Lille is the capital of French Flanders. The city is very well connected, with a 1h30 trip from London, 1 hour from Paris and just 30 minutes from Brussels.
It is not a gay destination in itself, but you can spend a nice weekend there.
The City center is compact, and getting around is easy as most of the sights are contained in a small area. You can easily explore walking by your own or with a friendly local Gaybassador to show you around.
As Manchester or Liverpool, the all-region was extremely rich and industrial during the 19th century and a major French economic center.
The city confronted economic crisis in the eighties, but since then, it recovered, and retrieved her splendor, especially with the renovation of the old city.
Around the impressive Grand Place,
you will discover charming pedestrian streets, old Flemish buildings, impressive baroque churches and heaps of trendy shops.
Regarding places to visit, you will first admire the great pieces of sculpture and paintings at Palais des Beaux-arts. It is one of the most prominent museums in France after Louvre with an impressive collection, from Egyptian Antiques to 20th century sculpture.
You will then make a short trip by tube to Roubaix, to visit the museum called “La Piscine”, which used to be a public swimming pool from the 1920’s. This museum specializes in Art Deco pieces, and it is really worth the trip.
The last spot would La Citadelle, which is a big park with old and massive fortifications of the city, built to protect the region from Dutch or German invaders (Who did not really work apparently 😉).
Gay area in Lille
In terms of gay life, Lille is not Paris, but you will spend a nice time there. Gay-friendly bars are concentrated in the Vieux-Lille, and the weekends can get pretty lively, as Lille is not only the regional capital, but a big University city, with heaps of students coming from all over France and Europe.
Exciting museums, lovely walks in the old city, good bars and trendy restaurants … Lille would be a perfect destination for a cultural or festive gay weekend if you did all the big gay cities already.
Finally, Lille is strategically positioned to visit Germany, France, Netherland or Belgium, as it is only a few hours trip by car or speed train to visit other fascinating and gay-friendly cities such as Brussels, Antwerp, Rotterdam … and even Paris
Gay beach close to Lille
Berck’s plage, which is one of the biggest gay beaches in France, it is just a couple of hours from Lille.
Paris, Brussels, London or Cologne, other European gay-friendly cities, can be reached easily in a few hours by car or by train.