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Terrace in Lille
A Rich Culinary History
Located close to the Belgian border in northern France, Lille is the capital of French Flanders. The surrounding region has a tumultuous history, having belonged at one time or another to the Kingdom of France, the Burgundian State, the Holy Roman Empire of Germany and the Spanish Netherlands. All of these influences contribute to Lille’s unique Flemish culture – including some very special culinary traditions. These have made the city a renowned foodie destination, with more than 900 dining and drinking establishments ranging from quaint backstreet bars and bistros to haute cuisine restaurants.
Flemish Specialty Dishes
Wander amid the grand municipal architecture of Vieux-Lille to discover a treasure trove of sidewalk cafés and taverns. Many of these specialise in flavourful regional cuisine, with standout dishes including carbonnade flamande (Flemish beef stew) and waterzoï (chicken or fish served in a creamy broth). Some establishments also serve another regional classic: Le Welsh, comprising thick slices of bread topped with mustard, ham and grilled cheese, then broiled in local brown ale. Lille is also known for its artisan chocolates and Flemish pastries. Probably the most famous are the wafer-thin, vanilla-filled brioche waffles that have been sold by Méert Patisserie near La Grand Place since 1849.
The Beer Capital of France
Eating al fresco is part of the experience in Lille, where the majority of bistros and estaminets offer terraces for languid summer brunches or lunches that stretch late into the evening. The reason for prolonging your meal? An impressive variety of small-batch beers, brewed locally and famous for their rich taste and high alcohol content. Ranging from amber ales to lagers and stouts, there's something for everyone – unless beer isn't your tipple of choice. In this case, swap your pint glass for a tot of genièvre, a juniper-flavoured traditional liquor made according to time-honoured Flemish specifications.
(*) Average meal price calculated on the basis of starter and main course or main course and dessert, excluding drinks, menu and promotional offers. The average price is an estimate only, calculated according to the prices provided by the restaurant. Depending on the country, the average price may or may not include all taxes. ↩