Christmas break to Lille, Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam

As the festive season draws close it may be fun to combine shopping for gifts with a short break in Europe.


Christmas in Lille, France

Lille Christmas tree
(c) Nord Tourism

Where: Marche de Noel, Place Rihour
When: 17 November to 27 December 2017

You will most probably arrive at the Gare Lille Europe, just a short walk from the gorgeous, compact town centre that oozes youthful energy and affluence.

You’ll feel and see it in Old Lille where the greatest fashion and designer shops show their wares. And though they are there all year, they come alive over the festive season.

Follow the irresistible aroma of cinnamon and roasted chestnuts to Place Rihour, an impressive square with an equally impressive war monument. For over a month, the 80 chalets of the Christmas market do what they can to entice shoppers. For edible goodies, look out for regional products such as gingerbread, waffles and crepes.

In the Old Quarter, the streets compete for attention with their decorations. At Rue de la Grande Chaussée it’s all about elegance and at Rue de la Monnaie there’s evergreen garlands with gold and red ribbons, to the trendy Rue Esquermoise where huge disco balls sparkle overhead.

Incidentally, Rue Esquermoise is home to Meert Restaurant & Tea House, where a list of teas as long as your arm, and the best waffles in town can be savoured.

Numerous antique shops and art galleries line the streets and a pleasant market enlivens the Place du Concert every Sunday morning. In the centre and pedestrian streets, you’ll find the big department stores and international brands.

On the Grand Place, the Furet du Nord is one of the biggest bookshops in Europe. In the station district, the Euralille shopping centre, designed by Jean Nouvel, houses a hundred shops, restaurants and a hypermarket beneath its futuristic design. It’s not atmospheric but a place to shelter and shop if it should rain.

Read also: Lille – a Flemish city in Northern France