Posted by on 29th Jul, 2019

By Hannah, BA Business and Management with European Study

My year abroad has been spent at EDHEC Business School, which is 30 minutes away from Lille in the North of France.

Getting to Lille from England is surprisingly easy, the Eurostar runs directly to Lille Europe Station from London St Pancras in just 1 hour and 20 mins, which was one of the main reasons that I chose the north of France, as it is easy to go home whenever you want to. Make sure you book in advance though as around busy times (e.g. Christmas) the prices get expensive!

Lille is also in the perfect position to be able to travel to lots of different places, you can get a bus to Amsterdam, Bruges, Brussels and Paris very easily and cheaply. Being so close to Belgium means that a lot of the food in Lille has Belgian influences, which you can’t get anywhere else.

The city itself is fairly big, (a lot bigger than Exeter), but is easy to navigate around and the transport system is really good. It is also very easy to get from the campus to the city by either tram or metro, and you can get around the city on foot.

Vieux Lille (Old Lille) is the best part of the city for bars and restaurants and is definitely the prettiest part. The bars there are great if you want a chilled vibe and they even have a couple of English pubs if you fancy an actual pint and some home comforts.

A lot of the restaurants are reservation only, and the best way to get a table is to go down to the restaurant at around 6.30pm when it first opens and queue to book a table for later on. Although this can be annoying it’s usually worth it for the amazing food!

The nightlife in Lille is pretty good; you won’t find a club playing cheesy bangers as they play mainly Latina music. The two main clubs are La Latina, and Le Network.

La Latina is small, but it’s always busy and I’ve never had a bad night there; Le Network is the closest you’ll get to an English club and is probably the nicest club in Lille. Clubs in Lille are open until 6am, and don’t get busy until after 1am so the norm is to go into the city a bit earlier and go to a bar first.

Lille is an amazing city with a lot to offer, however, you have to be careful and it always pays to keep your wits about you. Always get an Uber home or a Heetch (French alternative that is usually cheaper), and always make sure you have friends to go back with. Also, be aware of your belongings – it helps to keep an eye on your friend’s too.

I do think Lille is a great place to spend your year abroad, it’s a huge student city so you’re sure to find like-minded people and have a great time!

The top 10 places or experiences that I would advise anyone going to EDHEC or Lille to try out:

  1. Braderie de Lille – a huge flea market in the city for one weekend, it attracts millions of people and there are loads of events across the city and should definitely be on your bucket list!
  2. Papa Raffael does the best pizza in Lille, as confirmed by my Italian friends
  3. Quert does the BEST cakes you will ever see – be prepared to queue but it’s definitely worth the wait.
  4. Drugstore is my favourite bar in Vieux Lille because they play the best music
  5. The Christmas Market in Lille – lots of Belgian waffles and mulled wine.
  6. Chalet bar is great for drinks
  7. Le Palais de Beauxs-Arts is an amazing art museum, and the first Sunday of each month is free entry
  8. La Piscine is an art museum in an old swimming pool in Roubaix which is a 10-minute walk from campus
  9. Try Raclette – raclette is a cheese dish usually served with meats and potatoes – it’s SO good and you have to have one if you spend your year abroad in Lille because they’re everywhere.
  10. Marche de Wazemmes – possibly the most French thing you can do is to go to the food market on a Sunday, and it’s a lot cheaper than the supermarkets

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