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Lille wonder: a whistle-stop tour of a Franco-Belgian jewel

Take a quick Eurostar trip from London for a short break to a city with a medieval heart but a modern approach to life

Lille may not be the obvious city for a short break, despite the fact it’s highly convenient to reach via Eurostar. On the train, I flick through the current issue of Metropolitan, the Eurostar magazine, which skips past Lille to focus on the more obvious tourist locations of Paris, Brussels and Amsterdam. However, when you alight here this city feels as if it’s transforming.

Get past the sight of Primark that greets you from the station and there’s a medieval heart, with curving, pedestrianised streets. There’s a Franco-Belgium feel, from the place names to a love of mussels and the craft-brewery scene. Lille houses France’s biggest university; there are 67,000 students floating around in term-time.

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