Getting there & away
Eurolines (03 20 78 18 88; 23 parvis St-Maurice; Gare Lille-Flandres; 9.30am-6pm Mon-Fri, 1-6pm Sat, longer hours Jul-Aug) serves cities such as Brussels (€14, 1½ to two hours), Amsterdam (€41, six hours) and London (€34, six hours). Buses depart from blvd de Leeds, to the left as you arrive at Gare Lille-Europe from av Le Corbusier (look for the anonymous white ‘Autocar’ sign behind the taxi rank).
Driving into Lille is incredibly confusing, even with a good map. To get to the city centre, the best thing to do is to suspend your sense of direction and blindly follow the ‘Centre Ville’ signs.
Parking at the Champ de Mars (the huge car park just east of the Citadelle) costs €3 a day (free entry and exit from 8pm to 6am), including return travel (for up to five people) to the city centre on the Citadine bus line. Parking is free along some of the streets southwest of rue Solférino and up around the Maison Natale de Charles de Gaulle.
Car hire for less than the biggies charge is available from the following companies:
ADA (03 20 57 02 25; 2 rue Gustave Delory; Mairie de Lille)
DLM (03 20 06 18 80; 32 place de la Gare; Gare Lille-Flandres; 8am-noon & 2-6pm Mon-Sat)
Rent-A-Car Système (03 20 40 20 20; 113 rue du Molinel; Rihour or République Beaux Arts)
Lille has been linked with Paris by rail since 1846. Its two train stations are one stop apart on metro line No 2.
Gare Lille-Flandres is used by almost all regional services and most TGVs to Paris’ Gare du Nord (€35.40, at peak hours €48.40, 64 minutes, 23 daily Monday to Friday, 15 daily Saturday and Sunday).
Gare Lille-Europe – an ultramodern structure topped by what looks like a 20-storey ski boot – handles pretty much everything else, including Eurostar trains (www.eurostar.com) to London (1¾ hours), TGVs/Eurostars to Brussels (Monday to Friday/weekend €24/15.50, 40 minutes, 11 to 13 daily) and TGVs to Nice (€110.30 or €130.40, 7¼ hours, two direct daily).