In 2015 I went to the Lille for the opening parade of Lille3000. I had no idea what to expect. I’d heard from friends that it was a quirky and incredible art “event” but nothing prepared me for the reality.
Held every few years, Lille3000 is a huge event with what seems like a strange name – but there’s a good reason! In 2004 the city was elected European Capital of Culture. They put on a grand show, in fact transformed the streets, opened art galleries and museums. When their year of culture was over, the citizens of Lille decided actually, it wasn’t! They wanted to keep the cultural vibe going to the year 3000. So Lille3000 was born.
It’s a festival of art like no other in the world. The streets are transformed, huge events take place and many locals participate. To call this city an arty party feast is an understatement. And if you ever needed a reason to visit, this is it. Go see the opening parade, visit the art installations and discover one of the richest artistic collections in France.
Lille3000 2019 | Eldorado
It all kicks off on April 27 when the opening parade takes place. This year’s theme is Eldorado and the organisers of Lille3000 are bringing Mexico to the city! Inspired by the great Mexican festivals such as El Dia de los Muertos or the Puebla parade, it’s going to be colourful and vibrant. Expect more than 1000 costumed dancers, singers and performers. There will be a major sound and light show and a spectacular night out.
But it doesn’t end there as there are months to follow of performances, events and exhibitions. This art festival runs from 27 April until 1 December 2019.
Amazing street art for Lille3000
On leaving the central Lille Flandres Station, visitors face the Rambla, leading into the heart of the city. Over the years this famous thoroughfare has been become used to being transformed for each festival. Hosting the elephants of Nitin Desai, during the theme of Bombaysers, the arches of Jean Claude Mezière, and even a street in Beijing. This year, it is popular art figures who are taking over the Avenue Faidherbe. For Eldorado, it will be decorated with Alebrijes: 10 monumental sculptures created by the Museum of Popular Art in Mexico City. Giant statues made of wood or papier-mâché, representing wild and domestic animals plus fantastic creatures created from hybrid and imaginary elements.
At Lille Flandres station, visitors will be welcomed by a giant, 10m-wide, moon. It’s the work of British artist Luke Jerram. ‘Museum of the Moon’ is an inflatable installation based on images of the moon provided by NASA, accompanied by a soundtrack.
At the end of the Rambla, is the 17th century Old Stock Exchange, in front of the Opera House. It’s inner courtyard hosts a popular second hand book market. Chess players compete with booksellers for visitors’ attention. In 2019 it will be enhanced, for the festival, with Golden Sun Mirrors.
Dozens of exhibitions will take place in venues throughout the inner city of Lille and its suburbs .
At St So Station cultural venue, a Garden of Eden, inspired by the Pozas in Xilitla, a 32-hectare tropical forest known for its waterfalls and lakes, and home to huge surrealist concrete sculptures will be created. British poet Edward James will be the star here.
The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Contemporary Art, Outside Art of Lille, exhibits works by Modigliani, Picasso, Miro and Bernard Buffet all year round. In 2019, for the Eldorado festival, the Lam will hold a major retrospective on Alberto Giacometti.
Former hospital, Hospice Comtesse founded in 1237 by Jeanne de Flandre (Countess of Flanders) is now a museum. It will be exhibiting works of Mexican art, paintings and sculptures by such artists such as Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Rosa Rolando, selected by the Museum of Modern Art of Mexico.
More on Lille
Arty Party Lille3000 2015 – want to know what to expect, check out the last time this amazing event took place.
Ten things to do in Lille
Roubaix – La Piscine, a most extraordinary art deco swimming pool which turned into a museum
Palais des Beaux Arts, Lille
Ten places to eat out in Lille
Lille – charm and culture by the bucket load