Capital of the Hauts-de-France région, Lille may be France's most underrated metropolis. Recent decades have seen the country's fourth-largest city (by greater urban area) transform from an industrial centre into a glittering cultural and commercial hub. Highlights include its enchanting old town with magnificent French and Flemish architecture, renowned art museums, stylish shopping, outstanding cuisine, a nightlife scene bolstered by 67,000 university students, and some 1600 designers in its environs.
In 2020, Lille will become the World Design Capital (the first French city to do so), with design agencies and other creative enterprises opening their doors to the public, and exhibitions and festivities throughout the year.
Thanks to the Eurostar and the TGV, Lille makes an easy, environmentally sustainable weekend destination from London, Paris, Brussels and beyond.