The city of Lille is in Northern France and it is known as the host of one of the best Christmas markets in Europe, which attracts tourists, artists, and vendors from all over the world. Drive your car hire in Lille, hop on the Ferris wheel and enjoy the view of the winter wonderland underneath you!
Christmas market on Place Rihour
The century-old traditional Christmas market in Lille is held on Place Rihour, which is in the heart of the city. Enchanting and flamboyant old buildings with colourful facades together with the smell of cinnamon will leave you speechless.
From the end of November, you can visit around 80 decorated wooden stalls, where vendors offer everything from artisan crafts to delicious festive food. Christmas market on Place Rihour provides fun activities for the whole family! There are several Christmas concerts and shows lined up every year, and even a special Santa’s grotto for children to play in and take pictures with Santa Claus. Warm-up while strolling around the Christmas market with a cup of mulled wine or hot chocolate, and roasted chestnuts!
Since this French Christmas market is slightly smaller than the ones in Paris or London, you can easily take some time to explore the city. Around the main square, where this market is located, you will be able to find many good restaurants, bars, and cafes. We recommend trying out La Fossetta, Be Yourself, Brasserie de la Paix or La Menara. Craving traditional Belgium delights and pastries? Drive your car hire in Lille from Place Rihour to Patisserie Meert. They offer the best selection of cakes, cookies, waffles filled with vanilla cream, chocolates, caramels, biscuits and other mouth-watering sweets for you to try while sipping on a cup of tea.
There are also plenty of shops for you to visit in case you haven’t found anything special at the Christmas market. You can shop till you drop on Rue Basse and Rue des Chats Bossus, or simply enjoy the gorgeous window displays!
If you have any questions or want more information about this French city, look no further as there is a tourist office right next to the Christmas market in Lille!
Christmas market on Grand’Place
The biggest Christmas celebrations are held on the large square of Grand’Place, just a few minutes away from Place Rihour. Don’t miss this Christmas market in Lille since it has one of the tallest Ferris wheels in France! Sound exciting right? Make sure to pack your camera as the view from above provides a truly spectacular view of the beautifully decorated city below. The Ferris wheel ride will be such a charming experience. Let us tell you, even Santa Claus ride the giant Ferris wheel every year and children in town are always on the look for him. Next to the Ferris wheel, you will find the Christmas tree. You really can’t miss it since it is around 20 meters tall!
If you haven’t eaten anything yet, we strongly recommend you try the so-called Noel Burgers. This aren’t you average fast-food burgers; despite being prepared rather quickly. Noel Burgers are made from local and fresh ingredients, between the local bread roll you will most likely find divine local cheese, an egg, fried onions, ground beef, and some homemade sauce (try the one with mustard and maple syrup). Of course, you will find different variations of this burger at different stalls. If you are craving something sweet opt for the French pancakes, known as “crepes”, which have different fillings from homemade jam and kids favourite melted chocolate or hazelnut spread. Find the best one for yourself and as they say in France “Bon appetit”!
While you are already there, stop by the Vieux-Lille. It is an area with lovely cobblestoned streets in the historic city centre, filled with many small boutiques, artisan shops, museums, and upscale restaurants. In the same area, you will also be able to visit the Opera house, birth house of de Gaulle, and the 17th-century stock exchange known as the Bourse, where you can learn how to dance tango in the courtyard.
Next to the neighborhood of Vieux-Lille, you will find the Zoo, which is divided into 6 thematic areas that are home to over 70 different animal species and it is also opened during the winter. Visit of the Zoo can provide a lot of fun activities and animations for the whole family since the goal of the Zoo is to educate the public on raising awareness of endangered species.
The zoo is located in the same area as the active military base from the 17th-century. Catch a guided tour for a glimpse into the past and present military base operations. This historical landmark is a Pentagonal citadel and it is surrounded by a scenic park, where you can get some fresh air.
Car hire in Lille
Lille could be your next perfect Christmas or weekend getaway, as it is located only 75 minutes from the Channel, Brussels, and Calais. It is not even that far from Paris or Amsterdam.
We recommend immersing yourselves in the best French foods and drinks during this holiday season by car hire in Lille! You can park your car hire in Lille near the Palais Rihour, Park Carnot or on Boulevard Carnot, but keep in mind the parking lots might be full or it will take you some time to find a spot since it tends to get more packed during the holiday season.