Most of the Christmas decorations were centered around the Grand Place, with a Ferris wheel and a tree (with most of the lights working) as the central draw. As you moved further from the center, other stores had some of their own lights and decorations.
The Bruges market was mostly food and drink, so we were pleasantly surprised with the options that Lille provided. On both visits there was a wood smoke scent in air and general joviality. Several stalls were selling food including sandwiches, waffles, oysters(!), mulled red and white wine, and other were focused on clothing, souvenirs, and crafts of all kinds (including metal art – we got a little bird).
When Eric scoped out the market on Sunday night he noticed long lines and bags being searched. Thankfully that was the only time because the next afternoon we walked straight in, and later that evening there was a short line but no bag search. Maybe the searches were just on the weekend?
On our first visit we tried a chocolate covered marshmallow tart, oysters (me only), and a hot red wine. I was not as impressed with the mulled wine here, but when we tried the white version on a second visit I liked that even less. Oh well, at least it kept our hands warm! The cup was a sturdy plastic but not ceramic like the other mugs we have collected over the years, so we decided to return it and get our deposit back.
After our visit to the art museum later that day we walked back through the market on our way back to our apartment. The lights were beautiful and it was bustling but not too overly crowded at 6pm. Eric couldn’t resist the chocolate dipped waffle and it was an excellent choice – amazingly light and crispy.
It was cold but we vary much enjoyed our experience in Lille and would love to return in warmer weather for more outdoor activities. Considering the short Eurostar ride from London, it’s an easy trip.