When I was finishing my undergrad I decided I wanted to give solo travel a try. It was something I’d thought about for years but never had the confidence to do. I’d heard so many great things about travelling solo but it was still terrifying to me. I decided if I didn’t do it at some point I would regret it, so I decided to ease myself into it with a short city break to Lille.
Why I Chose Lille?
The main reason I chose Lille was that it was an hour train from London on the Eurostar. Also, Eurostar was just £29 per train. It was another country while still feeling close enough to ‘home’ that if I had any problem’s I could hop straight back on a train. I chose Lille because it’s a beautiful small city in the north of France that is very peaceful and France has always had a special place in my heart. I went in June which meant lovely sunny weather and for whatever reason, pretty empty streets so it seemed I had the city to myself.
Where I stayed:
I weighed up my options before going between hotel and airbnb. If I chose a hotel I would have the support of the hotel staff to arrange my transport, where I wanted to go, and help with any problems that I could have. As great as that would have been I chose an airbnb for that little bit of extra independence. The airbnb provides a home away from home, I felt very secure and I could cook a meal if I was too tired to go out. My airbnb was a one bedroom apartment, very close to the square which was peaceful at night but in the day I could sit with my window open and listen to a violin playing busker perform ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Miserable – a very surreal moment that was so beautiful it made time pause for a moment – it was definitely a highlight.
What to do:
I got a map (Tip: always get a map) and I used my laptop to google everything on the map to decide where I wanted to go. I was there for 4 days so I had plenty of time to fill with activities.
The number one thing you should is wander aimlessly and see where you end up. I got lost many times but deliberately so that I could stumble upon some new sights. I had a map in my bag, my mobile phone, so I walked in one direction and wandered up and down beautiful, narrow, cobbled streets.
France has beautiful food anyway so make the most of it. I’ve got a major sweet tooth so obviously I had several ice creams, some vibrant macarons and definitely make sure to stop by a boulangerie and get some fresh bakes; fresh bread, fresh pastries, it’s all delicious.
Porte de Paris
A 17th Century building in the middle of a roundabout (don’t worry though, as you can see in the picture, there aren’t many cars). It’s an absolutely stunning part of the city that you can walk through and around. More Beautiful Buildings include Hotel de Ville, Palais de Beaux Arts, Eglise du Sacre-Coeur, Lille Cathedrale, Place du Theatre, the list is endless.
The large square where you can find plenty of shops, restaurants and cafés. In the centre is a large fountain, and surrounding are architecturally beautiful buildings. This is also an ideal place for people watching.
On one of my little wanders I stumbled upon this place. This large garden is perfect to walk around, with a large lake, little cottages and parks. The best bit is this little cave area that is actually bigger than it looks, and you can go in it and walk along the stepping stones through the water and see a miniature waterfall. I spent over an hour just wandering and taking photos of this beautiful place. If you find another beautiful garden, then please write it in the comments!
I will be posting a blog post focusing completely on travelling solo soon so keep an eye out!
Has anyone else been to Lille? Did you go solo or with someone? Any places to share?