Student Life in Lille
As a student who did study abroad in Lille, France for a semester, I highly recommend students to give this small, magical city a try. It is a city found a few hours away from the capital and very close to the border with Belgium. This city has various, great advantages because of its location and its student life. Here are some of the things I recommend doing as a student in this lively city.
Nightlife in Lille
Rue Solferino: Shooter’s Bar
Lille is a city known for its big student population. It is also a destination for a lot of ERASMUS and exchange students from all over the world, who are normally looking to learn the language and experience a different setting. As an exchange student myself, I enjoyed much of the nightlife in Lille. The place to go to at night is Rue Solferino. Here you will find all kinds of different bars and pubs that offer different specialties. As to name some, there is the Shooter’s Bar, which is highly known to sell shots of almost anything at very good prices. This place also offers great music and a nice ambiance for you to chill with your friends while drinking.
Irish Pubs: Temple’s Bar
There is also a list of Pubs around the area that wants to replicate the idea of an Irish setting. The most famous one is called Temple’s Bar, which carries the name from the original and is also very popular among students. You can always go there to order beers and have a nice night out.
Nightclubs: Le Latina Café, Smile, and The Network
Finally, you have your nightclubs. Most of these are not specifically located in Solferino street but they are around the area. If you are someone who enjoys Latino music and its newest hits, then Le Latina Café is surely the club for you. This club opens from Tuesday till Sunday and is free of charge starting at 11:30 p.m. Surprisingly, you will not only find a lot of foreign exchange students but a lot of French people too. Apparently, the French really like their music in Spanish. If you are someone who enjoys various kinds of music and different moments at night, then Smile is the place for you. This club offers three different rooms, each with different music. The music ranges from techno house to 80s, 90s, and Top Hits. However, most of the music is in French, so unless you have a very good knowledge of their music, you won’t be able to sing along to most of their songs. Finally, if you are more of a party beast and you like to enjoy a night out ordering bottles at a table just for you and your friends, then The Network is definitely the place to go. This club is also divided into two rooms with very big dancefloors. The music here is completely modern house music. Because of its popularity, The Network is always very crowded, so if you prefer spending your time at a place where you have your own personal space, The Network is not the best choice for you.
Lille’s City Center
Walk around the city: La Ville Bourse de Lille and the Opera House
Take your time to walk the city and visit its different cultural sites. In the city center, you will find La Vielle Bourse de Lille, a renaissance stock exchange building that has a lovely courtyard that during the weekends has a small flea market. You can also walk around the different shops and find your way to the Opera House. This beautiful building is worth an inside look. It is open to the public and visiting the first floor is free of charge. Sometimes, they even setup expositions in its first floor that one can enjoy without having to pay.
Sightseeing: Notre Dame de la Treille and Porte de Paris
Another must-see is the Notre Dame de la Treille. This Cathedral does not only open its door for the public to explore its spectacular inside, but it also offers a sacred art museum. A lot of locals like to sit outside and enjoy their time when the weather is nice. Finally, the top sightseeing attraction in Lille is Porte de Paris. This monument is a great piece of historical evidence from the time when Louis XVI captured the city. It is impressive and I highly recommend to take a quick walk around it.
Lille connects you to London, Brussels, and Disneyland Paris
I personally loved doing my study abroad in Lille because the city was very close to a lot of European capitals. Its greatest advantage is that you have Brussels’ Charleroi Airport right next door, so if you are trying to travel around for cheap, you can take Ryanair flights to almost anywhere in Europe. You can get to the airport by taking a bus from the main train station and the travel time is of about an hour, so it is really not that much of a struggle. Lille is also two hours away by car from Paris and about an hour away by train. It also has a direct train to Disneyland Paris, which you should visit during the week preferably since the tickets are almost half-priced compared to those on the weekends. Also, you will be able to enjoy the rides as many times as you want, because there will barely be a line for you to make. You will also find that London is a few hours away by train or by bus, which is most of the times way cheaper and not a bad option.
Weekend Trips: CICE Voyages – Cologne, Amsterdam, Luxembourg, and more
If you like to take weekend trips, but you have no one to go with or you don’t like to plan it yourself, there is this great travel agency that is aimed for students who are willing to travel around Europe during the weekends for a cheap price. It’s called CICE Voyages and it has a lot of one-day trips. I did a few of these with my friends and it was really worth it. Normally, it includes transport and, when doing a two- or three-day trip, it also includes your stay. Some of its most frequent destinations are Cologne, Mont Saint-Michel, Amsterdam, Bruges, and Luxembourg.