My friend Emma and I spent the day travelling to Lille, a town near the border of Belgium and known for its Ch’ti French. Walking from the train station towards the city center, we were surprised by how different the architecture was from Paris. Instead of the fairly uniform white buildings with iron balconies, the buildings were shades of yellow, orange and red with varying styles and even sizes!
Our first stop was Paroisse Saint Maurice, a church we stumbled upon on the way to the city center. The exterior was really beautiful; a classic example of Gothic architecture. Unfortunately, the interior could have used a little more up-keep, though we also realize we are lucky to be in a city with the desire and means to preserve art.
We continued to the main square, where we found the original Paul (!!), a cute flea market and even more beautiful architecture.
We wandered towards Notre Dame de la Treille, probably the weirdest church I have ever been to. It has been half modernized, so the facade and entrance area are modern. When you walk towards the back, however, you enter the original structure, which is much more typical. I did like the artworks and the many mosaics that was throughout the church.
Next we headed to Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse, an art and Lille history museum. The museum building itself reminded me a bit of Château de Blois, with the distinct architectural styles. It was a lot more colorful, which I really loved. I knew nothing about Lille history, so it was cool to learn more about the different influences I was seeing throughout the town.
At this point we were really hungry, so thanks to TripAdvisor we found a cute local street. Apparently Saturday lunch it the time to go out in Lille, and we were turned away from a few restaurants at first. Then, it took up about 20 minutes to order because not only was the menu in Ch’ti, a French dialect of sorts, it was also mostly Belgian food, which we were completely unfamiliar with. The food ended up being really good, and I got to try some real Belgian beer!
Next we headed to Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille, which had a really great decorative arts collection. We walked around the museum for about two or three hours before we crashed pretty badly. We headed back towards the train station, which was warm and had a lot of shopping, grabbed something for dinner and headed back to Paris.