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The Citadel is still a French military base today, so you can’t enter, but you can admire the various gates and outer walls on a ramble in the canal-side park, in Esquermes, the same posh part of the city as the Zoo.
The local football team, Lille OSC have been a mainstay of Ligue 1 for many years, and managed to win the league in 2011.
The enclosures are all large and natural-looking too, so you won’t feel guilty about a family day out here.
There are seven areas in all, most organised geographically, so in Les Terres d’Afrique are zebras and rhinos, while the American zone has alpacas and tapirs.
Lille’s museum of modern art is a first-rate contemporary cultural attraction with more than 6,700 works from the 20th and 21st centuries.
It really took off in 1999 when it received a donation from L’Aracine, an association of Art Brut collectors, and now contains the largest set of Art Brut works in France.
After conquering Lille in 1667 Louis XIV wasted little time reinforcing the city’s fortifications.It belonged to his maternal grandparents, and his family was well-off, although it had lost its land in the Revolution almost a century before.With the help of family keepsakes and contemporary memorabilia the house is now a museum doing a good job of recreating a 19th-century bourgeois home.If you fancy it in summer you can watch dance demonstrations in this marvellous space.Lille’s expansive main square is the place where locals and tourists converge to meet up or see the sights. Pause to look at the Théâtre du Nord, set in Lille’s former guardhouse from 1717.