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In the summer the stadium doubles as a concert arena for major artists like Rihanna.
On Rue Pincesse, in a leafy neighbourhood north of Old Lille, is the house where Charles de Gaulle was born on November 22 1890.
There are works by Monet, Raphael, Gustave Courbet, Rubens, van Gogh, Donatello, Jacob Jordaens and Picasso, but this is just the swiftest breeze through what’s on show.
Make time for the plans-reliefs, which are high-detail 17th and 18th-century scale models of cities around modern day Belgium and northern France, including Lille.
The verdant sculpture park is good for a stroll too, with contributions from Jacques Lipchitz, Eugène Dodeigne, Picasso and Calder.
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.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 star-shaped citadel was built in just three years, and was designed by none other than Vauban, the famed military engineer who left his mark all across France in this time.The speed of the project is all the more amazing when you see the quantity of material needed for its construction: Three million stone blocks, 70,000 lumps of sandstone and 60 million bricks.