I am still recovering from a bank holiday break to Lille.
The whole experience was a lovely mix of British and French with a little bit of Flemish and even Welsh thrown in.
We started at the newly redecorated St. Pancras station which does live up to all the hype. I can see why the French envy us our international terminal if nothing else. We had very British tea and scones at Peyton and Byrne (if you think this is making you hungry wait for later...) and then skipped onto the Eurostar.
We arrived in just an hour and twenty minutes and were soon trundling with our little suitcases looking for pitchers of wine and cafes in which to ahem familiarise ourselves with Lille.
There is actually a great deal to do and to eat in Lille and I cannot mention all of it. Mostly I enjoy soaking up a French town, sitting in the restaurants and cafes and walking around the gorgeous streets.
However if pressed my favourite things were: the book market off the main square, the interiors shops on the way to our hotel and the onion soup at the cafe which is open until 6am- I have no idea of it's name because I had one too many glasses of rose the day we visited...
My favourite place in Lille was definitely the cafe Meert
As you can see it's a wonderful chic French patisserie. It is filled with cakes, nougat and macaroons. It was the tea that was the revelation though, I had the most delicious rose infused tea, better than any I have tasted in similar French and Viennese tea rooms. Of course I should have bought some when I was there because by Monday it was closed for the day and the website doesn't do mail order tea. Still sometimes what's best about holidays is that you try things you cannot have at home.
I also had the local speciality, the Flanders version of welsh rarebit. It involves rich bread being soaked in Flemish beer then cooked with lardons and lots of rich local Maroilles cheese. It's all topped off with a friend egg. It's wonderful but you need a lie down afterwards.
Lille street picture courtesy of: http://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/09/15/85/vieux-lille.jpg
Meert picture courtesy of: http://lh5.ggpht.com/_ws0o3ljJUHw/R_pX_HdiS3I/AAAAAAAAA3o/q5V_uoR0Un0/L4007.JPG
Picture of Meert inside: http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2196/2229630688_44e1cbdd92.jpg?v=0