Cities in FRANCE
Lille is the capital of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region and the prefecture of the Nord department. It is the main city in the metropolitan area. It is the largest conglomeration in France after Paris, Lyon and Marseille. Lille is located on the river Deûle, near the French border with Belgium. According to the 2007 census, there were 226,014 inhabitants in the city of Lille and 1,164,716 inhabitants in the metropolitan area. The city is a former industrial center.
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Lille coordinates are: 50° 38'14'N 3° 03'48'E
Lille has a moderate maritime climate, the summers are not too hot. In winter, the temperature can drop below zero. The average temperature is 13.6 °C, the average winter temperature is 6.1 °C. The highest temperature measured is 36.1 °C, the lowest -3.1 °C. The average precipitation is 723 mm over the whole year. The sun shines an average of 1,600 hours a year.
According to legend, Lille was founded in the year 640. Archaeological research shows that the area was already inhabited from 2000 BC. The city was first mentioned in a document from the year 1066. The original inhabitants of this region were the Gauls, who were succeeded by Germanic tribes, the Saxons and the Frisians and later by the Franks. Lille has a long history and a rich tradition of armed resistance. It is a city that has suffered the greatest number of sieges in all of France.
In the 16th century, the regional textile industry became increasingly important and there were Protestant revolts in Lille. In 1667, Louis XIV of France successfully besieged Lille and annexed Lille in 1668, under the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle. Lille remained Catholic in the 18th century. It played a small part in the French Revolution, there were riots and churches were destroyed. In 1790, the city held municipal elections for the first time. By 1800 the city had about 53,000 inhabitants and in 1804 Lille was declared the capital of the province of the Nord department. In 1846 a railway was built between Paris and Lille. In 1912 the population grew to 217,000, the Industrial Revolution gave a boost to the development of the city, especially the coal mines and the textile industry became important. In July 1921, Albert Calmette and Camille Guerin discovered the first anti-tuberculosis vaccine at the Pasteur Institute in Lille.
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Lille was elected European Capital of Culture in 2004, along with the Italian city of Genoa. Lille has different architectural styles, with a lot of influence from Flemish architecture through the use of brown and red brick. Characteristic are the two to three storey terraced houses with narrow back gardens. This is unusual in France. Lille's street scene is a transition from the architecture of France to the neighboring countries of Belgium, the Netherlands and England, where brick houses were built in large numbers. Architectural heritage includes the Gothic style of the Middle Ages (Saint-Maurice and Sainte-Catherine churches); the Renaissance (Houses in Rue Basse), Flemish Mannerists in Vieille Bourse (Old Stock Exchange), Classical style (Saint-Étienne, Saint-Andre churches, the Citadelle), Gothic Revival (Cathedrale Notre-Dame-de-la-Treille), Art Nouveau (House Coilliot), regional Art-Deco - Hôtel de Ville (town hall) and the contemporary modern structures of Euralille. Construction of this important urban project started in 1991. The center opened in 1994 and the renewed district is now full of parks and modern buildings with offices, shops and apartments.
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The famous sights in the city that tourists like to visit are: Notre Dame de la Treille Cathedral, the Citadel of Lille, the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille and the Botanical Garden of the Pharmaceutical Faculty.
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The Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille (Palace of Fine Arts) is one of the largest museums in France and the largest French museum outside of Paris. It is one of the first museums to be built in France under Napoleon I in the early 19th century. The museum covers 22,000 square meters and features the second largest collection in France after the Louvre. The rich collections of paintings, sculptures, drawings and other artifacts include works by Raphael, Donatello, Van Dyck, Tissot, Jordaens, Rembrandt, Goya, El Greco, David, Corot, Courbet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Delacroix, Rubens, Rodin, Claudel and Jean-Baptiste Chardin. The museum contains a design department, a sculpture gallery, a ceramics collection and a number of models of the fortified cities of the north of France and Belgium and a rich collection of coins.
photo:JANNICK Jeremy in the public domain
Also visit Euralille, this is a new district with futuristic towers, which was built in 1994. Euralille is the new economic heart of the city. Here you will find the ultramodern train station, the Grand Palais (conference rooms, fair, exhibition rooms and event rooms) and the Euralille shopping center. Famous architects have contributed to it, including Rem Koolhaas.
Last updated October 2020
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