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Europe’s underrated city break that’s just an hour and half from the UK

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France is one of the UK’s top holiday destinations but while many Britons head to Brittany or the south, Lille is woefully underlooked.

The northern city, close to the Belgian border, is one of France’s best cheap city breaks and Britons won’t even have to fly to get there.

On the Eurostar, British tourists can reach Lille’s city centre in under an hour and a half. As it’s a compact city, tourists won’t need a car once they’re there.

France’s fourth biggest city, the pretty spot is much more affordable than Paris with plenty of attractions.

So what is there to do in Lille?

Vieux-Lille, the city’s Old Town, is its top-rated attraction on Tripadvisor and it’s home to a lot of independent shops and cafes.

‘David’ wrote on Tripadvisor: “A very picturesque and interesting city. Lots of restaurants and a real mix of locals, students and visitors.”

‘Jill’ said: “A lovely city, bustling in a nice way. Quaint old quarter, cobbled streets, wide variety of shops, restaurants and interesting architecture.”

Ideal for a rainy day, the city’s Palais des Beaux Arts de Lille is one of France’s best art galleries. Home to works by Donatello and Goya, it’s a fantastic day out.

‘Flower52_10’ wrote: “This is a beautiful museum, the building is old and magnificent, but what is most interesting here is the art.”

‘Fred B’ wrote: “Enjoyed our visit. Don’t miss the amazing relief map display in the basement. We almost missed it.”

While in Lille, don’t miss out on a plate of moules-frites, a popular dish that’s inspired by the city’s close connections to Belgium and Flemish cuisine.

For dessert, opt for a slice of tarte au sucre. A local treat, it’s a simple brioche based cake topped with butter and sugar.

Looking for a French break that’s a little warmer? Check out which city is fantastic to explore out of season.

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