The city of Lille has been successfully developed since its beginning. Originally, the city was a little port called “Isla” which means “island” in Latin. The castle, base of the city was erected in the current “Vieux Lille”. This area changed a lot but keeps its roots.
Lille is a city that goes on thanks to the water: the city is built at the edge of the Deûle, a real communication axis between the Flanders and the Champagne fair. At the Middle-ages, the city has a forum which is nowadays the “Grand’ place”, a castle mound that took place in the “Vieux Lille” at the current Notre-Dame de la Treille cathedral.
In the past, what we call now the Vieux Lille, was a real city in the city, a strengthened core surrounded by water which gave its name to the city. Count of Flanders also lived there. The Countess Jeanne of Flanders opened an hospital that became the actual Hospice Comtesse museum.
In the Vieux Lille area you see the “Place aux oignons” with its high archways. It belongs to the oldest streets of this area, with Rue de la Clef, Rue de la Grande Chaussée, Rue des Chats-Bossus or Rue Basse. The Vieux Lille is mainly formed with houses and private hotels. Behind the current courthouse you will find the Place du Concert with its markets every Sunday mornings.
So the Vieux Lille area is the real historical center of the city. Since many years, the city tries to renovate the beautiful fronts erected under the influence of the Spanish. Many luxurious shops are installed there.
Practical information :
Guided tour in English every Saturday at 10.15 am. €11.50 / €9.50
Guided tour in French everyday at 3.00 pm. €9.50 / €8
Ticketing at the Lille tourist office & convention bureau, Palais Rihour, Place Rihour, Lille.