Lille is a gorgeous city in the very north of France. It is well-known for its architecture, gastronomy and a little bit of rain. If you’re moving to Lille for your exchange or internship, you should be seriously excited!
Even better is the news that, by using the guide, you won’t have to spend days and weeks searching for answers to important problems like looking for Lille accommodation, or learning what type of health insurance you need to move to France. Our team has put together all of the information we’ve learned from our own experiences of living and moving abroad.
Lille is a city transformed from what it was 20-30 years ago. A struggling economy based on the quickly dwindling textiles industry, it needed a serious makeover and energy boost - thankfully, it got one and then some!
Today it is connected to the Eurostar network (making it just 2 hours from London), has a thriving commercial centre and has its high streets lined with boutique stores as well as classic French magasins. Despite its recent renovation to a modern, urban city, there is plenty of character left in the cobbled streets and quaint architecture of the centre and suburban areas.
Since it borders Belgium, there are hints of Flemish culture to the North, which adds an extra element of interest to the city. There’s a thriving student population, thanks to the all the different universities in Lille, and all-in-all, the former culture capital of Europe is a very attractive place to live right now.
Despite the border with Belgium, the official language in Lille is only French. As the native language for some 300 million individuals across the world, French is one of the most popular languages in the world, and possibly the 2nd most commonly used in international relations, behind English. There are loads of ways to get started and learn the basics of French, so just get on the internet and start learning some vocab avant que tu y ailles (don’t worry though, you don’t need the subjunctive just yet ;))
Lille is the most northerly city in France, but the temperature rarely drops as low as 0oC, even through December and January. Rather, the climate is quite temperate overall, getting as hot as 23oC in the peak of summer! What you will get in Lille is an awful lot of rain throughout most of the year.
July and August are quite consistently dry (though it’s not a certainty) but the rest of the year it can rain pretty heavily. If you are only happy when the forecast is sunshine, Lille will be an eye-opener for you!
There are a bunch of national holidays in France which, while sometimes a cause for celebration among the French people (like Bastille Day!), are mostly just great excuses to get time off work! Or, if you’re a student, a good reason to stay up until dawn the night before! Here are all of the national holidays you’ll want to stick on your calendar for 2017:
If you ever visit the South of France, you’ll notice a hilarious perception of the North by the local people. This is perhaps best observed in the comical movie Bienvenue Chez Les Ch’tis where a worker in Marseille thinks he is being fired, but it’s worse than that: he’s keeping his job and relocating to the dreaded North.
Life in Lille doesn’t reach the lowly depths as portrayed in the satire, but the grudge between them and the rest of France is very real, and quite fascinating!