Lille - Info (Travel, Hotels, Bars, Directions etc)

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Hi - this is the first thread I've started here, and I know I'm the new kid, but the Europa draw has thrown up a bit of a coincidence for me. So I thought since I'm posting stuff all over the place I'd start a thread if anyone wants to know more about Lille.

I lived in Lille for nearly 3 years and only left France about 18 months ago, so thought I might be able to help.
Not :)

I've done the Lille to Goodison trip many. many times too.

I'm a French translator for a living as well, so can help with language issues on French websites etc.

So if you have questions I'll be happy to answer them as best I can. I know most people have it booked and sorted, or if not they are perfectly capable of doing it themselves, so I'm not saying I know it all, but if I can help then I'll try.

Main answers are gonna go here now, so read this first before you read all the rest:

It's been mentioned that Anderlecht play Arsenal on the Wednesday night in Brussels, so that's worth knowing if you're staying there/going that route.

1) Who the Fuh Kinell Are You?

Lille OSC, known as LOSC ("losk") to its mates, is northern France's best and most successful club.
Nickname: Les Dogues
Fanzine: Reservoir Dogues (this is pretty much the only reason I made this section)

PS. Some people have asked how Lille is pronounced: it rhymes with Wheel.

2) The Stadium - where and how.

LOSC's official site : Stadium plan, access, parking, directions, etc...all in English:

And here's a map of how to get there from the motorway:

You'll notice there's also a nice video of it getting built and plenty of inside views from the seats.
[Copyright & Intellectual Properties for this video definitely do not belong to Liverpool City Council]

LOSC have moved home many times since they were founded in 1944, so the name of the ground is just "Grand Stade" - everyone will know what you mean by that, especially if you're wearing Everton colours. The official name for road signs is Stade Pierre-Mauroy, or it might say Grand Stade Lille Métropole. It's in a suburb called Villeneuve d'Ascq, but you don't really need to know that.

The away end is all the blocks with the Letter I. This is the South East corner (Sud & Est)
Apparently tickets for block J are not available to home it looks like we have I & J allocated for us...maybe.

A guy from Lille has been on and given us this plan:
That block with the standing man is the ultras section, North Stand, behind the goal, so avoid that.
Here's some photos:
You can see the away section easily because it's empty, and views of the pitch from different areas of the ground:

Capacity: 50,186 - BUT ~10k is corporate only.
Last Season League Average: 38,662.
Two league games this season: 32,327 and 34,860
and the best one....CL qualifier vs Porto last month: 35,000...
People from Lille are now on our forum and given good info - see this thread and Europa thread (pg 160 onward). The areas of the ground available at the moment are selling out quite quickly.

I've been to a few LOSC matches, and their fans really are great. They will help you get to the stadium, they will tell you what you need to know, and they are very knowledgeable on their football. The "Ecole de Science" of France if you like :)
Don't behave like an idiot, and they won't either, so trouble is easy to avoid in town and at the ground.

Yawn...How do I get to the game?

Note: I've never been to LOSC's new ground, so this is all just from the club's official site...

Driving straight to the Stadium:

Here's a really useful map of directions from the motorway, and parking details. Stade Pierre-Mauroy is the football ground:
This is the Park and Ride for Lille, but there are other car parks around here, and you'll see the stadium parking to the left of this picture. You're at most a mile's walk from the ground if you park somewhere round here.

An alternative and/or disabled fans' option for Park and Ride is here:
A bus starts running 2 hours before kick off, and it takes you straight to the stadium doors, so there is no walk to the ground.
There is a disabled access car park at the Stadium though - which is bound to be easier, details are on the LOSC official site link above.

From Lille centre: Use the Metro to "Cité Scientifique"

Here's the Metro Map - train stations and the Stadium's two stops are highlighted using high-tech MS Paint wizardry:

The two stations at the end of the Yellow line are the Stadium, there are dedicated walking paths which sound a bit like Sunderland if you've ever had the horror of going there. Tim Cahill though.
Looks like Cité Scientifique is the closest to the ground...and it's nearer the city too. Get on the Yellow line - the platform signs will say Cantons:
If you're doing Park & Ride the map on the left here is your walk to the ground.


I'd take that route for sure. But apparently you can also get a shuttle bus from Les Prés on the Red line. The bus takes you right up to the stadium, not like the yellow line stops which are further away (but only a short walk). That bus starts running 2 hours before kick off.
It sounds like this is the best option for disabled fans too.
If you want to do this it's top right corner of the metro map - easy from either train station (6 or 5 stops) - use the red line, platform signs from the centre/stations will say "CH Dron".

Let's not mess about, the Lille metro is brilliant. You can get a taxi from marked ranks around the centre, but if there's a metro link, its cheaper and quicker.

No drivers, all electronic, arrives every 2-3 minutes at every station, and fast AF
(unless they're on strike! or there's a problem).

Using the metro means knowing the 4 end-of-line stations. St Philibert, CH Dron (Tourcoing), Calmette and Cantons. This is what the signs will say in the stations, so that's your direction.

Each stop on the metro in the centre takes about 30 seconds to a minute. It is much quicker between stops than London's tube.

Almost every station on the system has a lift for disabled access, from the street pavement down to the platform. Remember to go and stamp your ticket when you get down there though.

There are ticket machines at every station, and a ticket is for one journey, any distance, including if you change lines. Unless you double back, that's a foul.
I dunno about this year, but last year it cost 1.40 for a single. There are no returns. You can buy 10 for a knockdown bulk price - used to be 11 euros.

**STAMP YOUR TICKET in the little machines as you head through to the platform, because there might well be checks - in fact there will be when they know the city is full of football fans. The fine is 100 euros on the spot.
**KEEP YOUR TICKET because the checks are done on exiting the stations, NOT on the trains or platforms.

Last trains are between midnight and 00:30 every night - then the metro is shut until 5am.

3) There are two train stations in Lille, should I care?


There is Gare Lille Europe and Gare Lille Flandres.
To walk from one to the other takes 5-10 minutes, luggage depending.

Lille Flandres is bang central, and Lille Europe is five minutes walk over a road bridge, so if you've made it this far this will not bother you at all.

You can get straight on the metro from either station.
There are also official taxi ranks at both stations (and all round the centre of town)
If there are no taxis at Europe station, there's hotels opposite so just go in, have a "coffee" and ask them to get you one.
If there are no taxis at Flandres, sell all your belongings and repent because the end is nigh.

4) All fair enough if you're in Lille, but I'm still at home mate

a) Fly, b) Drive or c) Train

a) Fly


I think Brussels is the best one. I don't know if Belgium has many other airports - but if you get to a different one then Lille is still pretty easy to get to
(by the way, Lille is called Rijsel in Flemish, signs in the Western half of Belgium will say Rijsel. It's pronounced like Rye-Zul, but if you say Lille they're not stupid).

Brussels though:
It's official name is Charleroi Brussels-South Airport [Aéroport de Charleroi-Bruxelles-Sud] because John Lennon and Robin Hood were taken, and it's in Charleroi, not Brussels.
When people like Ryanair say Brussels, this is the one they mean.
Its the main hub airport I think. The Airport Code is CRL if you're in any doubt.

There's a direct shuttle bus ("Navette" in French) from the airport to Lille centre. 90 minutes. Costs between 5 and 20 euros.

If there's Evertonians pressed against the glass inside it and the driver's asking for £1000, tell him to do one and get yourself on the airport shuttle train to Gare Bruxelles-Midi (30 mins). Watch your pockets in Gare Bruxelles-Midi, cos it's notorious for that.

This is the Brussels main station. Then get a Eurostar (Paris or London line) only if you're in a hurry.
Otherwise get a local train to Lille. I think its about 70 minutes, maybe 90. The local train is much much much cheaper than Eurostar, and Belgium is awesome so why leave in a hurry?

Paris is only dead easy and quick if you fly to Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG). There is a direct train to Lille from the airport (train station is linked to the airport, same as Liverpool Parkway, Manchester Airport and Birmingham International).
It takes 50 minutes and costs about 120 euros return - if you don't book ahead.
This is expensive, but consider that it takes 3 hours in a car and it's that 50 mins arrival that you're your paying for.

Any other Pairs Airport is still closer than flying to any other French city (apart from Lille obvs!).

But you'd have to get into the city and onto the Metro system first - then get yourself to Gare du Nord (stops on 4 different Paris Metro lines).
Gare du Nord is the station for trains to the North (think of Euston versus Waterloo). Buy a ticket for Lille (or print them off with your bank card at the machines if you were canny and booked ahead) and you're away.
This is the same train that you get further up from CDG Airport, takes about 70 minutes to Lille.
Again, book ahead, it's the same as England with paying on the day.

French national rail site for booking tickets is:

Or just Google stuff, however you like.

Ryanair do Manchester-Paris Beauvais. I've never flown to this one, so I don't know...but:

1) Beauvais is not even remotely in Paris, behold:

2) The shuttle from this airport to Paris takes 1hr 15m. Apparently you can't get a local bus from Beauvais, so unfortunately you have to do this. Then get to Gare du Nord and get a Lille train from there.

b) Drive

Ferries from Dover to either Calais or Dunkirk (Dunkerque) are both fine. Lille is signposted as soon as you get on the road from either port.

If you're a maverick go Hull-Zeebrugge and drive down from there.
Follow signs for Brugge/Bruges, then Kortrijk/Courtrai and Rijsel/Lille.
It's a 60-mile drive from the port to Lille and takes about an hour apparently.

Calais is a longer drive by about 25 miles, but the ferry is 1 hour compared to Dunkirk's 2 hours.
Dunkirk to Lille is 50 miles, all motorway.

I've done this drive a lot and it's 45 mins to Dunkirk port from the Lille ringroad, and max 75 mins to the Calais port (I've done it in about 45 mins before now though). The motorway speed limit is 80mph (130kmh).

Signs for Lille are obvious, but the actual route is north on the A16 motorway from Calais to Dunkirk. When you get to there, you keep following Lille cos your sensible and that puts you on the A25. When you get to the outskirts of Lille the A25 skirts round one side of it and some other motorway appears to make a ring road. I don't know where you're staying so I can't help you beyond here. Use your own map, but rule of thumb is that if you're in the south of the city follow Paris, and if you're in the north follow Bruxelles.

If you're going Eurotunnel, then you'll save yourself a load of time in loading/unloading, and the crossing is only 30 mins. It comes out south of Calais, so again go north on the A16 (follow signs for Dunkerque/Lille/Bruxelles).
You pay for all that in the ticket though.

Like we've chatted about on the thread, there's some people in Kent and places...
So you can also be a foot passenger on the ferry, and if it's my ferry then buy me a beer and I'll give you a lift to Lille. If not then buy someone else a beer and they might. Or just stand at the port and hitch-hike.
Maybe wear an Everton shirt, hat, scarf or just go for full kit so they know where you want to go, and if it has Jo on the back then make sure you don't sit in the front seat so that you avoid pisstake ;)

If noone wants to take you, there's trains from either town.
The fast train from Calais Frethun ("fray-toon") station takes half an hour.
Be careful though cos Calais Ville is another station, and some trains take 90 minutes.
The train from Dunkerque takes about 75 minutes

Trains from either town cost about £15 if you book well ahead.

Book train tickets here to collect at the station:

I think you can be a foot passenger on the EuroTunnel too, I've never done this though...the boat has a better view. And more than one toilet.

Some people on here are flying to Amsterdam. I've done this train once and I think the train from Amsterdam to Lille is 3 or 3.5 hours

c) Train
Done. This is by far the quickest option.
Liverpool to Lille Europe station is probably about 6 hours.
I know Lille-Macclesfield is about 4.5 hours (so to Manchester would be about 5 hours).

5) I'm driving into Lille city centre, what's that like?

If you're just driving to the match, then you don't need to go into Lille at all.

Stadium parking is on the offical LOSC site at the top. There's a specific disabled access car park on there too.

Park and ride for the day is at the 4 ends of the 2 metro lines.
It's the same P+R sign as England, or it's called Parc-Relais in French.

Here's a map and details for the Park and Ride where you can then walk to the Stadium:
If they make you buy a metro ticket to park there, go one stop to Cité Scientifique and walk from there.
You can see the stadium parking on this map too, plus some others around here.

And here's the same for the place where you can get the bus to the stadium (no walking involved) - bus starts running 2 hours before kick off.

Driving in the city is fine, but horrible at first.
There's the main motorway ringroad, then an inner loop as well.
A lot of the centre is a one-way system, but you can drive down almost all the streets, including through the Grand Place itself.
If you're on foot in town, look out for lines of bollards in the squares and be careful - this means it is a road.
If you've ever driven around Leeds it's very similar (Lille and Leeds are twin cities)
The speed limit is 30mph (50kmh) everywhere in the city, and don't worry about cameras with a British plate, but the police patrols will pull you over and waste your time (trust me :) )

After a few laps you'll figure it out but take a Sat Nav if you can.
Signposting for hotels is very good, and learn which area of Lille your hotel is in because the signs will just be like "Old Lille, left" or "Train Stations, right".

Parking in the city is pretty good unless you end up on parking on the street, this can be expensive so just ask your hotel.

Most hotels have parking, and if you can get a hotel with parking, do it, even if it's 10 or 20 euros extra. These will be the safest and cheapest places to park long-stay.

The big multi-stories are the best/safest other option for long-stay, and they're locked overnight. Some of these are underground.
Here's a list of car parks all over Lille, and prices for them, to give you an idea. Not all these are overnight ones though.

6) Eating, Drinking etc.

It's really easy and more fun to walk round and explore so I won't say too much here.

Lille is a very "foody" place and it's full of restaurants. Some are cheap, some are not, but the food in any of them is always at least decent, mostly, probably.
The Old Town (Vieux Lille) is more high end, the centre is all sorts of places.
There's a place at Rihour metro that stays open till 4:30am. It's a proper restaurant with a full menu, and the food is good there too.
Quite a few bars do snacks too, and there's sandwich counters everywhere. Then the kebab shops are seriously good.
There a giant MacDonalds in the main square too, and one in Lille Flandres station.

There's basically three areas for bars, you could say, but these aren't the whole city or anything.
You can walk everywhere in the city.

The Centre - metros Rihour & Gare Lille Flandres.
which is basically four different squares:
Grand Place, Place Rihour, Place de l'Opéra and Place de la Gare (at Lille Flandres station).
They all lead off each other so just walk around.
When you come out of Flandres station, look up the shopping street ahead, there's a massive clock tower. Head for that to get to Grand Place (2 minute walk).
From Europe station walk over the road bridge to Flandres (5 minutes) and do the same.

Old Lille: metros Rihour & Gare Lille Flandres.
This area is really nice, and there some massive pubs and some tiny ones. The Australian Bar is the biggest, with a big outside area too, and has live sport on big screens if you can't get into the stadium. Bars all over town show live sport though, and especially LOSC matches, so you'll find it on somewhere. Solférino has the biggest pubs for sport after the Oz bar.
Walk out of Place de l'Opéra (first square you get to from Gare Lille Flandres) and you get onto the cobbles, follow these down to the Old Town.
From Rihour, walk through the Grand Place to get to Place de l'Opéra.
It's well worth the 10 minute walk from the centre.
If you're walking straight there from Lille Europe, you can walk through the park (or use the bridge over it) and cut the corner.

Rue Solférino: metro République-Beaux Arts
Solférino is about half a mile of road with nothing but pubs and bars on either side.
It is open a bit later here, usually 3am in midweek, and most of the clubs are on here too (4 or 5am).
In the daytime it is mostly shut - the big pubs open at 4pm or 5pm.
There's Irish pubs and a Scottish pub, and all sorts of beers up to 13% or maybe more now.
You can walk to it in 10-15 minutes from Grand Place down Rue Nationale (a big two laned main road) from the corner of Grand Place where the MacDonalds is.
Or the metro brings you out near the bottom end of it.

Like I've said, I don't think there'll be any trouble while we're there - but if there is gonna be any trouble this is probably where it will kick off, so maybe only go here alone in the daytime, or big groups. For all I know you might be fine, but I've got in bother down here a few times when I've been there at night, so I'm just letting you know!

Basically if you are sensible then they will be too.
Look on the Europa League thread, somewhere in pages 160-170, for some great info from Potato-Killer, a Lille lad who has come on to tell us about these things.

This is the Grand Place by the way, best place to meet up. If in doubt, look for that red and white (sh-te) clock tower, it's just behind the square:

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Do Lille normally sell out?? I know they have a new stadium, but if I go to this game it will probably be in the home end.

Do Lille normally sell out?? I know they have a new stadium, but if I go to this game it will probably be in the home end.

Just put this in another thread...but the short answer is no... not a cat in hell's chance of Lille fans filling that ground.

The stadium was opened for the 2012/13 season, but although Lille fans are proper fans and love their football (very fair and very knowledgeable and fact they remind me of someone else...) there just aren't that many of them. The city isn't big enough. I've had some mint days out as an honorary LOSC fan though, proper banter.

Here's my post from the other thread:

Just done some proper digging on Lille's attendance figures.

Their average last season was 38,662. Capacity is 50,186.
Bear in mind this was only the second season the new stadium opened, so it's bound to have got a bump in crowds from that alone.

Their lowest last season was 5,500 - that's for a cup match (FA Cup equivalent, round of 16).

Their highest was 48,900 vs. PSG. PSG is their derby.
Their actual derby is Valenciennes, then Lens, but Lille-PSG is the big northern rivalry. Plus PSG are the team to beat now.
Biggest league game of the season for Lille fans and they didn't even fill it.

They've had two home league games this season - attendances were 32,327 for Match 1 vs Metz and 34,860 Match 2 vs Lorient.
For the Champions League qualifier against Porto last moth they got 35,000 exactly.

I went to two Europa league games there in 2011, so at the old stadium, and it was about 30% full for each game.

There's no way in hell they're filling their ground...looks like we'll have to do it for them lads :)

EDIT: It turns out that about 10k seats are corporate, and the Lille sections are more full than you'd think.
Real fan capacity is about 40k.
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is there likely to be trouble in the bars in your opinion? are the Lille fans known for ultras/hooligans?


Again - absolutely no chance.

Lille itself is a very friendly city. It's twinned with Leeds by the way. But don't let that put you off because of Leeds United lol
[Leeds the city is also super friendly and welcoming if you don't go near the football fans on a matchday.]

It's cosmopolitan. It has a massive student population (biggest outside Paris) and lots of foreigners work there, plus its a business hub for northern Europe. It also has a huge bar and gastro culture - bars and restaurants everywhere.

They're very proud people (Flemish heritage, not French) and they love their football but their not violent at all. I imagine it would be a bit like going to Goodison as an away fan - banter and laughs then hostile for 90 minutes, then banter and laughs.

My first year there they did the double, league and cup, and they went for the French cup final to Paris, and beat Paris St Germain - who they hate. All came back so happy, and not a spot of trouble while in Paris.
Hi - this is the first thread I've started here, and I know I'm the new kid, but the Europa draw has thrown up a bit of a coincidence for me. So I thought since I'm posting stuff all over the place I'd start a thread if anyone wants to know more about Lille.

I lived in Lille for nearly 3 years and only left France about 18 months ago, so thought I might be able to help.
Not :)

I've done the Lille to Goodison trip many. many times too.

I'm a French translator for a living as well, so can help with language issues on French websites etc.

If there's no need for this then just ignore this thread, but if you have questions I'll be happy to answer them as best I can. I know most people have it booked and sorted, or if not they are perfectly capable of doing it themselves, so I'm not saying I know it all, hope it doesn't look that way.

Yay.....this thread is a great idea, Jim.

Now.....which City is Lille most easily accesible from.....Paris or Brussels.

(or is there a more convenient Belgian City to fly to?)
Where was this deal mate ?

I work for Virgin Media so getting down to Euston for me and up to 4 people is £7.50 e/w. Then found a website IdBUS that travels from London Victoria direct to Lille for £56 return. Travels down on Wednesday evening, leaving London at 23:30 and gets to Lille around 6am the Thursday. If you have Twitter, feel free to add me @paulashcroft8 - looking at booking this ASAP.
I'm probably going to drive there an back on the day so what's parking like near the stadium @JimEFC ?

Don't know this wasn't built when I left!

Here's LOSC's officical site's page for stadium access and parking etc - it has a smart video of the Stadium, and being Lille, they've done it in English too :)

Looks like there's a fair bit.

Parking in Lille itself is a NIGHTMARE sometimes. Very expensive if you're not just there for a quick bolt round the shops. I'll do a different post on that.
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