Letting Loose In Lille France

Sometimes you are blessed with a weekend to yourself without the little darlings. As much as it’s great fun for you all to go away as a family, occasionally it’s really special to plan something for just the two of you. If that’s the case, why not think about a trip to Lille France? It’s so easy from London, just hop on the Eurostar. It takes about an hour and a half, which is exactly the right amount of time to enjoy a pastry, a coffee and maybe a glass of fizz - perfect.

When it's just the adults that get to escape for the weekend, then my favourite way to start is with a thorough pampering. It can be tricky to find a truly relaxing spa in a city, but the Barierre Ribeauville resort is out of this world. Encompassing a state of the art spa, several classy restaurants and a world-renowned Casino, home to the PokerStars Festival, this resort was the perfect way to while away a dreamy couple of hours.

Feeling preened and pampered, your next port of call should be an easy lunch - save the fancy reservations for dinner time. La Cave aux Fioles is gorgeous, find it tucked away in the old town. The restaurant itself is ‘traditional’ in style with knick-knacks and antiques decorating the small dining rooms. There’s a small but well-chosen wine menu and the duck confit is a great way to properly fill up for an afternoon of shopping. The beef carbonnade is also rich and warm and wonderful (and a Flemish speciality, so one to tick off the list!)

If, like me, you’re also a shopaholic then, after lunch, you’re perfectly situated for a little retail therapy. The old town is home to all of the big retailers, but the charming little side streets have plenty of independent boutiques - as well as the top luxury brands. If you stumble into Herm├Ęs, try the perfume

After an afternoon of mostly window shopping its time to get ready for dinner. Stay at L’Hermitage Gantois, which is a little bit naughty money wise, but so worth it. The hotel is absolutely stunning and decorated in a simple and elegant style, with marble bathrooms and sumptuous Persian rugs. If you can, try to book a room with a courtyard view, it costs a little bit more, but it is such a beautiful way to wake up.

After a quick freshen up, back out for dinner - I recommend making the most of every opportunity to eat, the food in Lille is fantastic! Try La Royale, a classic French bistro which uses only the freshest seasonal produce. Of course, only using very fresh produce means that the menu is small and constantly changing - a good sign, but difficult when it comes to recommending particular dishes! The highlights are the simple terrine, with crusty french bread and pickles. Following that try the cod cooked en papillote with leeks and a white wine sauce. A simple dish where the quality of the ingredients shine. Finish with a Merveilleux, a light whipped cream and biscuit concoction - scrumptious.

The next day should be dedicated to culture. We visited the Palais des Beaux Arts, which is often called the second museum of France, owing to its enormous size and incredible collection. Most pieces are from the 17th to 19th century and whilst a true art lover could easily spend days getting lost amongst the pieces in this collection, we spent just a couple of hours before moving on to more modern art. The ‘Lam’ as it's known, is home to an enormous collection of contemporary pieces and a sculpture park, which must be beautiful in warm weather. They always have events and exhibitions scheduled, with a particularly grand exposition of Alberto Giacometti’s work planned for later this year.

All of that art ought to more than fill up your final day, but please don’t board the Eurostar just yet, there is one more very important stop: Benoit’s Chocolate Shop. This cornucopia of sweets and chocolates is just incredible. Even if you just pop your head in to inhale the smells then it’s worth it, but of course, if you’ve left the children behind for the weekend, then a little box of goodies from here will certainly see you right back into their good books!

A weekend in Lille is full of great activities, shopping and culture, would you like to visit?

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  1. Lille sounds like such a lovely place to visit. I always find it amazing when I read posts like this how much of the world is out there that not a lot of people rave about. Definitely want to visit now! x

  2. Great to be able to get there on the Eurostar, that makes things really easy. I've not visited Lille before but I'm keen to see more of France. Mich x

  3. I love Lille, it is the perfect size for a weekend break.

  4. Lille is absolutely beautiful, it has been a few years since I have been now, but it was always somewhere we went for a day out at work x