I will try to show us what is really Lille: Lively, forward-looking Lille just may be France's most underrated major city.
Lille metropolis is a conurbation between 3 big cities (Lille-Roubaix-Tourcoing), that's why we considerate Lille as a big city even if the population of Lille is low... but there is to know that Lille-Roubaix-Tourcoing are linked in the way you don't feel the transition between these cities (it's an unique entity). However, Lille is the most powerfull city (we can think that lille-Roubaix-Tourcoing are like districts and lille acts as the city center of the whole metropolis).
here you can see the rank of the 4th biggest urban area of France (INSEE 1999):
Paris (urban area): 11 174 740
Lille (urban area): 1 727 525 (with the belgian side of the metropolis)
Marseille (urban area): 1 516 100
Lyon (urban area): 1 348 832
Lille (urban area): 1 143 125 (french part of the metropolis only)
i offer some pictures of Lille by district, to discover the city:
Euralille, the last one to be built
View of the construction of the district center of Euralille:
Euralille in the beginning (1995):
Euralille from Le Romarin (Le Romarin makes part of euralille project - 2005):
Crédit lyonnais Tower (120m - built by Christian de Portzamparc):
Tour Lilleurope (115m - built by Claude Vasconi):
Euralille mall (build by Jean nouvel) with the 4 Eurocity tower (56m - the 5th will be build in december 2006):
Details between every Eurocity Tower:
Hôtel Lille Europe (Built in the side of the commercial center):
Euralille atrium: Worls Trade Center.
Lille Europe: High Speed Train Station which links directly Paris (1h00) - Brussels (40min) - London (1h30) to the Metropolis.
Hôtel Crowne Plaza and the offices of the european railway agency:
view of a part of the Lille Grand Palais (built by Rem Koolhaas): concert hall (7000 seats), 3 amphiteaters and a great area for expositions (to respond the demands, another building will be built):
nord pas de calais' headquarters (under construction in euralille 2)
Lille City Center (belfry - opera house and gate of Roubaix) from Euralille
the belfry - Flemish city symbol - Lille is the only flemish city to have got 2 belfries
the Belfry and the opera house:
Palais de la bourse:
the Grand' Place, main place of the city, and the vieille bourse (old stock exchange):
La vieille bourse, indeed, this building is composed of 24 houses. It was the place where the richest business-minded was dealing between themselves:
aerian view of the Place du théâtre (here appear the belfry, opera and vieille bourse) located next to the Grand' Place (central point of every flemish city - ex: Grand' Place de Brussels, Anwerp, Bruges, Ghent and many others...):
Frontages in the Grand' Place (Who said that Lille was grey????):
Another frontage - In this city you can find an incredible mix of architectures from french-parisian to flemish, from victorian-english industrial period architecture to "nouveau style Lillois" of the 19th century and spanish style of the 17th century - this is the result of the strategic position of the city, between many cultures and influences (Lille is french only since 1660).
Le furet du nord of Lille (only located in the northern french cities): the 2nd largest book shop in the world (after toronto - don't take care of the size of the frontage, inside it is really big)
Theatre du Nord, before being a theater, this building was the seat of the city military power located in the Grand' Place in order to control the people:
View of the pedestrian area by night. Close to this street is located the 4th french commercial street (By number of custumers - Rue de Béthune):
Place de la république, fine arts museum (2nd museum of france after the Louvre of Paris):
view of the second part of the museum which seems to be like a big mirror:
the préfecture of the département Nord with the amphiteater:
City Hall with its belfry (105m high) and the gate of Paris built by Louis XIV to celebrate the seized with Lille.
the city hall (1920's): the architecture of this building try to copy the old flemish style mixed with art deco style.
View of the new part of the City Hall:
Aeran view of the city hall:
belfry of the city hall from the old train station called "Lille-Flandres":
The train station Lille-Flandres:
Inside the station (in pink for Lille 2004: European capital of culture):
Rue Faidherbe by night: street which link the train station to the city center (Grand' Place). the buildings of this street are copied from the typical parisian style with some variations for some of them in order to be in the lille unhabitants taste:
Lille city center under the snow:
the only part which remains from an old great palace called "palais Rihour":
the citadelle Vauban called too : "the queen of the citadelles":
Catholic university of Lille:
Inside the palais rameau by night:
House of the area:
an exemple of Lille unhabitants' excentricity (well, i hope you are able to see the great mix of style in these photograph - well, i will try to find some pics of real excentric architectures to show us later):
... and others great things to see in these districts and others...
Lille Métropole was the first urban area to use a totaly automatic subway in the world (first line 1978-1983). nowadays, many french cities (rennes / toulouse / linea D lyon / linea VAL Orly de paris) and others cities throught the world (turin / linea muzha de tapeï / linea O'hare de Chicago /... ) use this system.
every year, the Val (name of the subway) carry over 48 milions pasagers in the metropolis.
The line 2 still is the longest subway line in the world (32km - 44 stations).
Every station has its own design: here you can see some exemples:
Euroteleport in Roubaix (96 984 unhabitants):
Les Près in Villeneuve d'ascq (65 042 unhabitants):
Mercure in Tourcoing (93 540 unhabitants):
Gare Lille Europe in Euralille (The wall are painted by Jean Pattou, local artist):
Quartz and Crystal Europe Buildings (under Construction):
Centre Europe Azur + Côté Grand Palais (under construction):
La bois habité in Euralille 2 (buildings in an artificial wood - under construction):
Another building in project in euralille 2 (by Dominique Perrault):
Project of a casino, probably with a tower of 100 / 120m high which would shelter a hotel (i don't have any photo).
A 3rd building above the train Station Lille Europe: In the beginning, a 3rd building above the station Lille Europe in Euralille was planed. Nowadays, the station is in service and the construction of a building (tower or not) above Lille Europe is enough dangerous... then the project remains inside boxes... but it's not forgotten. Here, you can see one of the design offered:
I'm in Lille since two months and I really like this city ! Both traditionnal and modern architecture, friendly people and lot of cultural events.
Moreover, Its located in the centre of a "european capitals triangle" (Paris, London, Bruxels), and it's directly linked to this cities thanks to TGV, Eurostar and Thalys high speed trains. So, i would bet on this city and its potential of development...
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