Shopping is definitely one of the reasons I like living in Lille. Now it seems I am not alone in appreciating the city – the Guardian has ranked it number 2 in its list of European Christmas shopping destinations.
Inevitably, the old town – Vieux Lille – gets most of the attention.
“The colourful facades of 17th-century merchants’ houses in the old town area… look beautiful on a frosty day, and its cobbled streets, packed with shops, cafes and bars, are an enchanting place to shop,” the article says.
Beer, wine, chocolat chaud and waffles all get the thumbs up too.
For cheeses and charcuterie, the piece recommends the Sunday market in Wazemmes. Until now, this market covered a kilometre or so from the city centre has been a treat known only to locals.
Or should I say, to us locals?
We – locals, I mean – also win the approval of the writer. “The Lillois are renowned for enjoying a party, so there’s a more jovial atmosphere than in some French cities,” they say.
Which may explain why Lille is the only French city to make the list. The city’s Christmas market is now in full swing and there is a big wheel in the Grand Place, so it certainly feels very upbeat.
Interestingly, Amsterdam is also in the top 10 – and that’s where we are this weekend. Damon has a week’s training here next week, so we have tagged on a weekend.
“Amsterdam is also in the top 10 – and that’s where we are this weekend”
We got a direct train here from Lille yesterday. It took us just 2 hours 15 minutes, and I’m booked to head back first thing on Monday morning, ready to be at my desk by 10am Central European Time or 9am Greenwich Mean Time.
Talking of the meantime, I’d better get shopping. I haven’t bought any Christmas presents yet. I think I may have spent too long in Lille enjoying the wine, waffles and chocolat chaud.