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Old June 1st, 2012, 01:42 AM   #181
Tchek
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eklips View Post
What was the town? Denain?
Almost. It was a little town between Denain and Douai: Masny
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Old June 1st, 2012, 06:35 AM   #182
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Day 1 in Lille continued....

As we already saw in the previous post Lille is quite impressive. But the day wasn’t over, and things that were even more impressive were on the way.

As I was being led around by my hosts I never did get a sense of direction in Lille and I didn’t learn how different parts of the city relate to each other. But the next thing I knew we were in some sort of university part of town.

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I’m not sure if this is the main Synagouge in Lille...

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Now I came upon a building that utterly fascinated me. The moment I saw it I knew I was upon an old yet beautiful building with the spectacular 19th century buildings ever have:

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My hosts were waiting for me in their car but I had to see this massive building from the other sides. It really was huge - much more than can be related in pictures

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It was so big that to get around it in any reasonable amount of time I actually had to jog a bit.

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This appeared to be the old main entrance. It was hard to tell to what extent, if any, if was still in use. Interestingly one little section had signs indicating it was (or had been) an English language school.

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Ah, so there we go - it was at one time a School of Medicine and Pharmacy. Not sure of what university nor what happened to those schools. I presume they moved elsewhere. But what a glorious building. I really hope it is preserved and put to good use.

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I was then taken to an amazing residential street that bordered a tiny park.

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Even the doors were nice!

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Proceeding on this looks like an old factory of some sort.

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Then on to another amazing monument...

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The Belfry of Lille

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Then we continued on coming to another university (or the same one, I don’t know) the Catholic University of Lille.

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A woman or an angel standing on a dragon apparently.

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Note the observatory for a telescope.

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A very interesting monument that I saw in passing. I think this is dedicated to French partisans executed by the Nazis.

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Next we went to a huge old fortress in the middle of Lille that was still an active military base.

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It was a huge star shaped fortress with 2 concentric rings of star shaped walls. The walls were massive - I think about 30 feet high. And very thick.

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This path is between the two sets of walls. I’m not sure if it was a moat at one time.

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You couldn’t actually pass the gates and enter the fortress this is a picture through the gate.

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I love this about Europe - you are never too far from a canal :-)

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Next I was taken to a street that had a number of old buildings that had been quite important at one time.

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The Bank of France!

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Then we moved on to an older area of the city that was now an upscale shopping area. The very old buildings and narrow streets were something I didn’t see in Paris. I can only imagine that if Haussman hadn’t leveled much of Paris there would be many districts there that would look like this.

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A famous sea food shop.

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Of love the contrast of the worn old building with the modern and chic clothing.

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Having gotten a quick tour of Lille and without daylight starting to wane my hosts took me to a small hill-top town outside Lille, Cassel, to have dinner at a very nice restaraunt.

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As we were up on a big hill we could see the surounding flat, Flemish like, countryside well. But don’t get too excited about it. What I would see the next day blew it away.

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Windmills in these parts were used to grind flour from wheat.

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The restaraunt, which was quite good.

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After you eat they hand out interesting table games to play. I had never seen one like this before. You use little blowers to try to blow a little steel ball into someone elses hole.

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After the meal we went home and I rested and slept well as it had been a long day. Little did I realize the second best day of the entire trip awaited me tomorrow.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 06:59 AM   #183
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Quote:
Then we moved on to an older area of the city that was now an upscale shopping area. The very old buildings and narrow streets were something I didn’t see in Paris. I can only imagine that if Haussman hadn’t leveled much of Paris there would be many districts there that would look like this.
I don't think so. These streets are very typical of northern France/Belgium, not so much the Paris area.

I'd think that pre-Hausmann Paris would look more like cities such as Tours, Bourges or Orléans.

I'm very mesmerized by Lille... I don't know how isn't this city more hyped.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 07:20 AM   #184
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A friend who has been to France a number of times said, when I mentioned I was going to Lille, that "Lille is just an industrial city, or probably a post-industrial city." Maybe. But all I can say is French post industrial cities are very different from American post industrial cities :-)

And believe it or not, at this point I still hadn't seen the nicest buildings in the city!!

That people in France poke fun at the north, like they did in the film trailer that was posted, amazes me. It is a spectacular place.

But maybe this shouldn't surprise me. Before I went to England when I told people I was going to Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds but not to London lost of people thought I was nuts and implied northern England was a wasteland. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

I think some people who live in the main cities like Paris or London sometimes know very little about the rest of their country and how beautiful much of it is. So they just repeat old stereotypes that aren't true, or maybe were true at one time but not now. That is similar to the US where there are people who fly back and forth between the east and west coasts and never go anywhere in the middle of the country. They are missing out on a lot.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 12:05 PM   #185
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Quote:
Originally Posted by openlyJane

BTW 600West - I can tell that the street that you photographed was not in Liverpool, or indeed in England generally - because it was a three storey terrace. Similar terraces, that you would find in England, are always two storeys; although I can see how, to an untried eye, they would look identical.
Most of the time, but not always. I live in a three storey terraced house (four floors if you include the basement) and you can find quite a few of them in various places, though two-storey terraces are indeed far more common.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 12:58 PM   #186
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
But maybe this shouldn't surprise me. Before I went to England when I told people I was going to Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds but not to London lost of people thought I was nuts and implied northern England was a wasteland. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
Well the same is true about Charleroi. The average Belgian tourist cities are Bruges, Antwerp, Ghent (because of the old city centre, not because of it's industrial past) and Brussels and at a smaller scale Liège (that city is improving fast), Mons, Namur and Tournai. But definitely not Charleroi or La Louvière.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 01:12 PM   #187
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Great pics and thanks for the commentary!!!!
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Old June 1st, 2012, 01:26 PM   #188
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Interesting about that "depressing and grey" area is that a great painter known for extraordinary strong and saturated colours - Henri Matisse grew up there. His influence came from the local "industry" namely from textile mills which used intense colours.

Besides rapeseeds I'm sure you probably noticed many other fields... when I've driven through that area the first thing I always notice is big sugar beet fields. There's more of them there than anywhere else in the world.
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Old June 1st, 2012, 03:22 PM   #189
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Great new post! Lille looks so much like some part parts of Brussels. Actually I would dare to day the if you scrap out all the glass and metal and those ugly 70ties modernist things in Brussels and leave it with the remaing quarters both cities look like copies
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Old June 1st, 2012, 04:05 PM   #190
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Lille does look a bit like Brussels
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Old June 1st, 2012, 06:28 PM   #191
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Interesting that people think it looks like Brussels. I didn't really notice that but I can see what you are getting at. Though I didn't see any terraced houses.

The terrace houses and the shopping streets really made it look like Liverpool/Leeds/Manchester to me.

One thing I just thought about is I never see these type of terrace houses in pictures of Germany even though it went through the industrial revolution at about the same time. I wonder why that is?
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Old June 1st, 2012, 08:36 PM   #192
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I think you can find some in the Ruhr area but they are definitely not as common there...
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Old June 1st, 2012, 10:50 PM   #193
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
Interesting that people think it looks like Brussels. I didn't really notice that but I can see what you are getting at. Though I didn't see any terraced houses.
Brussels is full of terraced houses. I can't understand you didn't see them. I'd say at least 60%-70% of the city is made up out of it. The difference is that in the city center and some parts around it they all have been demolished.

some posts of a Belgian forumer:

http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=406
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...postcount=1028
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=415
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...postcount=1068
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...postcount=1121

Take a look at these places: and also zoom out, every street that looks like this from above are terraced houses! That's nearly all of Brussels

I just tooke random streets all over the metro:

http://goo.gl/maps/c6Jm
http://goo.gl/maps/e6hw
http://goo.gl/maps/wutz
http://goo.gl/maps/uGkW
http://goo.gl/maps/vrE1
http://goo.gl/maps/TlD7
http://goo.gl/maps/B4XY


I also hope you've seen this:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpo...&postcount=818
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Old June 1st, 2012, 11:52 PM   #194
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Shoot. No I didn't see that Where is it?

Brussels I didn't do such a great job with. My host was very busy. I mainly just saw the tourist places and the Army museum. And I spent one full day going to Charleroi (but that was the best day of my entire trip so I have no regrets about going there. )

Plus I think my host lived in an upscale area. So I really didn't get any sense at all of what working class Brussels is like.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 12:31 AM   #195
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That's Thurn & Taxis located here. It's a nice 19th century warehouse. It's been restored and now it's in use as a fair, exposition hall, ...
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 12:37 AM   #196
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Great pics, but IMO Northern France is far from being the best part of France (I'm talking about the Nord-Pas-de-calais).
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 01:20 AM   #197
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The Nord region and Wallonia suffer from a bad rep (as you can see above ). I think it's mainly prejudices.

To me Lille has a more beautiful architecture than 3 quarters of other French cities.

Too bad you didn't go to Liège.
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 04:38 AM   #198
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BTW, a question I forgot to ask when posting on Ghent - the ships that are in Ghents harbor, do they have to go through locks to get from the sea to Ghent? Or is everything at sea level?
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 05:35 AM   #199
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Lille Day 2.... To the coast

My second day in Lille was Sunday and my hosts were taking me to the coast. Sounded good to me. It would be a good opportunity to see the countryside and also hopefully get a good view of the English Channel and maybe even England itself.

We headed west on some local roads...

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… and passed through small towns with Flemish architecture.

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The local Belfry.

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Note the trees in the above picture - reduced to mere stubs. What is that about?

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I think this was somehow a water tower.

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Continuing west. Luckily with was a very sunny day.

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My hosts don’t shop for food in supermarkets. They like to buy directly from the farmers. So we stopped at a farm where they did some shopping.

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Some old farm machinery.

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The poor bunnies were being sold for food!!

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Some drink that they actually made.

Heading west again

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This looks exactly like Upstate New York


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Finally we arrive in Dunkirk

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Not sure what happened to the top of the mast here.

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If I recall correctly Liverpool had a light ship just like that, as does New York

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Dunkirk has a Belfry too.

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This would have been exactly like the 8 faced clock in Liverpool if they had put clocks on the angled walls. It really is amazing how much these cities replicate each other.

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This looked very interesting but I didn’t get to go over there. I think this might have been the entrance to the port. But what the silver structures are I really don’t know.

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The beach at Dunkirk.

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A much more human scale than Oostende.

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Lots of industry in Dunkirk proper.

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We then headed south which will be in the following photo set...
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Old June 2nd, 2012, 05:57 AM   #200
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On the coast continued....

Heading south...

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Another channel of some sort. And note the ubiquitous wind turbines.

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Huge transmission lines. I have no idea where they are coming from. Could there be a nuclear power station near by?

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This is something that was both very surprsing and very common - and old bunker from the Atlantic Wall in a farmers field. Once you are within a mile or two of the shore line abandoned bunkers are all over the place. I would have thought they’d be removed but I guess that they are solid concrete makes that too difficult so they leave them in place.

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From the same spot looking towards the coast. You can see how close we are and how there is a road coming up the valley from the coast. The bunker was probably to guard that road.

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The different shades of green and yellow made this really beautiful.

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White cows. The first time I ever saw that.

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A map of Cap Blanc which is what we were approaching.

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High on these bluffs, which are the exact same material as on the English side, the Germans installed radar to monitor the ships going through the channel when there was poor visibility.

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Pillboxes on the cliffs.

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Those are the White Cliffs of Dover over there. It looked even closer in person than in these pictures.

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It has to frustrate the hell out of the Germans that they couldn’t get across that narrow body of water.

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The visitor view point is actually built upon an old German bunker.

image hosted on flickr

Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

And from that location the view south down the coast was simply spectacular.

image hosted on flickr

Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

image hosted on flickr

Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

The white chalky rock that makes up the bluffs

image hosted on flickr

Untitled by 600West218, on Flickr

Heading further south we passed a huge German artillery bunker that is now a museum. Sadly, there was no time to stop.

We were heading south to a beach front town. Pictures from there in the next post...
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