Dates: 23 – 25 October 2015
Modes of Travel: Eurostar
Cast of Characters: Dan, Bruce, Carol & Iain
Hotel: Mercure Lille Centre Grand Place
Bruce and I have wanted to go to Lille for quite sometime and before we made the move (or even knew about it) to Scotland we booked a weekend trip with Carol and Iain.
Bruce was already in London for a work trip so I flew down and met him in the early afternoon. We made our way to St Pancras where we met Carol and Ian. The train was later in the day as we all planned on going after work originally. Bruce and Carol popped into M&S for provisions so we had something on the journey to Lille (the train is about 90 minutes so we needed wine and snacks) In their haste to ensure we got all we needed for the journey they grabbed a £30 bottle of English Sparkling Wine which was nice but not worth the money.
Carol’s not one for a photo……
The journey was uneventful and we made it to Lille right on time. It was a nice night so we walked to the hotel and whilst not the most direct way it was interesting to see the back streets of Lille and a few restaurants that could be possible places for our dinner.
We checked in and took off up the main street and after about 15 tries (many were closed or would be soon) finally decided on a place that… A) was open and B)had veggie options for the fussy veggie as Iain likes to call Carol (for the record, she is less fussy then me). After dinner and a few drinks we called it a night.
We woke up the next morning and headed to a wee French patisserie called Paul for a some pastries and coffee before really starting the day. We walked around for a bit and found a neat little market in the Grand Place that had several small stalls selling random stuff.
We had hoped for an open top bus tour (I mean who does not like a tour of a bus station like we had in Lyon and Carol and I enjoy our naps) but everything we read said none were available in the off-season so we had written it off. However, a quick visit to the tourist information centre showed us Google can be wrong and we booked the next tour, which was an hour away. So we walked around a bit and ended up over by the Place de la Republique which had some event taking place that took place in a tent that was shaped like breasts. It was time for our tour so we headed back to the info centre and took the city tour.
A tour is always good as you can see more of and learn about a city. This tour did not disappoint. We not only saw the whole city and a few places to possibly go back to (and we did) but we also saw the obligatory transport station Gare de Lille Europe.
It was a nice tour and when it was over time for lunch. We wanted to try a highly rated Thai place that Carol found on Trip advisor but sadly it was closed. So just across the street was a Vietnamese Restaurant called Le Co Do Hue. Iain was skeptical as he had not had Vietnamese before but they had veggie stuff so we popped in. We were the first customers of the day and we were quickly seated and provided menus. After about 2 minutes of trying to translate French to English they brought us English menus and we all figured out exactly what we wanted. The food was quite good and it was pretty inexpensive as well.
After lunch we explored the city and walked to a few points we saw on the tour including the Birthplace of Charles De Gaulle and the Lille Zoo. Whilst the Zoo was small it was cool to visit and free to boot! We enjoyed the Zoo and stopped off for a drink and then walked back to town.
We decided to find a wine bar so we could enjoy some wine and sadly it was very difficult and we struck out as they were all closed and opened later. So we wondered a bit and I remembered some pub from the tour. So we headed out that way and found them but sadly the world cup was on so they were packed. Luckily there was one place that had space for us called Le Fridge, which had a British theme with decent beer and wine!
It was now time for dinner and we found an Indian place called Maharani which had some decent ratings on Trip Advisor but we were sold by this photo……
I mean who would not have wanted to visit the Throne?
Dinner was great and service was good and certainly better than Lyon. After dinner I remembered the first night I saw a Chocolate Kebab place so I led everyone there for desert.
We were not let down the place was really a Chocolate Kebab shop called Choco Kebab La Crepe Royale after desert we called it a night.
We had a few hours to kill after checkout and decided to give a Mexican place we saw a go, but sadly it was closed. So we found a very small cafe called La Vieille Bourse off Grand Place and enjoyed a nice lunch quick place to eat and headed to back to the Eurostar for our trip home. Bruce left us at St. Pancras for home via Luton and I stayed with Carol and Iain for my final week in London.