There’s something in the air in Lille. The once gritty northern French city, left to languish in the face of industrial decline, has experienced a physical and mental rebirth. Brimming with a new found confidence, the amiable Lillois are the first to sing their city’s praises. Lille delights unsuspecting travelers. There’s jaw-dropping architecture, an array of fine museums, afternoon tea in ornate patisseries, designer shopping along Rue de la Grand Chaussée, and gourmet food without the pomp or sticker shock of Paris.
There is a Flemish aura to quaint Vieux Lille (Old Lille) where handsome buildings overhang ancient alleyways that unfurl on to pretty squares and serene courtyards. Tourist interest centers upon the charming shuttered homes of the Quartier Royal, constructed during the city’s 17th-century glory days. The Grand Place is the city’s living room, the place where all the city’s men seem to pass through and ultimately linger. Lille’s Notre-Dame cathedral lurks unassumingly behind the Old Town’s ancient core. Founded in 1066, the cathedral was destroyed during the French Revolution. Following 145 years of toil and trouble, restoration work was completed in 1999.
Designated Europe’s Capital of Culture in 2004, Lille offers enough fine museums to satisfy the most discerning travelers. The Palais des Beaux Arts boasts a superb collection with masterpieces by Goya, Delacroix, Rubens. and Manet. It took untold artistic vision to transform an Art Deco municipal swimming pool into La Piscine Musée d’Art et d’Industrie, a memorable fine arts museum. The life and times of the city’s most famous son, Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970), are told through a series of artifacts and newsreels at the Maison Natale de Charles de Gaulle.
Airports within a 50-mile radius of Lille:
- Lesquin Airport (LIL)
- Wevelgem Airport (QKT)
- Calonne Airport (HZB)
Popular aircraft charters* in the Lille region include:
- Citation Excel (super light)
- Learjet 45 XR (super light)
- Citation CJ3 (light)
- Learjet 31ER 400A (light)
- Learjet 60 XR (midsize)
- Citation III (midsize)
- Gulfstream G200 (super midsize)
- Citation Sovereign (super midsize)
*This is just a sample. Zephyr provides access to aircraft at every end of the spectrum, from luxurious VIP airliners, to ultra long range business jet, helicopters, and economical turboprops.