Lille lies on the border of the Flemish part of Belgium and has something of a split personality. Named Rijsel in Flemish, Lille is attractive, young and highly underrated. The Flemish influence extends past simply the architecture and accents, too. The Lillois share the Belgian love of food and have a well-deserved reputation for friendliness. Lille is the perfect motorhome getaway from the UK and is only an hour from London, two-and-a-half from Paris.
Lille campervan hire – compare the best deals
With tourists flocking in from the UK and Brussels, Lille campervan rentals are plentiful. At Motorhome Republic we make it easy to choose by comparing all of the motorhome companies in one place to deliver you the best result. Everything you need to know is right there on the results page.
Depending on whether you’re coming with a family or on a weekend jaunt, there are different sized vehicles you may want to consider. The smaller converted vans have a double bed and camp cooking equipment and make for the perfect romantic roadie. To accommodate the family, or simply have a bit more room, there are also plenty of RV-style options.
Road trips from Lille
Pack up the camper and drive to Burgundy from Lille. It’s in a straight line between Lille and Nice.
There are some nice little stops along the way: Azy le Rideau is small and cute, especially when you get the reflections from the lake, and Chenonceau is over the top in size and grandeur. For history, Chinon or Blois, with connections to Joan of Arc, is also recommended.
It’s a must to drive through the Camargue on the way to Nice. Unlike anyplace else in Europe, you can see flamingos, black bulls and white horses from the road. Aigues Mortes is completely authentic, unlike the more famous Carcassonne. Arles is also worthy of a stop if you haven’t been there before.
A road trip from Lille to Marseille is a wonderful way to experience the real France, and in your campervan you get to see it all. The bay area around the city includes wonders such as the Fort Saint-Nicolas, the Fort Saint-Jean shelters, the famed Castle of If made famous by the Count of Monte Cristo and the wonderful basilica Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde.
Motorhome camping – places to stay around Lille
At Camping La Paille Haute, the owners are helpful and really friendly. There’s a bread van each morning and the sites are clean and quiet.
Camping L'Image Pleasant is a site with an excellent reputation. Away from the bustle of the Lille city, this spot is some distance from bus services so you’ll need to pack up the camper each time you have to head into Lille.
Camping Nord Pas-de-Calais is 20km from Lille and lies between Lille, La Bassée Haubourdin and Armentieres. It’s a nice countryside area to explore and even try fishing.
If you’re that way inclined, there is a naturist camping spot at Naturist Camping du Pont Charlet. It has welcomed guests since 1976, in a green and quiet area during the months of April to October. Families and couples are both welcome.
Indulge in Lille – top restaurants
If you’re a foodie, you’re going to love Lille. There are many chocolate shops, patisseries and markets to try out. In the Hermitage Gantois luxury hotel is the Hermitage Bar, one of the most refined spots to enjoy a drink in Lille, but is priced accordingly. Guillaume Vincent sells exquisitely decorated chocolates and is worth a treat. Or spoil yourself with a stuffed waffle from Meert on the Rue Esquermoise right next to the Grand-Place. Even if you’re on a tight budget on your France campervan holiday, these treats are almost impossible to resist.
Try some of Lille’s famous “estaminets”. These are typical Lille restaurants where you can taste the traditional fare of Potje'vleesch or Carbonade flamande. Book a couple of days ahead for places like T'Rijsel and Chez la vieille as they’re extremely popular.
For some of the best seafood and fish in the country, head to rue des Chats Bossus for L'Huitriere. The interior is Art Deco and this gem is well loved by locals and tourists alike. L’Ecume des Mers offers platters groaning with crab, lobster, crayfish, mussels, cockles and other piscatorial delights.
L'Omnia leads you down into the rabbit hole, Alice in Wonderland style. Ramps and murals play with perspective for a childish sense of wonder. The food is affordable and if you’re adventurous you should try the ‘potjevles’. For a bag of fresh clementines, hot chicken and roast potatoes for lunch, head to the open market, Marché de Wazemmes, open every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday morning. There are lots of tastings and you can finish a glass of beer at one of the many surrounding little pubs.
Get cultured – what to do in Lille
For a relatively small metropolitain city, Lille has some major accolades to its name. You can visit the largest fleamarket in Europe at Braderie de Lille or head to Furet du Nord, Europe's largest bookshop. With over 7000 square metres of bookworm heaven, you’re bound to pick up a good read.
Place du Général-de-Gaulle, is named after the Lille-born general. Better known as the Grand Place, this central square is full of many historic and distinctly Flemish-influenced houses. As you stroll among the arcades and galleries, wander through the courtyard of the Vieille Bourse, a stunning example of 17th-century Flemish architecture and visit la Grande Déesse - a statue of a goddess sculptued in 1843.
Climb to the top of the 104m belfry of Hôtel de Ville, where you'll be rewarded with a magnificent view. Moules-frites and beer in the adjoining cafe are a must after this massive exertion. After the Louvre, the Palace of Fine Arts in Lille has the richest collection of any museum in France, with a particularly fine collection of paintings by the Dutch old masters such as Van Dyck and Rubens.
Lille Zoological Park breeds endangered species and has a rare white rhino called Christian. It’s a great place to take the whole family, and an easy way to wear out little ones before a road trip. Lille is also a student city and the nightlife buzzes with clubs, pubs and cafes.
Built in 1453, the Palais Rihour is worth a look and also the home of the tourist information centre. It sits in the middle of Place Rihour surrounded by restaurants. Take a stroll through the old quarter of the city, along the cobblestoned paths through Vieux Lille. Here you’ll find gourmet restaurants, boutiques to scare your credit card and Cathédrale Notre Dame de la Treille. Rue de la Monnaie and Rue Esquermoise are definitely worth the trip. Or in the evening splash out on Opera and Chamber of Commerce. They’re located close together and are lit-up at night.