think they would be out of place in the famously wine-swilling country, Lille has taken more of a Belgian inspiration, and is regarded as the beer capital of France.


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