Friday, 24 July 2009
North of Paris to a city called Lille is where I ventured to last month. As I sat on the Eurostar on the Friday night thoughts of red wine, baguettes and cheese filled my head. I hadn’t been to France in over a year and never as north as Lille… I was excited. Excited for the adventure and a chance to practice my (poor) French.
Lille is situated on the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium. This close proximity plays an intricate part of the culture and spoken dialect in Lille, finding more similarities with its neighbours than the south of France which made for an interesting experience. For starters my French skills (if you can call them that) were completely useless. I spoke English instead which made everyone’s life easier. Secondly not only is the wine really nice but the beer is fantastic, try the local selections of Ch’ti. And thirdly the mussels were delicious (so I’ve heard, I don’t like them myself!). Okay so there are only a few things…
One attraction that should not be missed and was one of my personal favorites is…Known to the locals as ‘La Piscine’ this museum of art and industry is housed in a former municipal swimming pool designed by Lille architect Albert Baert. It’s only a short metro ride away to neighbouring city Roubaix. Don’t let the exterior put you off, as inside is an exquisite example of art deco showcasing the permanent collections in the old cloakrooms, shower cabinets and pool itself.