Sunday, April 19, 2009

Travel journal, part five: Lille

Yesterday me and my parents went to discover the city of Lille in the north of France, near the border with Belgium. This too was a very sweet little city and very different to Paris. It was actually in a way very German. Or perhaps belgium. Don't know, since I've never been to Belgium! :D

The thing that I perhaps liked the most was the colours! As I already told you, the houses in Paris all have this very similar brown-greyish colour that makes the city look very dull when the weather is grey too. But when the sun is shining, it's ok! But Lille! The houses there were so colourful! And therefor the city looked very nice even though the weather wasn't that good! The sun actually broke through the clouds only in the efternoon, before we were about to leave Lille.

Colourful like for example these three houses in the old town:

The whole old town had these typical small streets and old houses. And lots of expensive shops :) But I was actually surprised of the alltogether modern look of the old town! I had perhaps expected the houses to look... well, older! But perhaps they really were very old. Perhaps the bright colours just fooled me to think they were newer.

We also visited the modern part of Lille where I found this piece of art just next to the second railway station:

The house behind the flowers was actually shaped as the letter L. Very strange... :)

Some other surprises in this city was the churches. The old cathedral had a whole new fasade while the rest of the building was still old and inside the church, we found a lot of modern art. But the explanation for that must be the war. The main entrance of the church must have collapsed after a bombing or something and then they decided to build a whole new, modern entrance in stead of copying the old one. Quite an interesting move... Then in this other church, called Sainte Marie Madeleaine, the altar area looked like this:

This church was also filled with modern art, and probably didn't serve as a church anymore. But it was fun looking at the art! There were for example three scenes of war and in one of them there was this forrest in the background and some soldiers in the front. And my mum said "That forest looks just like the forests back home!" and when we read the text beside it, we found out that it actually was symbolizing Karelia druing the second world war! Pretty awesome to find a piece of Finland here in modern art of France :P

Before heading back to Paris with the train, we still had time for a little walk around the old fortress of Lille, built sometime during the 17th century.

Around it were today an amusement park so it was perhaps a bit hard to catch a glimps of the history. And the very heart of the fortress was actually still today property of the military, so people were not allowed to enter.

But in all, Lille was a very nice and cosy city! And I think this was like the first time everything went as planned with the trains etc! Amazing! Perhaps the SNCF works after all! ;)

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