Cities of France: Lille
The largest city in Northern France and one of the largest industrial centers of the country, Lille (Lille, Rijsel) has long been known as one of the architectural masterpieces. It is believed that the city was founded in 640. NS., Although the first mention of him appears in the archives from 1066. Founded as a Count Residence in the middle of difficult marshes (from here and the name of the city, which from both languages is translated as "Island") Since the XII century, it turns into one of the largest centers of weaving business, it is growing rapidly and rich, and now the city agglomeration extends far beyond the limits of the old city and long-dried swamps, while leaving the territory of Belgium.
Old Lille spread around the square Grand Place and towering on her east side Stock Exchange (XVII B.) – Bright testimony of the wealth of his merchants. Recently cleared courtyard courtyard serves as a picturesque market, which sells books and flowers, and towering in the center of the square Column Fountain Erected in memory of the Austrian Siege of 1792. At the nearby Du Theater Square, you can see how Flemish Renaissance architecture smoothly replaced by the French style as the city has increasingly focused on the metropolis. Bright example of this characteristic style – opera www.Opera-Lille.FR, built at the turn of the XIX and XX century, as well as a neighboring new exchange with the bell tower (now here is the office of the regional chamber).
On the northern side of these two areas, the chic streets of the best shops and restaurants of the city begins – Esquermoise and Lepelletier, leading just to "Heart" Old Lille (Square between D’Angleterre Streets, Du Pont-Neuf, Porte De Gand, De La Monnaie and Lion-d’OR) with its labyrinth terraces, cobbled alleys and narrow streets. Business card of this area – built in the XII century Shelter Komtes (Rue de la Monnaie, 32) with his Garden of medicinal plants, Nearby Malavey hall (often used for concerts) and Chapel of the same period. Nearby is I Charles de Gaulle House Museum, in which this politician was born on November 2, 1890. Other good notable landmarks – Cathedral Notre Dame de la Trey (1854-1999.) and Citadel Lille (built by Voban in the XVII in.), limiting the old city from the North-West. The complex is still under the control of the army, but from May to August, on Sundays, you can visit it within an organized excursion (cost – 7 euros).
South of Grand Place is the area of Rihour and the old one adjacent to it Castle, which now houses the tourist office of the city. From here it begins another popular shopping street – de Bethune, withdrawn to the built-in cozy cafes of the same name area and Museum of elegant arts (Open 14.00 to 18.00 on Mondays, from Wednesday to Sunday – with 10.00 to 18.00; Login – 4.6 euros) on the area De La Republique. A few hundred meters south, near Green Avenue Jean-Baptiste Lebas, a modest complex is towering Museum of natural history (open from Monday to Saturday, with 9.00 to 12.00 and from 14.00 to 17.00, on Sundays – from 10.00 to 17.00; Login – 2.3 euros).
Thanks to the network of high-speed trains Eurostar and TGV, Lille has become the large transport center of Northern Europe, which urban authorities are successfully used by turning the city to the International Business Center. The ultra-modern complex EURALILLE behind the Old Station is just a central node of this network, while at the same time being a bright architectural monument of the city.
Around the city
Suburb Vilnev-d’Ass (Villeneuve d’ASCQ, 8 km from the city center) is also a popular tourist object. These are many hectares of park spaces, old windmills, a whole series of miniature lakes and the famous Museum of Contemporary Art (open daily, except Thursday, from 10.00 to 18.00; Login – 6.5 euros).
15 km north-east of the center of Lille, directly opposite the Belgian border, lies another former suburb, which has long been fastened to the city agglomeration – Rube (Roubaix). Former large wool production center, now he is known as one of the most picturesque areas of the city, saturated with old mansions (many of them only recently restored after bombing of the Second World War), the old town hall, the Museum of Industrial Art and the Jacquard Museum, as well as many cozy cafes.
Right in the heart of a large industrial area, 40 km south of Lille, lies heavily injured in both world wars, but still surprisingly attractive and living city Due (Douai). His beautiful streets and buildings of the XVIII century are framed by the valley of the river and canal. In the Middle Ages, the city became a shelter for Catholics who fled from the Protestant terror of Tudor England, later turning into the residence of the Flemish authorities, and then a rich merchant city. It is worth seeing a massive gothic bell tower of the Town Hall with its collections of bells (62 samples – the largest collection in Europe), and every quarter of the bells of the bell beat off the battle, and on the weekend they give watch "Concerts". Also good unusual haberdashery store on the Rue Bellegambe with his facade in the Art Nouveau style, the baroque dome and the bell tower of Saint-Pierre church (XVIII in.), the oldest church of Due – Notre Dame (XII in.), medieval gate of Pore-Valencienne, the old building of the Flemish Parliament, the wonderful Museum of Ansen-Chartresse.
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