Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Lille, France

DISCLAIMER: So many pictures!
With out itinerary with Belgium outlined, we found that we had a few days of flexibility, so we decided to head into France...if just by a little bit. Lille is a neat little city just over the boarder from Belgium and was conveniently located between two of our destinations, so it was the logical place to stop over. Adam was flirting with the idea of heading into Paris by train, but I felt that would require more than a few days to give it proper respect (and there is SO much to be seen there!).

Border crossing!

After we got checked into our place, we had about an hour until sunset, so we decided to take a quick walk to get a feel for the city. Well, three hours later and many many miles logged, we returned after a fun jaunt around the city!

Church of Notre Dame de Pentecote

Random garden we came across, artistry with the fruit trees

Over the bridge into the park

All of these subsequent pictures are of the Citadelle de Lille (Citadel of Lille), which was one of my "must see" things in the city. It is a gorgeous old fortification that surrounding have now been turned into a wonderful public park, with a couple of mile loop around the fort itself. We walked around the entire thing, enjoying the changing colors of our surroundings as the light disappeared from the sky.

Front entrance to the Citadel

Rear entrance to the Citadel

After a good night sleep, we decided to spend our day just walking around the city without much intention. Our wonderful host told us about this open market that popped up every Sunday, only a few blocks away, so we decided to start there. We significantly underestimated the size of this "market". It was MASSIVE, spanning numerous streets and blocks, having HUNDREDS of booths, and it felt like the entire population of the city was there bartering their goods for the week.
It was A W E S O M E !
There were booths of street food to be eaten immediately, fruit and vegetable venders, butcheries, bakeries, clothes, shoes, yard sales looking set ups, flowers, tools, etc, etc, ETC.

Olives and tapenades

All things roasted

Adam love his meat in tube form

This doesn't even begin to capture it, multiple times a thousand

Musee des Beaux Arts

I enjoyed their "street art"

Pretty apartments

Grande Palace: It was such a beautiful square!

Grande Palace: Old Stock Exchange

He stood in admiration for quite a while

Grande Palace: Lille Opera House

Grande Palace: The Bell Tower of Lille

Random beautiful street

The park that surrounds the Citadel also holds the Lille Zoo...which is completely FREE, so of course we went!

Red panda


Picturesque peacock

We watched these guys (there are four of them total) play around and harass each other for a good 15-20 minutes. It was hilarious!

Grande Palace

A relaxing afternoon l