Arty Party Lille and Lille3000

Written by on November 27, 2015 in Art and Artists, Nord-Pas de Calais


Lille  knows how to enjoy the good life big time, like no other city I’ve ever been to this is the capital of fun French style.

Lille is the home of Lille3000 – so called because when the town became European Capital of Culture in 2004 the Lillois (people of Lille) loved how their town was transformed so much they decided to carry on the arty party. They wanted, in fact to carry on until the year 3000 and Lille3000 was born.

It’s an art festival like no other. It takes place in museums, public buildings, streets and train stations. It’s quirky, grand, traditional and contemporary, intimate and imposing – all at the same time and depending on where you enjoy it, since it takes place in all 77 districts of Lille. This is an event for the 21st Century.

Lille is one of the top ten biggest cities in France and it’s also one of the most beautiful, especially in the old part of town, Vieux Lille. It’s also one of the most cultural, artistic, gastronomic and fun towns in France.

Lille3000 Renaissance 2015/2016

lille3000-rio-carnival-sculpturesAs soon as you reach the centre of Lille with the very grand Rue de Faidherbe built to the Hausmanian principle (all grand facades and a wide boulevard) you’ll see that it’s also a temporary home to some rather amazing pieces of art. As is the train station, the Vielle Bourse, the 26 museums, heritage buildings and art galleries and various other places. This is the 4th such event in Lille, each time there is a different theme and this year’s is Renaissance. Not in the traditional sense but in the way that places reinvent themselves.

The whole thing kicked off with a huge street parade at the end of September, complete with huge floating Godzilla sculptures and flavoured with a touch of the famous Rio Carnival. (You can read about it and see the stunning photos here). But the fun didn’t stop there.

As this is a town that loves to party the organisers are laying on more weekends dedicated to some of the exhibiting partners – Rio, Detroit, Eindhoven, Seoul and Phnom Penh.

For a weekend of wonderment, the biggest exhibitions are at the bigger museums and I guarantee, you will be wowed by just what’s on right now in Lille until January 2016.


At the stunning Palais des Beaux Arts – an exhibition called Joie de Vivre aims to shed light on what brings us joy. Using art in its traditional form with paintings the greats like Renoir and Picasso to less well-known but important artists. Until 17 January 2015. Take time to enjoy the rest of the museum when you go, it has an enormous collection, much of it acquired by Napoleon during the course of his military successes. Details:

La Piscine: Just 20 minutes from Lille by metro, the magnificent art deco swimming pool turned museum (by the same architect who converted the Musee d’Orsay) is hosting a Marc Chagall exhibition. 200 works have been collected in one place and for Chagall fans – this is a must. (Until 31st January 2016). There’s also a large permanent collection of artworks that are worth the visit at any time. Details:

lille3000-tripostalLaM The Museum of Modern art, Villeneuve d’Asq has an exhibition which runs until 10 January. “Where the Day Begins”. Here the theme of Renaissance takes the form of a poetic journey with the theme of emancipation of the individual by knowledge of the world around him through the use of some unusual and also beautiful pieces of artwork. Details:

Tripostal: the former post office turned art gallery (which also has a great little café) is hosting Seoul, quick, quick! Colourful, energetic, dynamic and uber modern  in style, this is an exuberant exhibition that makes visitors smile and also consider the rapid modernisation of Seoul. Details:

But this is not all, there are dozens of exhibitions, street art and sculpture and events celebrating art in all its forms in this vibrant French city.

See the full programme here:

Lille for Shopping, Gastronomy and Fun…

While you’re there, don’t miss out on the chance to indulge in a spot of shopping, there are thousands of shops, big names, brands but also many independent boutiques and outlets where you’re sure to find something to take home – and no one else will have anything like it!

This is THE place to go for the best of French gastronomy – there are hundreds of restaurants, brasseries, bars, cafés and pop up eateries.

For a traditional meal head to the centre of Lille and the ancient Barbue d’Anvers, a 16th century house in a cobbled courtyard, with its old wood panelling, creaky staircase and wonderful décor you’ll be happy to spend several hours here. Great food, great ambience.

Read the full article in the November/December issue of The Good Life France…

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