Lille France

Lille is just one hour and twenty minutes away from London on the Eurostar.

The shopping, in particular, is worth travelling for but there are some really smart new hotels with great restaurants that make alternatives look pretty dull in comparison.

As with many French cities, Lille possesses a great contrast between the old and the new.

In under two hours on the smart Eurostar train from London’s stunningly renovated St Pancras station, Lille has everything you could wish for on a day out or short break. Think great food, excellent shopping, attractive architecture that reflects a long history, a fascinating museum and one of France’s finest art galleries.

Everything you want to see is within walking distance of Lille Europe station, from where it’s an easy stroll into the city.

En route you might want to drop in to Les Trois Brasseurs opposite Lille’s other railway station, and taste one of the rather good beers that this friendly micro-brewery has to offer.

With fountains splashing at her feet, the Goddess atop her column reigns over the busy shops and pavement cafés of the Grand’ Place — official title Place du Général de Gaulle. Lille was the General’s birthplace.