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Lille Christmas Market is wonderfully set in the city’s busy shopping district and is a popular destination for French, British and Belgian visitors. Let’s look closely and find out why you should visit Lille during the festive season!

 

 

Lille Christmas Market

Christmas in Lille Map

The Christmas Market of Lille is the largest of its kind in the Hauts-de-France region (formerly Nord-Pas-de-Calais). The Fédération Lilloise du Commerce, de l’Artisanat et des Services has organised the festive event in the town centre since 1989.

Since 1996, the Christmas market has occupied the square of Place Rihour, not far from the historic Grand’Place, where the Ferris wheel stands.

The warm and festive atmosphere of the Lille Christmas market attracts approximately one million visitors each year.

Lille Christmas Market 2022

 

Christmas lights in Lille

Each year, the streets of Lille shine with bright and festive lights making the city centre a warm and exciting place. Ornaments, lights, tinsel, and garlands decorate the colourful façades and shop windows.

Lille Rue de la Bourse © PIERRE ANDRE LECLERCQ - licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Rue de la Bourse © PIERRE ANDRE LECLERCQ – licence [CC BY-SA 4.0] from Wikimedia Commons

In the Vieux-Lille district, fir-tree garlands of red and gold ribbons adorn the streets of  Rue de la Grande Chaussée and Rue de la Monnaie.

Lille Rue de la Monnaie © Velvet - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Rue de la Monnaie © Velvet – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The district around the Chamber of Commerce and the Opera is also a must-see.

Lille © OTCL Lille : Laurent Ghesquière
Lille at Christmas © OTCL Lille : Laurent Ghesquière

 

Christmas at the Grand’Place

The focal point of central Lille is the large square of Place du Général de Gaulle, also known as the Grand’Place. This is where the people of Lille gather for big celebrations.

Lille Christmas Market © Velvet - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
The Ferris Wheel of Lille Christmas © Velvet – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

The star of the Christmas festivities in Lille might not be Santa but the giant Ferris wheel!

The structure stands in the centre of the Grand’Place and comes from the Netherlands. At 50 metres high, it is one of the tallest big wheels in France. It comprises 36 cabins which can carry 180 passengers. With a weight of 150 tonnes, the Ferris Wheel sparkles with 10,000 light bulbs.

Grand Roue de Lille © OTCL Lille : Laurent Ghesquière
Grand Place of Lille at Christmas © OTCL Lille : Laurent Ghesquière

As you can imagine, the view from the top is breathtaking and embraces the whole city of Lille and its surroundings: the belfries of Lille, the opera, the train station and the Euralille CBD.

The Ferris Wheel operates from 20 November to the beginning of January from noon until late at night.

Lille Christmas Market © Velvet - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
The Ferris Wheel in Lille © Velvet – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

A winter-wonderland village is set up around the big wheel featuring an 18-metre-tall Christmas tree.

Lille Christmas Market © Velvet - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Place du Général de Gaulle (Grand-Place) © Velvet – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

 

Christmas at Place Rihour

The scent of cinnamon and roasted chestnuts will surely lead visitors to the prominent Place Rihour. Just a few metres from the Grand’Place, the modern-looking square has welcomed the famous Lille Christmas Market since 1996.

Lille Christmas Market © harry_nl - licence (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
The Christmas village in Lille © harry_nl – licence (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

 

The village of chalets gathers 90 stalls with ideas for Christmas presents, santons and ornaments for the tree. Some chalets welcome local and regional craftsmen: jewellery, decorative objects, toys… and will make you discover their products and know-how.

Lille Christmas Market © OTCL Lille : Laurent Ghesquière
Lille Christmas Market © OTCL Lille : Laurent Ghesquière

 

The solidarity chalet is also back in 2022, with about twenty associations throughout Christmas.

This is where you will find many local and international savoury and sweet food products such as raclette, croziflette, French fries, speculoos, waffles, gingerbread, mulled wine and hot chocolate.

Lille Christmas market © Fédération Lilloise du Commerce, de l'Artisanat et des Services
Lille Christmas market © Fédération Lilloise du Commerce, de l’Artisanat et des Services

 

Finally, children can meet Father Christmas in his chalet in the Lille Christmas Village.

Access to the Lille Christmas Village is via the main entrance on the Rue Jean Roisin side or the secondary entrance on the Rue de la Vieille Comédie side.

The Lille Christmas market is open from 18 November to 30 December 2022.

 

Animations in the Christmas Village

New animations will energize the Christmas Village of Lille during the six weeks.

Concerts and parades will take place every Friday evening from 6 pm to 8 pm.

For children, creative workshops will take place on Wednesday afternoons in December.

Lille Christmas market © Fédération Lilloise du Commerce, de l'Artisanat et des Services
Lille Christmas market © Fédération Lilloise du Commerce, de l’Artisanat et des Services

 

About Lille

As the capital of an industrial region, Lille can only surprise you with its beautifully restored old town. Everywhere the dazzling architecture of the town centre reveals a perfect harmony of brick and stone on richly decorated façades, reminiscent of a prosperous past. Today, Lille, on the border with Belgium, is a thriving city with more than one million inhabitants and many restaurants, brasseries and cafés.

 

More photos

Lille Winter © Kaelkael - licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Lille in the snow © Kaelkael – licence [CC BY-SA 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
Lille Christmas © Jean-Pol GRANDMONT - licence [CC BY 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons
The Lille Opera at Christmas © Jean-Pol GRANDMONT – licence [CC BY 3.0] from Wikimedia Commons

Grand Place at Christmas © OTCL Lille : Laurent Ghesquière
Grand Place at Christmas © OTCL Lille : Laurent Ghesquière
Lille Christmas market © OTCL Lille : Laurent Ghesquière
Lille Christmas Market © OTCL Lille : Laurent Ghesquière

 

Staying in Lille during Advent

Find your accommodation in Lille during the festive season by clicking on this link or browsing the map below:


Booking.com

 

Ideas for activities and visits in Lille

Some ideas of visits and activities to do during your stay in Lille:

 

 

How to get to the Lille Christmas market

The nearest metro station is “Place Rihour” – Line 1 – direction CHU – Eurasanté from the metro station “gare Lille Flandres”. For more information on public transport networks in Lille.

 

By car

Situated at the crossroads of five motorways, Lille is easily reached from Paris (220 km), Calais (110 km), Brussels (123 km) and Amsterdam (287 km).

You can park your car in the vicinity of the Lille Christmas Market in the INDIGO car parks (book your space on the website https://fr.parkindigo.com or via the Indigo Neo application on App Store or Google Play).

 

By train

Lille has two train stations 400 metres from each other:

  • Lille Flandres is a terminus station with TGV connections to Paris (1h),
  • and Lille Europe has TGV and Eurostar connections to London (1.20 hours), Brussels (35 minutes), Cologne (3.20 hours), and Lyon (3 hours).

 

By air

The closest international airports to Lille are Paris, Charles-de-Gaulle (51 minutes) and Brussels-Zaventem (38 minutes), both accessible by train.

 

English-French Vocabulary

(f) for féminin, (m) for masculin, (adj) for adjective and (v) for verbs

  • Advent = Avent (m)
  • chalet = châlet (m)
  • Christmas = Noël
  • Christmas market = marché de Noël (m)
  • craftsman = artisan (m)
  • Father Christmas = Père Noël (m)
  • Ferris wheel = grande roue (f)
  • holiday season = période de Noël (f), temps des fêtes (m)
  • Nord = Nord (m)
  • Santa = Père Noël (m)
  • square = place (f)
  • street = rue (f)

 

Featured image: © OTCL Lille : Laurent Ghesquière

About the author

Pierre is a French/Australian who is passionate about France and its culture. He grew up in France and Germany and has also lived in Australia and England. He has a background teaching French, Economics and Current Affairs, and holds a Master of Translating and Interpreting English-French with the degree of Master of International Relations, and a degree of Economics and Management. Pierre is the author of the Discovery Course on the Secrets of the Eiffel Tower and the Christmas book "Voyage au Pays de Noël".

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