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France's news in English Search. Editions Austria Denmark France. Germany Italy Norway. Spain Sweden Switzerland. Membership My account Gift voucher Corporate Help center. Jobs in France Browse jobs Post a vacancy. Email newsletters Newsletter sign-up Edit my subscriptions. Other pages Noticeboard Site search. Welcome to Lille, France's most underrated city The Local. Share this article.
France's fourth biggest city, Lille, is often overlooked as a place to settle in France. But with an influx of hipsters, fantastic access to three European hubs, and impressive culture scene to boot - there's a lot more to Lille than meets the eye. For many who use use the Eurostar, Lille is best known as just "that stop on the way to Brussels".
Or perhaps people might refer to it as "that place where DSK's alleged prostitution ring was based". The city is nestled close to the Belgium border and is the main city in France's Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, which like Lille does not really have a reputation for pulling in the tourists, despite being home to two Unesco World Heritage sites.
The only experience visitors from the UK might have of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais is stopping off at one its motorway service stations as they head down to the sunny south. Only around 2, Brits are registered as living in the region, despite it being so close to home. That's partly due to the fact the weather is so similar to that of the UK, which all the expats and tourists are desperate to escape.
Lille also suffers for being in one of France's poorest regions surrounded by some of the country's most hard-up towns that have suffered due to the decline of the country's industry. But beyond this the city and its surrounding area have plenty going for it beyond service stations and a Eurostar stop off. For a start it topped a ranking on the most attractive French cities to live in based on the criteria of job salaries and affordable properties.