Day 1,598 of Traveling the World | Lille, France | June 18, 2022

Lille, France, is one of those large, small towns. But now that we’ve looked at the city’s statistics, that might not be entirely true, as it has a population of about a quarter of a million people. The feeling is that of a small town, however. The Old Town in the city center is very compact and very walkable. There are two enormous churches in the Old Town, but only one of them is a cathedral. There are ancient buildings and a modern train station. Every restaurant has outdoor seating, regardless of the view offered. We passed an Italian restaurant whose view was of buildings covered in graffiti across the street, and we wondered why anyone would eat there rather than in one of the pretty squares, or along the pretty cobblestone streets. We can only guess that the food makes it worth it, but we didn’t verify that ourselves.

We caught a little of the European Heat Wave here that we have been hearing so much about on the news. It was very hot walking from place to place, and even relatively short walks felt oppressive. One thing we have found in France is that the businesses don’t provide us with much humor. In other places, we are always seeing goofy windows and funny signs in front of businesses. We did see a lighthearted barber shop, as you will see below, but it isn’t overtly funny, just subtly. And now, we are off to Belgium once again!

Lille Chamber of Commerce Building with its stunning Belfry.
Opera de Lille, built between 1907 and 1913.
This magnificent structure is a newspaper headquarters. The facade is decorated with the coats of arms of the cities related to the newspaper. On top of the building are three golden statues representing the areas of Flanders, Hainaut, and Artois.
Vieille Bourse de Lille, the glorious 17th century Stock Exchange.
The Bourse’s inner courtyard, comprised of 24 identical houses, formerly used by the traders. Today the courtyard hosts mostly booksellers, chess players, and florists.
Notre Dame de La Treille Cathedral of Lille, built in stages over many generations between 1856 and 1975! The modern facade completed the construction in 1999. The rather plain exterior is now covered in scaffolding, but the Gothic inside is thrilling.
This is the entrance to the church, taken from the altar. Its stunning window is said to represent the cycle of death and resurrection, and (somewhere) features astronauts and UFOs.
A contemporary statue is framed in the soaring arches.
La Sainte Chapelle, featuring a statue of Mary from the 12th century. It is a chapel behind the main altar, but looks like a complete church all on its own.
Some of the contemporary Stations of the Cross…all of them were quite moving.
A modern Death and Resurrection.
One pretty street in the medieval Old Town.
A building with an arch leading to another street off the Bourse plaza.
The pretty – and lively! – square where the Bourse is located. If you look carefully at the back bank of buildings, a McDonald’s is hiding there. Every ancient, honored place in France seems to have a McDonald’s.
Another view down a cobblestoned pedestrian street.
We liked the architecture, and brightness, of this building.
St. Maurice Catholic Church. If you didn’t know better, you might think this is the cathedral…it is huge, soaring, takes up quite a lot of space – and, who would think a relatively small city could support two massive churches?
St. Maurice has left the “high altar” in the back, with the altar at the front and the ambo for reading scripture in the middle of the assembly. The chairs faced all directions. It was beautiful to see.
A great face on a building, up close.
All pink! Note the pretty bicycle in the back
…and they sell a – Donutshake! It looks incredible, but how do you deconstruct it? With a fork, spoon, straw, or fingers? One thing for sure – it looks messy!
We like the concept of a barber shop with a bar named “Vilians” that uses King Kong with a bow tie as a mascot. It all seems to fit, right?
OH DADDY DAY! Happy Father’s Day to all the dads who read our stuff!