A Family Guide to the Best Things to Do in Lille (2023 Travel Guide)

Lille is a city that holds a special place in the hearts of many, and it’s not just adults who can appreciate its beauty and charm. Taking your kids to the “Capital of the North” can be an unforgettable experience for the whole family. From the Palais des Beaux-Arts to the Old Town, there are plenty of activities that will keep your little ones entertained and engaged. In this blog post, we will explore some of the best things to do in Lille with kids and give you some tips on how to make the most out of your family vacation. So pack your bags and get ready for an adventure, because Lille is waiting for you and your family!

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If you’re planning a trip with your family, here’s a guide to the best things to do in Lille:

  1. Visit the Palais des Beaux-Arts: The Palais des Beaux-Arts is one of the largest museums in France and has an impressive collection of art from the 15th to the 20th century. The museum is family-friendly and offers guided tours, workshops, and activities for children.
  2. Explore the Old Town: The Old Town of Lille is a beautiful area with cobbled streets, old buildings, and charming cafes. You can visit the Grand Place, the main square of the city, and wander around the streets to discover hidden gems.
  3. Go to the Zoo: The Lille Zoo is a great place to spend a day with your family. The zoo is home to over 70 different species of animals, including lions, tigers, and monkeys. You can also visit the nearby Citadel park, which has a playground and picnic areas.
  4. Visit the La Piscine Museum: The La Piscine Museum is a unique museum housed in an old swimming pool. The museum has an impressive collection of art, including sculptures, paintings, and ceramics. It also has a children’s area with interactive exhibits.
  5. Take a Tour of the City: A guided tour of the city is a great way to see all the main attractions of Lille. You can choose from walking tours, bike tours, or even Segway tours. The tours are family-friendly and offer interesting insights into the history and culture of the city.
  6. Enjoy the Local Cuisine: Lille is known for its delicious cuisine, especially its cheese and beer. You can visit local markets to try traditional dishes such as carbonade flamande (beef stew) and moules-frites (mussels and fries). You can also visit local breweries to taste the famous Lille beer.

1. Visiting the Palais des Beaux-Arts with kids

Visiting the Palais des Beaux-Arts with kids can be a fun and enriching experience for the whole family. To make the most of your visit, it’s best to purchase tickets in advance and plan your visit for a time when the museum is less crowded. The museum has an extensive collection of art, including paintings, sculptures, and ceramics, and offers guided tours, workshops, and activities for children. The museum also has a special area for children, where they can learn about the different artworks and create their own masterpieces. But before planning a visit, keep in mind that the Palais des Beaux-Arts is not recommended for children under 6 years old, and for older children, some of the exhibits might not be suitable or interesting. Also, plan for the weather, as the museum is open all year round, but it can get crowded and hot during peak season, so be sure to bring water and dress accordingly for the kids. And don’t forget to take a picture, it’s a great opportunity to make a memory with your children.

2. Explore the Old Town with Kids

The whole family may have a wonderful and enjoyable time while exploring Lille’s Old Town. One may get a sense of the city’s rich cultural legacy by exploring its picturesque cobblestone lanes, old buildings, and vibrant marketplaces. It’s best to plan your itinerary in advance and wear supportive walking shoes if you want to get the most out of your visit. Start by going to the Grand Place, which is the city’s main square and is flanked by spectacular structures and cafes. From there, you can go down the pedestrian-only Rue de la Monnaie, which is surrounded by shops and eateries, and take in the stunning architecture.

The Notre-Dame de la Treille Cathedral, a majestic neo-gothic edifice that will leave you in awe, is another must-see location in the Old Town. The stunning stained glass windows and the exquisite detailing will appeal to children. A horse-drawn carriage is another option for a respite from walking and for experiencing the Old Town in a novel way.

Don’t forget to browse the neighborhood markets, like the one in Wazemmes, where you can find a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, cheeses, and pastries. Kids get a fantastic opportunity to learn about various cuisines and cultures at the market.

Bring sunscreen, hats, and drink, as you would for any outdoor activity, to keep everyone hydrated and at ease. Also, don’t forget to snap a ton of photos to save the memories of your family’s excursion to Lille’s Old Town!

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3. Going to the Zoo

A visit to the Zoo in Lille can be a fantastic way to spend a fun-filled day with your family. The Lille Zoo is home to over 70 species of animals from all around the world, including lions, tigers, elephants, giraffes, and many more. The zoo also has a special area for kids, where they can learn about the different animals and their habitats.

To make the most of your visit, it’s best to arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowds and to plan your route ahead of time. The zoo is spread over a vast area, so it’s essential to wear comfortable walking shoes and bring a stroller for younger children. You can start your tour by visiting the big cats’ enclosure, where you can see the majestic lions and tigers in action.

Next, head over to the African savannah, where you can observe the graceful giraffes and zebras. The kids will love feeding the animals, and you can also enjoy a picnic lunch in the designated area.

Other exciting highlights of the zoo include the monkey house, where you can observe different species of primates, and the aquarium, where you can explore the underwater world and see different types of fish and aquatic animals.

4. La Piscine Museum with Kids

The entire family may have a memorable experience by going to the La Piscine Museum. The museum is located in a gorgeous display space that was once an art deco-style swimming pool. The collection includes works of art and artifacts from many eras, such as ceramics, paintings, and sculptures.
Planning beforehand and checking the museum’s website for any special exhibits or activities will help you get the most out of your trip. For children, the museum provides a variety of programs and activities including painting lessons and treasure hunts that can enhance their experience.

You may enjoy the exquisite architecture and the magnificent works of art on exhibit as you go through the museum. The central pool area, which has been transformed into a striking exhibition space and is bordered by sculptures and paintings, is the focal point of the museum.

There is a delightful garden area at the La Piscine Museum where you may unwind and take in the lovely scenery. In addition to enjoying a snack or a cup of coffee at the museum café, children can play in the allocated area.

5. City tour with kids

Taking a tour of the city with kids can be an excellent way to explore and learn about the history and culture of Lille. There are many different ways to tour the city, depending on your preferences and interests.

If you’re looking for a unique and engaging way to explore the beautiful city of Lille, look no further than our interactive tour! This tour is perfect for all ages and is designed to take you on a journey through the city’s fascinating history, culture, and hidden gems.

As you begin your tour of Lille, you’ll be transported back in time as you wander through the enchanting Old Town, with its winding cobblestone streets and charming half-timbered houses. Along the way, you’ll discover some of the city’s most iconic landmarks, including the stunning Notre-Dame de la Treille Cathedral and the historic Palais des Beaux-Arts.

But this tour is not just about sightseeing – as you explore the city, you’ll also be solving riddles and answering questions that will lead you to discover Lille’s hidden gems. You’ll learn fascinating facts about the city’s history and culture, and most importantly, you’ll have fun while doing it!

The tour is self-guided, so you can start and finish it at your own pace, and take as many breaks as you like. It’s designed to take around 2 hours to complete, but you can take as long as you need. This tour is perfect for families, friends, and solo travelers who want to explore Lille in a unique and exciting way. So why not embark on an adventure through Lille’s charming streets and discover all that this beautiful city has to offer?

6. The best places to eat with Kids

Lille is also known for its delicious cuisine and offers plenty of options for family-friendly dining. Here are some of the best places to eat in Lille with kids:

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  1. Les P’tits Ventres: This restaurant offers a range of delicious French dishes, including steak, fish, and vegetarian options. The restaurant has a kids’ menu, high chairs, and a play area to keep the little ones entertained.
  2. Le Pot Beaujolais: This cozy restaurant is located in the heart of Lille and offers traditional French cuisine, including escargot, steak, and fish. The restaurant has a kids’ menu, high chairs, and a friendly atmosphere.
  3. L’Atelier des Augustins: This restaurant serves delicious pizzas, salads, and pasta dishes. The atmosphere is casual and family-friendly, and the restaurant has a kids’ menu and high chairs available.
  4. Au Ch’ti Bistrot: This restaurant is known for its hearty French cuisine, including stews and grilled meats. The atmosphere is cozy and welcoming, and the restaurant has a kids’ menu and high chairs available.
  5. La Pizza Crescendo: This pizzeria serves a variety of delicious pizzas, including vegetarian and gluten-free options. The atmosphere is casual and family-friendly, and the restaurant has a kids’ menu and high chairs available.

When dining out with kids, it’s always a good idea to make a reservation in advance and let the restaurant know if you need high chairs or a kids’ menu. Bon appétit!

Our suggestion of itinerary for your family trip

Here’s our suggestion for an itinerary for a family trip to Lille:

Day 1:

Arrive in Lille and check into your hotel

Explore the Old Town and visit the charming boutiques and cafes

Have lunch at a family-friendly restaurant such as La Mie Câline

Visit the Palais des Beaux-Arts and see famous works of art such as the paintings of Rubens and Goya

Have dinner at a traditional French restaurant such as Le Barbier qui Fume

Day 2:

Start the day with breakfast at a local café

Visit the Lille Zoo and see a variety of animals such as tigers, lions, and penguins

Have lunch at a family-friendly restaurant such as Buffalo Grill

Visit the Museum of Natural History and explore the interactive exhibits

Take a stroll around the Parc de la Citadelle and enjoy the beautiful scenery

Have dinner at a family-friendly restaurant such as La Terrasse des Remparts

Day 3:

Start the day with breakfast at a local café Visit the La Piscine Museum and see the collection of fine art, sculptures, and textiles

Have lunch at a family-friendly restaurant such as La Cantina

Visit the Lille Grand Palais and see a show or exhibition

Take a walk around the Vieux-Lille neighborhood and explore the quaint streets and buildings

Have dinner at a family-friendly restaurant such as Chez la Vieille

Day 4:

Start the day with breakfast at a local café Visit the Parc Zoologique de Lille and see a variety of animals such as zebras, giraffes, and lemurs

Have lunch at a family-friendly restaurant such as La Belle Epoque

Visit the Lille Cathedral and admire the Gothic architecture

Take a boat ride on the Deûle River and see the city from a different perspective

Have dinner at a traditional French restaurant such as Le Pain de Sucre

Day 5:

Start the day with breakfast at a local café Depart Lille

This is just an example itinerary and it can be adjusted to suit your family’s needs and preferences.

In conclusion, Lille is a wonderful destination for families looking for a mix of culture, history, and fun activities. From exploring the charming Old Town to visiting the impressive Zoo, there is something for everyone in Lille. The city also boasts a variety of family-friendly restaurants, such as La P’tite Table, Chez la Vieille, and Le Pain Quotidien, that offer delicious meals for all tastes and budgets.

By following our guide, families can create a memorable and enjoyable trip to Lille that includes a mix of educational activities, fun experiences, and delicious food. Whether you’re interested in museums, outdoor activities, or simply exploring the city’s unique charm, Lille has something to offer for everyone. So pack your bags and get ready to explore all that Lille has to offer for your next family vacation.


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