If you are looking a great place for shopping in France, we can let you in on a secret – Lille in northern France is THE place to go outside of Paris.
Home to 4000 shops, Lille is quite possibly the most perfect place for a shopping venture for those looking for something chic and typically French – and it needn’t break the banque!
Here are 3 really great reasons to go shopping in Lille France, and if you need more encouragement – it only takes a hour and twenty minutes to get there by Eurostar from London!
Fashion and Beauty shops in Lille
You will find well known shops in Lille as you would in Paris. Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Galeries Lafayette, Printemps – they are all here in Lille, just as swish and as swanky as their big Parisian cousins.
Pop into Printemps for a personal shopping visit – it’s completely free, there’s no obligation to buy and you’ll get expert advice. Want to know how French women get that chic look and a certain je ne sais quoi? Well, in Lille it could be with help from Virginie or one of the other 3 personal shoppers at Printemps! You’ll be looked after in a private VIP area where you can try clothes on in comfort, book in advance via the website (link above).
Virginie is an expert on French fashion and had these tips for Summer 2014:
Minimal Chic – Every day fashion “sexy and dynamic, elegant and chic with urban attitude” enthuses Virginie. It’s all about black and white as a base with a touch of colour to lift, a dash of sporting influence and lots of accessorising. A box jacket is a must this year …
Printemps Colour –Block colour, bright, bold and brilliant attention grabbing colours; statement dressing with attitude. Leather is in this year “never wear a leather skirt with shoes – only boots” admonishes Virginie. Her talk is peppered with advice, tips and details about the designers of the clothes.
Travel Diary – Carnet de Voyage: Elegant and flowing, jungle prints, tropical landscapes, glitter jeans (which I fall in love with instantly), “le tie and die”, this year’s must have – “a sleeveless oversized jean jacket”…
Virginie says that clients are of all ages, including a six year old girl whose maman despaired of getting her to wear a pretty dress to a 90 year old granny whose husband booked her a session as an anniversary gift. I ask Virginie – did you manage to get the girl into a frock? “Of course” she laughs “we talked about what she likes and I picked one – she liked it!”
There are so many fashion shops in Lille, department stores, boutique chains – international and French, unique stores and fashion design houses – the range is immense, and you’ll be completely spoiled for choice.
You’ll also find fabulous French products you can’t get outside of France in the many beauty stores, as well as great beauty treatments, hairdressing and nail salons. I tried a nail healthcare course at Parlons Vernis and Co where I learned how to keep my nails looking tres chic!
Roubaix – a la mode – where fashion meets style
Hop on the metro or tram to Roubaix where, just 30 minutes away you’ll find yet more excellent shopping choices at Maisons de la Mode, next door to the magnificent La Piscine museum. Based at the Le Vestiare shopping mall, you’ll discover the designs and work of upcoming young fashion designers. Every May and November, Maison de Modes host a Marchés des Mode (Fashion Market) in Le Vestiare and in the Roubaix College of textiles opposite.
When I went in May, the fashion market was packed with people looking for something special and unique, jewellery, clothes, handbags, hair accessories – there’s plenty of choice. Many of the young, independent designers who cut their teeth here in Roubaix will go on to become top French designers and the discerning buyers who turn up in their droves are buying beautiful clothes and accessories – and potential investment pieces.
For a bit of bargain shopping there are several markets in Lille and the Sunday morning market at Wazemmes is colourful, fun and fabulous. In the covered indoor market area are food stall holders selling delicious and fresh produce. There are hundreds of stalls selling just about everything from cheese to chocolate, cakes to kayaks and bric-a-brac to bags. It’s like a giant bazaar complete with delectable smelling street food, terrace cafés and buskers – you’ll even find spontaneous dancing breaking out in places at this very busy market with a buzzing atmosphere.
All this shopping and treating yourself is bound to leave you thirsty and hungry – and in Lille that’s never a problem since there are hundreds of cafés, restaurants and bars to rest your feet and indulge.
Pick up a shopping guide from the Tourist office on Place Rihour and check the excellent Lille Tourist Office website for great shopping and accommodation deals that you won’t find anywhere else.
See the Roubaix Tourist Office website for lots of info on what’s on in Roubaix, La Piscine, the fashion outlets and much more.
Eurostar operates up to 9 daily services from London St Pancras International to Lille Europe with return fares from £69. Eurostar also offers connecting fares from more than 300 stations in the UK. Fastest London-Lille journey time is 1hr 20 minutes. Tickets are available from eurostar.com