After spending the night at my apartment in Douai, I woke the boys up as early as possible (around 10:30AM… it was difficult!) so that we could profit from a full day in Lille. I thought that after their time in Paris they would really love this city, and I was right! Lille is so different from Paris: the architecture, the people, the atmosphere. So, we got on the train in Douai, Grant bumped his head while
attempting to fit his giantly tall body into the little French people seats and everyone giggled in an “Oh, cute American boy” kind of way, and we hopped off 20 minutes later in Lille.
We saw the Lille Opera building, which is conveniently located next to the Lille Chamber of Commerce building. They are both gorgeous and two of my favorite buildings in the city. Next I took the boys to an old little market that is between the Opera and the Main Square. They amused themselves for nearly half an hour, looking at the action figures, comics, and strange French books spread out along one wall. Unfortunately, most of the comics were actually in English rather than French so they weren’t any different from the ones that you would normally find in the states. I finally coaxed them away and we continued on.
We stopped at the Palais des Beaux Arts, another beautiful building in Lille. It’s also apparently considered to be the second largest general interest museum in
France, after the Louvre. I should really go inside one day. We didn’t go inside, because I desperately wanted to show them the Gare Saint Sauveur. I had gone there last year with Michel and was rather impressed. It’s an old train station that has been renovated into an exposition center. Last year, it had lots of cool things – maybe you’ll remember from my post here. This year, it was an ice skating rink and kiddie games. Womp womp. We left (no one wanted to risk a broken ankle while ice skating… or maybe that was just me) and went in search for some lunch near the Palais des Beaux Arts and settled on a creperie. Grant became obsessed with crepes the minute he stepped onto French soil, I swear. The boys ordered all by themselves, although Grant almost got an espresso instead of a “jus de fraise,” or strawberry juice, which I myself have become obsessed with since my arrival here in 2010. Why don’t we have this in the states?!
We spent the rest of the day exploring the Christmas market in Lille. I personally like it much better than the one in Paris, and the boys did too. It’s more like a little Christmas neighborhood, full of all different types of vendors and most of the things are handmade. I let the boys wander together while I went off on my own since we were buying presents for each other. Not that it was obvious what we were buying for each other already or anything… “Grant, I reaaally love those earrings!” “Matt, if you could pick anything out from this market, what would it be?” “Hey Grant, I’m buying you this bird whistle. Don’t look.” Yeah.
We called it a night and headed back to Douai, where we cooked at home and got some sleep before making a day trip to Amiens, France, the following day.