As I mentioned in my Christmas Market list, we ( I say we because I wrote this years ago) originally went to Lille for the purpose of seeing a Christmas market- sort of. On the NS international train website, we saw that it would be a nice day trip from Amsterdam (it’s 3.5 hours now each way, apparently) AND, more importantly, there are so many play-on-words you can make up for your internet fans- Our Lille Adventure, A Lille Fun, Lil’ Lille- the possibilities are endless with major limitations.
For trains, booking in advance saves you heaps. If you book earlier than 2 months in advance, it is easily 20 euros cheaper than if you book within two months of your travel. We found that out the hard way with Lille. The €70 round trip each that we saw months prior ended up costing us €110 each.
When you walk out of the station, you first see a massive mall. There is a fancy paid toilet on the top floor if you need to go. We ended up getting a panini from the mall which was good. Clearly not good enough to remember the name of it though… We started walking towards the city centre which was obvious since there were hoards of people walking in the same direction.
For Christmas, there was a Ferris wheel and small rides for small people (or children more likely). You can buy hot chocolate and yummy French pastries since you are in France now! We had one of those days where nothing could go wrong. We went to a high tea shop called Méert since people online rave about it, for good reason. There was a massive line but since there were only two of us and the rest were groups, we were able to bypass them all waiting no more than 2 minutes. The menu was naturally in French but the waitress was nice and said some of the pastries were on display in the front glass case so we can look to see what they are. We thought we knew what we ordered using our non-existant French but it didn’t matter since the pastries were delicious despite not knowing what was in them.
We headed out to explore after that with the only issue of me needing to go to the toilet. Which we solved. No need for elaboration.
The Christmas market I almost forgot to mention was small and okay.
We also saw the most perfect doggie that was owned by a homeless person. I still think of the cutie patootie to this day.
Afterwards, we went to Pancook. Again, everything fell into place. We didn’t have a reservation and the owner said he was fully booked BUT since we arrived right when it opened and the owner was the nicest guy ever, he said we could eat but he had to limit our dining experience to 1 hour and 10 minutes since that was when the reserved parties were due.
PANCOOK. I just got too overwhelmed with joy thinking about it. This is the best restaurant we have been to. The owner was such a gem and took the time to explain the ENTIRE menu to us since it was in French. We originally wanted a steak, which was on his menu but he said that he wanted us to know all the options before we decided. After drooling, we realized how silly we were for wanting just a steak. JUST A STEAK I thought I would never say those words since I adore steak more than any unborn child I will never have. I ordered the signature dish and Troy should have gotten the succulent pig since it was in season but he opted for a cold meat dish (partly my fault, I hesitated). It was still delish but we need to go back now for the pig.
We spent the full day in Lille which some may find too long but we found it to be just right. We even ran out of time to go on the Ferris wheel. We ate, which took up most of our time since Lille is somewhat small. There is tons of shopping also. If you don’t enjoy shopping, eating, exploring or having fun then don’t bother going- you are just a Lille party pooper. See what I did there?