.: Eating and sleeping in Lille :.

.: Sleep well :.

One of the things I loved the most about out weekend away in Lille was actually the overall experience in the hotel! We’ve stayed at L’Hermitage Gantois Hotel, and I totally recommend a stay in this hotel!

Our hotel – From the official website

It’s quite well located but the most important factor is that it’s beautiful! As part of the Autograph collection from Marriott, it means it’s an historic hotel. It’s a perfect example on how to mix history with modern decoration. As soon as I’ve got through the door I was in love. The staff is also quite friendly throughout.

There is no covered parking nearby, so you only have 2 options really, park the car outside or use the valet parking (25€ – which I find a bit expensive).
The first part of the hotel you’ll see is the gorgeous bar, which feels like outdoors indoors. Really really beautiful and chic!

Bar area – view from the 1st floor

Official photo from the website

Our room followed exactly the same style as the common areas, classy and modern at the same time.

Beautiful isn’t it?

Elegant chair in our room

Another lovely detail from our room

The bathroom was gorgeous too!

I had to google for this one

I visited the bar after my dinner in L’estaminet next door.

Relaxing at the bar

The ambiance was perfect with some live piano music, but there was a downside, the prices. I can’t still go over the fact I’ve paid 7€ for a Schweppes as I’ve ordered a gin tonic (I’ve order botanic gin but was served Gordon’s – which I like anyway, so no problem there). Total bill for a lemonade and a gin tonic 24€. Feels a bit too much, but just for a stay in that bar probably is worth it.

Most expensive Schweppes ever!

Breakfast in the morning was delicious! The staff was once again really friendly. The china was really elegant as well. The food was tasty and for those of you that like espresso, they have Nespresso as well!

Breakfast room – Photo from google

Elegant china – Photo from tripadvisor

Final note, for those of you trying to find a romantic hotel, this is it! Your other half will only thank you if you book your stay here 🙂
So overall, it’s a beautiful hotel, really chic but not pretentious (thanks for that!). Once I return to Lille I will stay there again.

.: Eat Well :.

Food-wise, we arrived after 14h00, so after a quick walk and I guess because it started to rain cats & dogs, really I could hold the stones with my hands! We stopped in a lovely place (Le President) for belgium beer and food. I had an omelette, fries and a Tripel Karmeliet (my favourite belgium beer). As I left my phone in the hotel I have no photos 😦

My favourite Belgium Beer

Actually I need to make a remark here. I was just checking the reviews from Le President, and you will notice the reviews are awful! But then, when trying to find some photos to post here, I also found a local website and in there the reviews are 4*. Personally, I didn’t felt it was that awful at all, I had the food I wanted, the beer was perfect and we managed to relax a bit. So this got me thinking, why are the reviews so different? I guess one of the reasons is that rather than staying outside, I went indoors to be closer to the staff (and warmer too). Also, I managed to order my food in french even though he couldn’t. Staff was polite enough. So really, can a reason be that sometimes we forget to acknowledge that we are in a foreign country and we can’t expect everyone to speak english? Lille hasn’t that much tourism, so I know many people won’t be able to speak it, especially from the older generations – which was most of the staff at this particular restaurant.

Tip: When going abroad, please try to make an effort to acknowledge that not everyone speaks english and try to say a few words in the local language, if for nothing else to show that you are trying. I’m sure this will affect the level of service that you may or may not have.

For dinner, I had a booking at L’estaminet Gantois, so next door to the hotel (very convenient!). L’estaminet is a typical north france brasserie, which is precisely what I was looking for. I’m glad I did my booking for 19h30, when the restaurant was still empty, because I’ve noticed the service became a bit slow.

Love the decor!

Had a glass of house wine, and one of the typical dishes (La Carbonade Traditionnelle Flamande avec les Frites )

La Carbonade Traditionnelle Flamande, Frites

I didn’t had any space left for dessert, but overall it was a very good experience. We’ve ended our evening at the bar, as per photos above.

Any recommendations for food in Lille? Can hardly wait to go there again 🙂

.: Exploring Lille on a rainy day :.

Yap, it was raining cats & dogs. In fact it was even snowing on Saturday morning in Surrey, as we were leaving UK! While it has been snowing quite a lot in north of the island, not so much in the south, so we were quite surprised to see the snow. Surrey looks quite beautiful in white 🙂

Crapy photo from my phone

The journey from London to Lille wasn’t that bad actually. We drove all the way from home to Dover, which took us around 2h (there was a lot of traffic on the m25 after 3 accidents in a row!), but you can also use the Eurostart from London Kings Cross to Lille (roughly 1h). Then we took the ferry, which we’ve booked in advance. If you want to cross the channel by car check the Eurotunnel, if there’s nothing available you can check the ferrys here. If I had booked a bit in advance I could have saved £40. Oh well! It took us 1h30 by ferry, but… because you need to go through passport control and security (which is really really quick) and the boarding starts 30m prior to departure, means you need to reach the port roughly 40/45m before departure.

Once we’ve reached Calais was only 1h10 to reach our hotel (L’Hermitage Gartois – I’ll do a different post to review the hotel and our meals). After we left our car and the bags, we went for a walk into the city centre.

I have to say we were a bit unlucky as it was raining cats & dogs, seriously! We managed to take the first pictures and suddenly we had to go indoors somewhere. I almost managed to ruin my camera and some of the photos look really foggy.

You know what they say right? If a place looks beautiful in the rain, it will look even better if it was sunny. And I’ve really enjoyed my short stay in Lille. Oh, I have to mention the stores. Gosh, the stores are so beautiful and brilliantly decorated (Maybe I’ve been living for London for too long!) I wanted to buy everything!

Grand Palace – this area is so beautiful!!!

The first store we’ve visited was called La Chambreaux Confitures. Gorgeous and really unique! You can buy chocolate cream, marmalades, and different sauces for both meat, cheese and anything else you can imagine! They also have these gorgeous candles!

Sweet sauces for cheese! Can I have them all?

I love the fact that they have small bottles. It’s perfect for me as I tend not to finish the big ones.

Why don’t we have stores like this in UK? We do, but it’s hard to find them, overall the cities don’t have the same presentation as in Europe, especially in France

Next stop, Meert! Look at all these happy calories smiling at me

 

The Moelleaux au chocolat is their signature sweet

I didn’t manage to find a table at Meert. Even just to buy something there was a queue. But I was willing not go give up without my cake

Le Vin – We’ve actually returned to this store to buy some wine

Because it’s quite close to Belgium, it’s also very easy to find really good beer in Lille.

In the old part of the city, all the houses have these cute little doors

This is how dreams are made 🙂

Cathedral

A Vespa in the rain

Beautiful colour isn’t it?

 

Details

The old town is beautiful!

Lady in the rain

More details

Oui! J’adore le fromage!

More cheese

Looks so creamy and yummy!

Shopping: Wine, Cheese, Marmalades and a cake

Silhouette a la Sherlock in London 🙂

Something in the sky

Morning snack

Have you been in Lille before? Any thoughts you would like to share? What was your favourite place?

.: Wishlist for Lille :.

As some of you may know, we’ve really loved going to Brussels & Bruges. While we were still there I’ve decided that this year I would go to Lille and Ghent. Because it’s just a weekend, we had to abandon the Ghent idea, but really looking forward to meet Lille, after all it’s such a beautiful name 🙂

The best way to plan places to visit and where to eat is by visiting fellow bloggers, either local ones or people who have been there and have shared their experiences:

Want them all now!

Or Meert

Looks so yummy!

 

  • From the London Eater, that Lille has such a lovely old-city centre

So beautiful!

I’m also planning to take lots of photos, and buy some wine and belgium beer 😀

So yes, looking forward to go! I’m also using tripAdvisor to save all these places, so it’s easy to find them once I’m there.

How do you plan your next trip? Any ideas you would like to share?