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France Map and Nord-pas de Calais state map. The red point indicates the geographical location of Roubaix city.

ROUBAIX


Roubaix is a town in the “Nord” department in northern France. It is located between the cities of Lille (15 min by car) and Tourcoing (5 min by car).

Roubaix is the second largest city in the French region of Nord-Pas-de-Calais ranked by population with about 100,000 inhabitants. Together with Lille, Tourcoing, Villeneuve-d’Ascq and 81 other communes, Roubaix gives structure to a metropolitan area inhabited by around 1.1 million people: the Urban Community of Lille Métropole.

To a greater extent, Roubaix belongs to a vast conurbation formed with the Belgian cities of Mouscron, Kortrijk, Tournaiand Menen, which gave birth to the first European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation in January 2008, Lille–Kortrijk–Tournai, which counts for a total of over 2 million inhabitants.

The city is served by the Lille Metro.

A city renowned for art and history, the city remains famous for its architectural heritage and for the economic boom which took place here during the Industrial Revolution of the 19th century, thanks to the textile industry, of which it was the worldwide capital at the beginning of the 20th century. The main French mail order houses were founded here (La Redoute and 3 Suisses).

Roubaix has created new economic industries. It has a strong cultural political emphasis (La Piscine Museum, Condition publique, Colisée, National Archives of the World of Work) and an important student presence (EDHEC Business School, ENSAIT).

The city is well known for its cycling race Paris-Roubaix which is over 259.5 km and includes almost 50 km of cobblestone sections.


Lille


Lille (in Dutch: Rijsel) is a medium-sized city in the Nord-Pas de Calais region of northern France with a very large student population. This city has a strong industrial background, but, after some difficult years, it is now known throughout France for its handsome city centre and its very active cultural life.

Lille is France’s fifth largest metropolitan area and fourth urban area. It is located to the country’s north, on the Deûle River, near the border with Belgium.The whole metropolitan area of Lille, both on French and Belgian territory (Courtray, Tournai) was estimated in 2007 at around 1,885,000 inhabitants, ranking as one of the major metropolitan areas of Europe.

Lille has two subway lines that connect the centre of the city with several suburbs. It also has many bus lines that go throughout the city and two lines of cable trains that go to Roubaix and Tourcoing which are other important cities of the region. See the link of Transpole Public transportation in Lille.

Lille has a very nice city centre, excellently suited for a city trip. Most of the sights can be combined in a walking tour.

Must see

  • La Vieille Bourse (1653). Right between two picturesque squares, Place du Général-de-Gaulle and Place du Théâtre, this former commercial exchange still plays a central part in the life of the city. You may find booksellers and flower markets in the inner court.
  • The main square, Place du Général-de-Gaulle, better known as the “Grand’place”, has many lovely historic houses, like the neo-Flemish headquarters of local newspaper La Voix du Nord, and a fountain with the statue of a goddess, “la Grande Déesse” (1843).
  • Place Rihour, surrounded by restaurants, houses the tourist information centre inside its main attraction, the Palais Rihour (1453).
  • The town hall is worth a look and can be combined nicely with a visit to the Porte de Paris (1692).
  • The Opera (1923) and the Chamber of Commerce (1921) are located close together and offer magnificent sights, especially when lit-up at night.
  • Take a stroll through the old quarter of the city, known as Vieux Lille, and enjoy the quiet, cobble-stone streets, the variety of stylish designer shops, gourmet restaurants, and the modern Cathédrale Notre Dame de la Treille. More notable streets like Rue de la Monnaie and Rue Esquermoise are definitely worth the trip.
  • A bit farther from the city centre is la Citadelle, an interesting example of defensive military architecture, built by Vauban, a famous French military architect, under the reign of Louis the Fourteenth. In the same area is a zoo (free of charge) and a lovely park.

Museums

  • Musée des Beaux-Arts, a famed museum covering European art from 15th – 20th century.
  • Museum of Natural History, a large collection of stuffed mammals, insects, fossils, etc.
  • Musée de l’Hospice Comtesse, a former hospital now presenting art.
  • Musée d’Art et d’ Industrie de Roubaix : La Piscine, a 20th century art museum hosted in a beautiful “Art déco” (start of 20th century) former swimming pool.
  • LAM – Lille Art Modern Museum, modern art, outsider art, contemporary art.

Must do

  • The open market, Marché de Wazemmes, is open every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday morning, but the busiest day is definitely Sunday. Vendors sell everything from fresh fruits and vegetables, books and stationery, suitcases and shoes, even perfume and undergarments! Be sure to pick up a bag of fresh clementines, a bright bouquet of fresh-cut flowers, some rotisserie chicken and roast potatoes for lunch, and a glass of beer at one of many little pubs surrounding the market.
  • La Braderie is an annual street fair held every September, for which millions of people come to Lille. You will find everything: paintings, antiques, ornaments, furniture. Inhabitants are partying, eating mussels with French fries and drinking, in a very fun atmosphere.
  • Go for a drink in style at the Hermitage Bar, in the Hermitage Gantois luxury hotel.The place is open to the general public providing you’re dressed and behaving appropriately, and is one of the most refined spots to enjoy a drink in Lille (priced accordingly). The hotel also hosts art exhibitions that you can enjoy free of charge.

Region Nord- Pas de Calais – Picardie

Our region Nord-Pas-de-Calais-Picardie is one of the 27 regions of France. It consists of the departments of Nord and Pas-de-Calais and Picardie. Nord-Pas de Calais is situated north of the Picardy region and borders Belgium in the north and east, the English Channel in the west and the North Sea in the northwest. The majority of the region was once part of Southern Netherlands, a Low Countriesterritory under the crown of the Holy Roman Empire and ruled by Burgundy, followed by Spain and subsequently Austria. It gradually became part of France between 1477 and 1678, particularly during the reign of king Louis XIV. The historical French provinces that preceded Nord-Pas-de-Calais are Artois, French Flanders and French Hainaut, and portions of Picardy. These provincial designations are still frequently used by the inhabitants, which offers a sense of civic pride.

With its 330.8 people per km2 on just over 12,414 km2, it is a densely populated region, having some 4.1 million inhabitants—seven percent of France’s total population, making it the fourth most populous region in the country—83% of whom live in urban communities. Its administrative centre and largest city is Lille.

In Northern France, enjoy the trip tips : visit our land of numerous local festivals, belfries, beer, mussels, mills, giants, sand-yachts and art…The welcome is always warm and hospitable, so join us and feel at home.