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Old September 21st, 2013, 05:40 PM   #1
Nijal
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LILLE (France) - The "Grand Boulevard"...

... OR AN OPENING INTO LILLE SUBURBS.


Why “opening “? What is commonly called the “Grand Boulevard " in Lille is actually an artery in "Y ", which has been drawn in the early twentieth century to connect the two main centres of the urban area: Lille and the two cities of Roubaix and Tourcoing . It is interesting for two reasons.

On the one hand, this boulevard is -as the title of this topic suggests- a "breakthrough” in the urban, incoherent and ancient “sprawl” that composes Lille suburbs. By "suburbs”, I mean all the continuous urban fabric, more or less dense, which spreads beyond the three traditional “centres” of Lille, Roubaix and Tourcoing. The "Grand Boulevard" is thus a sort of condensed overview of those suburbs.

On the other hand, although this axis does not present particularly remarkable monument, it is also interesting because it is still a “summary” of different architectural styles from the first half of the 20th century. These styles can be updates of old architectural movements (including “neo- Gothicism” ...), local architectural expressions (“regionalism” and “seaside style”), or variations of styles that were dominant at that time, especially Art Nouveau and Art Deco.

First twp small maps to locate the place:

Lille in Europe:



Lille is located in northern France, just at the border with Belgium, almost in the middle of a triangle shaped by Paris, Brussels and London. Its urban area is composed of 1,015,744 inhab in 2009 (density of 2,295 inhab/km2). Although some other French cities are way more famous, it is the 4th urban area in France for the population, below Paris, Lyons and Marseilles, and above Nice, Toulouse and Bordeaux.


The “Grand Boulevard" path:



The red circle: the "Croisé -Laroche", meeting together the three branches of the Boulevard.
In Red: the Boulevard from the "Croisé-Laroche" to the entrance of Lille
In Purple: the Boulevard from the "Croisé-Laroche" to the entrance of Roubaix
In Blue: the Boulevard from the "Croisé-Laroche" to the entrance of Tourcoing

We will begin with the blue line, then the purple route, and finally the red line. We will leave the "Croisé -Laroche" to arrive to the entrance of the over-mentioned cities.
Lille urban area in 1910 (opening of the Grand Boulevard) :



And today:



This map shows us that urban sprawl, due to industrialization and because of the lack of urban planning, spread around the cities. When it opened, the “Grand Boulevard” crossed the countryside over its entire length. Thereafter urbanization did not particularly follow its path, though it was important from the beginning of the century. This is why the Boulevard does not penetrate the densest areas. However, it gets through the richest areas


One last thing: here is a cut of the original “Grand Boulevard”:



As we can see, a large place was left for pedestrians and "soft modes of transport” (even at that time!). But unfortunately this is not really the case nowadays, as we shall see later.

If you are interested in photos of Lille city centre (as well as Roubaix and Tourcoing), please see this thread:
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showth...ighlight=lille

:-)
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Old September 21st, 2013, 05:41 PM   #2
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We begin with the first path: Croisé-Laroche to Tourcoing. This distance is by far the "less urban" of the three ones. It is mostly bordered with villas and townhouses. The landscape also alternates with hedgerows hiding private properties as well as business parks in the most central part.

1 . We start from the Croisé-Laroche, we are in the town of Marcq -en- Barœul (38,819 inhabitants, 2,765 inhabitants per km2 )




2 . As can be seen , eclecticism is the rule




3 . An villa in Art Deco style




4 . The house on the right is an interesting mix between typical “francilien” style (Paris suburbs), with grey stones, and the “seaside resort” style. The “seaside resort” style is noted here by the use of exposed beams, the extension of the roof as well as the development of the loft in “inverted V “. The presence of a balcony reflects the influence of the "classic French style ". We will find very often this kind of amalgamation.




5.



6 . A house in Art Deco style: octagonal "oculus” above the door, strict geometry of ironwork , bricks as mineral cladding, clear contrast between the brick and plaster supports of spans



7 . In the middle, a seaside resort-style house




8 .



9 . Here, the urbanization was not yet arrived: a boon for communication channels (here the motorway to Ghent), and business parks that find available land:




10 . The “Marque”, a small river that runs through the central part of the agglomeration. In the past, it was the most polluted water in Europe, a true open sewage drain which was even mentioned in Japanese textbooks!



11 . Business parks...



12 . The presence of flat roofs shows some influence of Art Deco



13.



14. This classic French pavilion is the entrance of a much larger property. We are entering the quite rich town of Mouvaux (13,242 inhabitants , 3,176 inhabitants per km2 )

[URL=http://www.hostingpics.net/viewer.php?id=687613DSC02008.jpg][/URL



15 .




16. A former warehouse “Etam”. Industrial activities, unlike the rest of the agglomeration, are historically very few present on the Boulevard, which has primarily a residential use




17. The building in the background, with its gables, reflects a regionalist influence in popular housing




18 .



19. An imposing resort-style house (timbered roof ...), with a small influence of Art Nouveau: the large window that hints the presence of a staircase. Unfortunately neglected.





20 . The City Hall of Mouvaux (1911)




21. Getting near Tourcoing, the urbanization is becoming uninterrupted.




22. A town house combining Art Nouveau style (right bow window, brick colour) and regionalist style (gabled roof)




23. A former electricity local (1921) transformed into social housing. Quite successful for me!




24 .



25 . A Impressive villa "Arts and Crafts " built in 1930, which suggests as much a farm as a medieval building.




26. Purest neo-Gothic style for this house (inspired by the architecture of Bruges ) . The ironwork between windows is sometimes included in the regional style (photo 17)




27.



28. Neo-Norman style villa (1930) : it was fashionable Le Touquet Paris -Plage at the same time




29. Typical building from the 1930s typical of Art Deco: brick colour, general appearance marked by high angles, ironwork, relief of the brick that give volume to the facade




30 . House Art Deco (1931 ), very sober version



31. The tramway linking Lille and Tourcoing . I tested the speed: about 35 km / h




30 . We are finally arriving in Tourcoing (92,389 inhabitants; 6,082 inhabitants per km2 ) . You can see the hydraulic bridge rebuilt in 1923 after it was destroyed by the Germans during WWI.




31. Urban renewal is also running in Tourcoing! This city is an old industrial centre (cotton) that suffered a lot from “desindustrialization” from 1960 to 2000, but is now recovering.




32. Further, the city of Tourcoing begins. In the foreground, an arm of the Roubaix canal that ends there, in the background an old textile factory converted into loft apartments (common in this part of the agglomeration).




Next part: Croisé-Laroche to Roubaix.
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Old September 21st, 2013, 07:01 PM   #3
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I saw this thread before in the French forum, but I gladly look through it a second time. It's a very nice idea and very well executed.
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Old September 25th, 2013, 11:31 PM   #4
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Back to the Croisé -Laroche , direction Roubaix. The route is a little shorter and more urban.

The Croisé -Laroche in Marcq -en- Barœul was originally planned as a " Place de l'Etoile " at the scale of the Lille metropolitan area, with twelve avenues that would have radiated from this point. Finally only four were drawn.


( the photo is not from me )

Overall we can say that this strategic point remains very poorly designed.

33. Overview of the “Avenue du Maréchal Foch”, which leads to downtown Marcq -en- Barœul




34. This residential complex built in 1928-1929 shows the codes of “Ile de France “ architecture of that era. However, you may have noticed, the resort-style (especially with the Anglo-Norman half-timbered gables) is quite present!




35.



36.



37. Art Deco building from 1931, modernist trend: white, panoramic roof terrace, loggia decorated with glazed ceramic ... Originally the building housed reading room and billiards and a bar on two levels.




38. The” tramway”, formerly called " Mongy " , from the name of the “Grand Boulevard” planner. The tramway line Lille- Roubaix- Tourcoing was the only one in France to have continued unabated throughout the twentieth century. Current trains date back from the 90s. This tramway is perhaps the fastest France but it is very noisy.




39 .




40 . Alignment, left to right: “1930 style“ mansion, resort-style townhouse , and finally townhouse which retains the same structure but more Art Deco facade .




41.



42. Bow windows Art Deco



43 .



44 . New paths ...




45 . Newer homes do not face the street any more...




46. Alignment




47.



48 . We are in the municipality of Wasquehal (19,187 inhabitants, 2,797 inhabitants per km2)




49. Ironwork and shape of windows show the influence of Art Nouveau ... Curious style anyway.




50 . This “hôtel particulier” has a polygonal massive tower with a small spire.




51.



52. Building of 1923: the wooden balconies are a reminiscent of seaside architecture, symmetry, and large variety of materials




53.



54. The” Grand Boulevard” has become over time a very busy road and may be called a “highway“... Very difficult to cross, therefore pedestrian bridges were built.




55 . We are on the commune of Villeneuve d'Ascq (63,844 inhabitants, 2,325 inhabitants per km2 )




56.



57. Here we drink the " Ch'ti” bier!




58. The two houses on the sides of regionalist style (the shape of the windows is the same found in Lille old city centre for example), the two houses in the middle of the Art Deco style (including roof terrace)




59 .



60 . Contrary to what we could think, these are not commie blocks but luxury flats.




61 . 1959 tower




62. We enter the town of Croix (21 195 inhabitants , 4774 inhab./km2 )




63. These villas are along the Barbieux Park, which is located on the territory of Roubaix. Those ones are in Art Deco style : even if they do not have the yellow brick commonly used in the area for this style, we recognize as the octagonal "oculus" above the doors, "bow - window " bulging ... However, this is not “pure” Art Deco, by the use of curves in the ironwork for example.




64.
[URL=http://www.hostingpics.net/viewer.php?id=632809DSC01820.jpg][/URL


65 . Symmetry. Both houses may let to think both to art deco and to regionalism . Can you identify the characteristics of each?




66. Park Barbieux , as commonly called "the most beautiful garden northern to Paris ."




67 .



At the site of the park was there 100 years ago the site of the International Exhibition of Roubaix. Instead villas photo 64, these buildings were found, for example:



I think it is shameful that they have been destroyed ... Anyway.
It is interesting to know that 100 years ago Roubaix was nicknamed the “French Manchester”. Indeed it used to be the “first wool city” in the world, with the wool stock exchange which is nowadays in Chicago. As its neighbour city Tourcoing and Lille to a lesser extent, Roubaix suffered from the industrial crisis in the 1960s. The city is recovering slowly, and is headquarters for some “famous” companies as Auchan or La Redoute.


68. We enter the city of Roubaix (95 028 inhabitants, 7183 inhabitants per km2) .




69. 1970s charmless building at the entrance to the “Avenue du General de Gaulle” (formerly Avenue de Paris)...

[URL=http://www.hostingpics.net/viewer.php?id=850775DSC01786.jpg][/URL


70 . Regionalist style mansions, built in the 1880s.




71.



72 .



73. This “baroque” style comes from the neighbouring city of Arras




74 .



75 .



76.



77. An adjacent street



78.



79 . Contemporary buildings also occupy some place on the Boulevard, and I regret that they are almost always built down the street




80 . Indefinable style




81. French style mansion




82.



83 . This Art Deco building was built in 1932




84. End of Grand Boulevard in Roubaix




85.



86. At 100 meters from the art deco building , two remarkablemansions for their symmetry of form and volume. Only their facades are different: they show both a burgeoning eclecticism without domination of a particular style .




87 . Just opposite the purest Art Nouveau (1904) style: inspiration from nature, curved lines ... A small facelift would be good.




87a .



88 . Farther behind the memorial, Roubaix city centre.





Back to Croisé -Laroche for our last step towards Lille !
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Old September 26th, 2013, 12:43 AM   #5
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Very interesting! It's a beautiful boulevard, and I can see clearly the influence of the architectural styles from the first half of the 20th century. Some shots remind me of north american cities!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nijal View Post
25 . A Impressive villa "Arts and Crafts " built in 1930, which suggests as much a farm as a medieval building.

Very nice house! It's a kind of house that you can find in Mar del Plata, a city with a big influence of picturesque architecture. For example link1 y link2. I always found it interesting to know where these styles were most used.
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Old September 26th, 2013, 06:41 AM   #6
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a lovely showcase of varied architectural styles.
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Old September 26th, 2013, 10:42 AM   #7
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WoW really interesting and you show me that France is not only Paris Lille is a nice pretty City!
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Old September 26th, 2013, 11:35 AM   #8
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Beautiful LILLE.
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Old September 27th, 2013, 08:02 AM   #9
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interesting city indeed, with its architecture of different eras.
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Old September 27th, 2013, 08:26 PM   #10
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Great, very nice photos from Lille
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Old September 29th, 2013, 05:18 AM   #11
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Nice to see an area I only briefly passed through in such detail. I must return to this region, especially to see some more old textile mills! But didn't Saint-Étienne and Marseille retain a tram line each during the twentieth century also?
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Old September 29th, 2013, 06:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MattN View Post
But didn't Saint-Étienne and Marseille retain a tram line each during the twentieth century also?
For Saint-Etienne, you are right: it is actually the oldest tramway in France. In Marseilles, the old tramway was stopped in 2004 and a new line was open in 2007, so three years without tramway.


Anyway, back to Croisé -Laroche (in Marcq -en- Barœul) towards Lille, a city we will reach in a few km...


89 . This range of building reminds me some "New England"...




90 .



91 . An Art Deco building on the other side of the Boulevard




92. The use of ceramics is another distinctive feature of Art Deco (especially in Northern France)




93 .




94 . In an adjacent street, a surprising parallelism: the first three townhouses are almost identical (please note the bull's-eye above the door, discreet Art Deco loan) and have square windows at ground floor and “Roman” windows at first floor, while the following three townhouses themselves are identical but have “Roman” windows on the ground floor and square at first floor.




95 .



96 . Strict regionalism




97 . Recent charmless buildings occupy some space (here a bank)

[URL=http://www.hostingpics.net/viewer.php?id=512498DSC01901.jpg][/URL


98. The current music conservatory was built in 1929 in a very unusual “French Renaissance” style in the region, on the whim of a Parisian entrepreneur.




99. Eclecticism




100 . Rare enough to be mentioned: this house is in regionalist trend (pediment) but built in the Paris area style (“meulière” stone, especially found in Paris suburbs)




101. Whiteness




102.



103. This mixed-style townhouse has two turrets




104. The “Grand Boulevard” has long been the major artery for automobile dealerships. Today, most have moved on a soulless highway in Villeneuve d'Ascq.




105. Art Deco (bow windows, oculi, reinforced spans ...)




106. Still Art Deco. This style is really characterized by the richness of its manifestations. The green building and the one on his right hand are very different, yet they are both art deco inspired (even if the green one is more “late” and strict Art Deco).




107. The photo is poor quality, but I could not miss this beautiful building ... art Deco




108. Boulevard seen from above (direction Croisé -Laroche )




109.



110. I think you begin to recognize the style




111. An adjacent street: seaside-resort style and “late” Art Nouveau are mixed




112.



113.



114. From right to left: seaside-resort style, then "1930” style (specific to northern France), and finally Art Deco building.



115.



116.



117. This 1925 building is characterized by the use of yellow brick called “coastal bricks" (because mostly found on the French and Belgian northern coast) and the deployment of a roof terrace on both sides of the last level




118.



119. The building borrows both from Art Deco for its specific features and regionalism by its general appearance




120 . Admire the bricks layout! However, I find that the chosen windows ironwork is not appropriate for this style




121. Old / modern




121 bis.



122. Buildings built in the second half of 20th century are not the best realizations...




122a . What was worth to be destroyed to be replaced by... that ?




122b . In a side street, a nice example of neo-Gothic house, reference to Bruges architecture ( arches ... ) . Beautiful sketch compared to the photo 26.

(photo de Y.Miot, 2008)


123. This building is one of the first social housing! The Rotunda served as headquarters office for the Gestapo during World War II ...




124.



125 . One of the few buildings built before 1914... Art Nouveau style ( especially floral ornaments )




126. On this part, the Boulevard has 5 “mini- tunnels " built in the 70s that enable cars to pass underneath intersections . They helped transform the axis into a quasi- highway: the speed limit is 70km/h... In the 70s , the car traffic was so dense that the axis was nicknamed the "Death Boulevard " in 1977 with one death every twelve days, and serious injuries every day. Today, there are only half cars per day (approximately 50,000) than thirty years ago, but it will be very difficult to restore the axis to its original vocation of “urban” Boulevard.




127. The further we go onto the Boulevard, the more we go back in time: the influence of Art Nouveau is more present (curved ornaments) ...




128. Alliance of Art Nouveau and regionalism (1912). Note the flower cornucopia and the bow window that descends on a twisted column ( humm! )




129.



130.



131. The Haussman (or almost) style is also represented (1911) !




132. An adjacent street: the further we go away from the Boulevard, the more "mansions" give way to "foreman houses" (as it is called) and finally at the very end to more working-class townhouses.




133. Three styles that have nothing to do , from left to right: 1914 mansion in the classic French style "Renaissance", an Art Deco house ( with two garages ) with floral decoration at last floor , and in the right side, construction of neo-Flemish style!




134. The “néo-Flemish” house would be more common in “Old Lille” (old city centre of the city). Please note that this style is called “néo-Flemish” but you would hardly find it in Ghent or Bruges, which are historical Flemish cities currently in Belgium... It is a style specific to Lille area (also historically part of Flanders, but not Flemish-speaking).




135. A beautiful building that has some Germanic influences (more commonly in south-western Germany)




136. We are in the city of La Madeleine (22 174 inhabitants, 7,808 inhab./km2)




137.



138.



139. Contrast 1: two facets of regionalism / art nouveau




140. Contrast 2: two facets of Art deco




141.



142. An Art Nouveau house (1909) which reminds me the famous “Horta” houses in Brussels




143.



144. Adjacent street




145. Lille municipality is now very close




146. On the old ramparts “glacis” (neutral area that stretches between two opposing or fighting forces ) were built in the 2000s modern offices which are the north end of Euralille business district (still on the municipality of La Madeleine) .




147.



148. Towers Euralille 1 (built in early 1990s on the location of old shantytown)




149.



150 . We leave the suburbs of Lille and then enter in the proper municipality of Lille (226,827 inhabitants , 6512 inhab./km2 )



151. An Art Deco building : the telephone exchange (1934)




152.



153. The city centre of Lille starts further. We will not go there.





Well, I hope you enjoyed this little stylistic ride. Of course it was only a few examples among many others. We see that this axis encompasses a lot of characteristic styles from the first half of the twentieth century, some very well-known (Art Nouveau, Art Deco), and other more local (Regionalism , seaside-resort stule , néo-Flemish, néo- gothisme, etc. ). Moreover, from a more historical and political perspective, this axis is important in the history of the conurbation Lille-Roubaix-Tourcoing, because it was the birth of the recognition of a common destiny between Lille and Roubaix- Tourcoing. Finally, it only remains to be hoped that in the future it gets rid of slag that have transformed it into an highway, so that it becomes again a pedestrian-friendly place, and also a showcase for architectural innovation for residential purpose.
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Old September 29th, 2013, 07:23 PM   #13
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Great work, thanks for the effort!

I absolutely love these kind of streets with varied and detailed examples of architecture. We have similar streets in belgium and I found out that you can drive or walk through them for years without getting bored of them. Every time, you will see new things that you didn't notice before. It's a shame that this doesn't apply to the post-war buildings.
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Old October 1st, 2013, 11:25 PM   #14
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Thank you !

Yes, after the war (so during the industrialization of construction industry), we really lose something in terms of architectural quality...
Anyway, it is true that Belgium abounds with those kinds of streets. Contrary to France, eclectism is the king in Belgium (and in old "Pays bas" in more general terms) ! In a way, Lille is a mix between French architectural tradition, more characterized by harmony and sometimes austerity, and Belgium with its sometimes exuberant eclectism.
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Old October 6th, 2013, 09:07 PM   #15
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Thanks for sharing. Very intresting!
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Old October 6th, 2013, 10:09 PM   #16
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I have taken the tram between Roubaix and Lille Flandres station when I visited Lille in August 2009.
I was surprised to see that the Grand Boulevards of Lille were very residential with low number shops, I expected those to have more pedestrian activity.
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Old October 6th, 2013, 10:40 PM   #17
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Thanks for sharing. I've been to Lille and loved it. Really want to go back to explore more. Your pictures are additional inspiration to do that.
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Old October 7th, 2013, 03:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 600West218 View Post
Thanks for sharing. I've been to Lille and loved it. Really want to go back to explore more. Your pictures are additional inspiration to do that.
I particularly appreciated your threads on Northern England and Northern France & Belgium. I would be keen to see your trip in Norther Germany. If you want to come back in northern France, tell me and I would indicate you some interesting (former) industrial places that you may have not visited.
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Old October 7th, 2013, 03:47 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Minato ku View Post
I have taken the tram between Roubaix and Lille Flandres station when I visited Lille in August 2009.
I was surprised to see that the Grand Boulevards of Lille were very residential with low number shops, I expected those to have more pedestrian activity.
You are right. Do not forget that the vocation of the Boulevard is first of all residential and "recreational" (at least originally). its transformation in a "quasi-highway" (losing its recreational role) is obviously not an additional incentive to set up shops. Moreover, the Boulevard is very poorly connected to the centre of Lille, where the main activity is. However, there are some projects to "refurbish" the Boulevard (remove some traffic-lanes, enlarge pedestrian sidewalks...) in order to boost the commercial activity. But unfortunately it is not a priority for political authorities.
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Old October 7th, 2013, 07:06 PM   #20
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I also assume that some redevelopments in Roubaix and Tourcoing would do the boulevard good. Now, many people don't have any reason to go to those place from central Lille.
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