Lille for under £100 a night: A budget guide to the youthful French city that Britons can reach in under two hours from London by Eurostar

  • Lille’s large student population lends the city its youthful energy and buzz
  • Tour around a museum that’s housed in a disused Art Deco swimming baths
  • READ MORE:  The top 50 cocktail bars in the UK for 2023 are named

Lille, the capital of French Flanders, is the perfect place for a weekend break 

Lille’s population of more than 100,000 students — gives the capital of French Flanders a youthful energy and buzz. Plus, there’s plenty of affordable places to eat and drink, some compelling art galleries, an attractive old town and easy transport links — making the northern French city the perfect place for a weekend break. 


Hotel La Valiz

Handy for the Lille-Flandres railway and metro stations and the sprawling Westfield Euralille shopping centre, Hotel La Valiz is a stylish three-star that had a complete overhaul in 2018. B&B doubles from £67 (

Hotel de la Treille

Stay at Hotel de la Treille, a bolthole that’s located in the heart of the cobbled old town (pictured)

In the heart of the cobbled old town, Hotel de la Treille seems to blend in with its centuries-old neighbours despite being built in 1988. Its style mixes traditional with contemporary — bits of wrought iron and gilt with subtle dark tones and modern furnishings.

Doubles from £74 (

Hotel Brueghel

On a cobbled pedestrianised street near the main shopping area is Hotel Brueghel, which cheerfully mixes all sorts of architectural styles in its 19th-century interior. There’s an Art Deco wrought-iron lift, a 1920s reception desk and an ambience straight out of a Renoir painting. In contrast, its light-filled rooms are breezily modern.

Doubles from £71 (

Mama Shelter

Mama Shelter (above) lies a few minutes’ walk from Lille’s railway station 

The restaurant and public areas at Mama Shelter bear the chain’s usual stamp of vivid colours and wacky design

Philippe Starck’s funky yet affordable chain of hotels has an outpost in Lille a few minutes’ walk from the railway station. While the restaurant and public areas bear the usual stamp of vivid colours and wacky design, the bedrooms are more subdued.

Doubles from £77 (


Explore the Old Town

Start in the colourful Vieille Bourse and follow the cobbled streets past beautiful townhouses showing off typically Flemish crenellated rooftops. At 32 rue de la Monnaie, look out for the Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse (£3.20,, a medieval hospital.

Visit a market

Take the metro a few stops south of the Old Town to Wazemmes and its excellent indoor food market, which is open Tuesday to Sunday from 8am to 8pm (3pm on Sunday).

Discover its galleries

Above is La Piscine, a museum that’s housed in a disused Art Deco swimming baths

One of France’s most delightful art galleries, in Roubaix, is a 20-minute metro ride away. La Piscine (£9.50, is housed in a disused Art Deco swimming baths. The Palais des Beaux-Arts (from £6,, is one of France’s biggest regional art collections.

Go for a walk

Parc de la Citadelle, Lille’s largest park, encircles the city’s 17th-century citadel. Follow the footpaths through 123 acres of woods and gardens, all ringed by the Deûle canal.

Take in the view

For excellent views of the city, head to the top of the Belfry (pictured)

Enjoy far-reaching views of Lille and surrounding countryside from the top of the Belfry (£6.50,, a Unesco-listed belltower that soars to 340ft.



Lille is firmly in beer territory and the Old Town’s Beerstro is the place to combine delicious local beers (including 14 on tap) with equally tasty Flemish specialities in a classy atmosphere. Get the greatest hits on a plate with the mixed platter for two, featuring potjevleesch (ham terrine), pork rillettes, speck ham and some pungent northern French cheeses. (£17,

Chez Raoul

At Chez Raoul, pictured, you can dine on the Flemish version of a Welsh rarebit called, simply, Welsh

On the Old Town’s Rue de Gand and you’ll pass a series of traditional Lille restaurants called estaminets, cosy places specialising in regional dishes. Look out for Chez Raoul, which, like any other self-respecting estaminet, serves the Flemish version of a Welsh rarebit called, simply, Welsh (£12,


Describing itself as the ‘estaminet of the future’, bright HEIN combines a microbrewery and taproom with a restaurant in an industrial-chic setting. Among the Welshes, burgers, steaks and sausages is another Flemish rib-stickler, carbonade flamande, a wonderfully rich beef stew cooked in beer (£14,

How to get there

Eurotunnel ( has return fares from £164 for a car and up to nine passengers. Eurostar ( has St Pancras to Lille returns from £78pp.

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