A definitive guide to find accommodation, as told by locals
Last updated: December 2017
How to rent a place in Lille
If you haven’t found a room before starting your new life in Lille, don’t panic! Lille offers a lot of accommodation like cheap hotels and hostels, we may recommend you the Gastama – Backpacker hostel which is pretty nice and has good quality, situated in the Old Town at 109 rue de St André. As a student, we recommend you some nice and dynamic areas for student life. You have the “République Beaux-Arts” area, it is extremely practical for the students who have not a car because it is really central, you can access to the city center on foot. No more than 15 minutes! The rooms are pretty affordable. We recommend you the “Gambetta-Solférino” area and the “Quartier Vauban” area which are the most animated student areas in Lille and really nice if you like going out for a drink or dancing. The rooms are cheap and nice there.
Hey there! I am Estelle! Born in France, currently writing my master thesis. I study International Marketing in France and in Germany. My life vision is a day without smiling is a day wasted. Working at Housinganywhere allows me to improve these intercultural skills I am aiming for and having a concrete application of my specialization. My hobbies are mostly dancing, travelling and drawing.
Living in Lille and its neighbourhoods
Moving to Lille
What do you need to know?
Lille, the head city of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region in France, is a place to be if you are a student and you like travelling during the week-end. Lille is the third biggest student city in France with almost 100,000 student in 2013. You may know that Lille is the first city in France with the biggest average of foreign students. The old-town is a lovely place to see. The great place of the city is one of the most beautiful place to see as a symbol of the history of the city. If you have time, I recommend you the food tour, which is pretty funny.
The main language is French, but you can also find people who speaks Flamisch. The public holidays are the 11th of November, the 8th of May which symbolize the Armistice of the first and second World War, the 1st of May, the working day, Christmas and New Year, Easter and the Assumption and the National Day (Bastille Day) the 14th of July.
How to move in and out of Lille?
How do we move inside the city? You have further public transport like the subway, the tramway and busses of course. It is open from 5am until 11pm every day except the 1st of May. Some night busses drive during the night.
How to come to Lille? You have many trains from the central train station called “Lille - Europe” which go to Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherland, United Kingdom, and France.
By plane: the airport for Lille is called “Lille Lesquin airport” located in Southeast of the city, from there you can take the shuttle which brings you to the city center. You take it in front of the main entrance at the drop-off zone. This is very quick, no more that 20 minutes and it costs 8€.
Things to do
Never gets boring
The open market, Marché de Wazemmes, is open every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday morning, but the busiest day is definitely Sunday. Merchants sell everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to books and stationery, suitcases and shoes, and even perfume.
La Braderie is an annual street fair held every September, for which millions of people come to Lille. You will find everything: paintings, antiques, ornaments, furniture. Inhabitants are partying, eating mussels with French fries and drinking beer (the famous “moules-frites”!), in a very cheerful atmosphere.
Eat & Drink
Keep your belly satisfied
Besides being very close to Belgium, living in Lille brings you the advantage of being close to very good food and local beers. There are 1,440 bars in the city center only.
Delicious stuffed waffles are to be enjoyed at Meert (a remarkably beautiful “patisserie”, bakery) on the Rue Esquermoise right next to the Grand-Place (place du Général de Gaulle). You should also try the welsh, a speciality from the “chti” culture. It is a meal composed of cheddar, beer, ham and bread with an egg for the puritans.
On Rue Masséna and Solferino also known as the « thirst street », you will find countless bars, nightclubs, and restaurants including small delicious kebab stands that are open late until late, or early, hours of the night.
The Old Town
Explore the history
The old Town is one of the most beautiful area you can visit in Lille. Situated in the North of the city, there is a lot of old buildings from the XIXe century, like the sugar market, called “La Halle aux sucres” where all the spices from the East were stocked. Be curious and have a look along bustling streets. Let yourself be seduced by the mix of a “Spanish-Flemish” architecture, the pavements and the luxurious boutiques. You may find some typical French and Flemish restaurants from the area. You may try the “Capsule bar” which is famous for its beers and if you want to have a traditional and authentic cuisine, have a look to the “Rouge Barre” restaurant. At each corner, a surprise is waiting for you. Enjoy and let yourself be surprised by a piece of French history!
Le quartier Vauban et Masséna
Place to be for the youth
Le quartier Vauban and Masséna are the student area of the city. You can find a lot of public transports, subways, and busses, which allows you to be in the city center in less than 10 minutes. Most of the universities or business schools are located in this area. The shops are still open late by night. If you like parties, bars, and nightclubs, this area is made for you. This is the meeting point of all the students when the night comes. There you find the famous “drink street” literally called “rue de la Soif” in French. A bar for every style, every taste, one year is not enough to discover all of them. Enjoy your drink! Cheers!
Le centre-ville de Lille
The soul of the city
The city center of Lille is known for its great place called “Grand’Place” in French and for its famous market place from the Xth century. It is basically “the soul” of the city. You may noticed the four statues which symbolize the strong historical moment of the city. The first one is a goddess which symbolize the victory against Austrian people in 1792, the three others represent the three old districts: la Flandre, le Hainaut, and l'Artois. From there you have the access of all the shops and supermarket you need. If you are curious, you should appreciate some traditional shops. It is also the departures of almost all the subways and busses. If you like mussels then have a look to the restaurant “Aux Moules” rue de Béthune.
Le Quartier de Wazemmes
Lively and vivid area
This is the popular district of the city. This is a colorful district, a mix of several cultures with the old French building. This area is quite known for its market which takes place every Tuesdays, Thursday and Sunday morning. There you can buy fresh vegetables and fruits but also fresh typical product from the region. If you like to cook, this place is made for you! Every Sunday you may find the famous sales market of the city where you can find funny, interesting and quite cheap things. We call that "La braderie de Lille" in French. Have a look! Maybe you can find a nice table for your student room.
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