Thursday, 23 November 2017
First time in Lille
Of how Charlotte and I ended up in Lille, rather than Disneyland Paris.
Originally the plan had been to go to Disneyland Paris with Marie. But then Marie had to work. And on Sunday evening when Charlotte arrived, there was still no telling what the weather was going to be like, thanks to, wait for it, a hurricane wreaking havoc on the French coastal region that might move inland. On Monday, that wasn't any better, and as we basically had to buy tickets on Monday to be able to go on Wednesday, we binned the DLP plan and decided to go to Lille instead. On top of risking dire weather it would also involve getting up at stupid o' clock, and we just didn't feel like that. Instead we got up at a sensible hour, didn't have to rush to get ready and eat breakfast, and left somewhat past 10am (after me screaming at the satnav for 15 minutes 'till it finally did what it had to do).
Once the satnav actually got going, Tom Tom got us to the center of Lille old town, and the parking lot.
It very quickly turned out that everything we wanted to do (Antique book market, Sephora, eat lunch at Pain Quotidien) was situated around that square, so that was super easy.
Sadly, the carpark was not cheap like the Amiens one (equally well situated but dirt cheap), but oh well, can't have it all.
Our first stop was Pain Quotidien, because it was lunch time!
The menu in France is different than it is in Belgium, but there were still plenty of things on it I could eat (we had looked it up online before so we were sure Charlotte would be able to eat there). Charlotte had a soup menu and I settled for croque monsieur and a juice drink. Apple and blackberries it was I believe, but I'm not sure anymore now.
I still wonder how on earth people even got up there to put a bra on that statue, because that was pretty darn straight high up!
After having stuffed our faces, ahem, eaten lunch, we wandered to Sephora, for I was in need of some things.
Originally I was going to be good and ONLY buy what was on my list (facemask, the black cream lip stain, spare stinky panda) but I ended up also getting Too Faced's Melted Matte in Naughty by Nature because it is such an amazing brown. And I do love brown lipsticks! No more now though, else stuff is going to end up expiring before it's used up.
Next to Sephora was a HUGE (I think it's (5+ floors) Furet du Nord, and I wanted to go in to buy Sudoku for my dad (his faves are the French ones) for Christmas (he always asks French or British Sudoku for Christmas). And Charlotte wanted to explore the craft's section. I also managed to acquire a Furet loyalty card, which makes sense for me to have as I also go to the Furret in V2 and Roubaix.
After that, we had a look at the book market, which was an overpriced disappointment. I get that it's an _antique_ book market, but I can find books in the same state and of the same age for much cheaper. Charlotte did find some really nice prints for €5 each (the prints were pretty much the only affordable thing). Personally I think that it's a bit tourist trap, so that was a bit disappointing, to be fair.
Having done everything we really wanted to do, we decided to walk to the tourist office 3 streets down to acquire a map of the city, taking photos along the way. It wasn't hard to find the tourism office at all, by the way. They were a bit stingy with maps, because they would only let us have one, which I then gave to Charlotte. Meaning that next time I go to Lille, I will first have to go there again for a map. Luckily I know where it is. Let's just hope I'll be able to remember it then (I'm sure I will though) ^^.
Map in hand, we set out to find the cathedral, Notre-Dame de la Treille, taking more photos and popping into shops along the way...
This is an older Crocopik! photo, because the limited edition purple crocodiles are no more, alas!
At the Casino supermarket I bought 3 bags of Haribo Crocopik! for my dad, because it's his favourite candy and a drink for myself. Long, long ago, they had Crocopik! in Belgium, but sadly now they're only sold in France. At least you can get them at every supermarket now, which does simplify matters :). They used to be my favourite candy too, but whilst I still like them a lot, I like Albert Heyn's wilde muizen (wild mice) even more!
There was an artisanal candy shop a little further up the street, so I got two macarons. A pistacchio one for Charlotte and a coffee one for myself. She was all “you can't go in and buy just one!” when I said I'd buy her a pistacchio one, so I went in and got us both one :D. She was initially unconvinced, until she had hers hahaha :D. We're such goofballs.
La Drogerie was the most amazing haberdashery store ever. Well, ok, it's a tie with Hexagoon in Louvain. But the people were so friendly and helpful! I got a meter of velvet ribbon there to make shoulder straps on a dress, because I was there anyway and it was the same price per meter as Veritas. I'm kinda sad I didn't discover this chain of haberdashery stores before, I feel like I missed out on visiting the ones in Nantes and Shibuya (Tokyo) now!
We had a look around the cathedral, very quietly as to not disturb the mass that was happening in one of the side areas.
The clock tower is next to the cathedral, in a building that doesn't match the church, with a little park and some benches around it.
So we dropped our stuff on a bench and Charlotte kindly took an outfit shot of me.
Cardigan: Harry Potter merch, it's so oversized because it's from the men's section
Blouse: Ank Rouge
Skirt: made it myself
Petticoat: Dear Celine
Socks: Foot Traffic
As you can tell, the weather was MUCH nicer a month ago! I really miss that nice, soft Autumn weather. I'm not digging this stormy early winter we're having at the moment. Not at all. It is foul AF.
On our way back to the city center we stopped at a small shop selling candles, where I got two small Yankee Candle ones, I think they're called votives in their range.
Witches's brew rather quickly became a melty mess, and whilst it was very fragrant just sitting around, it didn't really give off any scent burning (very strange). Which was probably for the best because Bert thought it smelled pretty bad.
Iced Gingerbread, however, burned nicely for about an entire week's worth of evenings and made the entire upstairs smell delightfully like artisanal gingerbread! Sadly, it's really expensive online, so I'm hoping that next time I go to Lille, that shop still has some.
Our next stop was Starbucks, where the very kind barista taught us how to pronounce soy in French (sozja) and Charlotte treated herself to a vegan pumpkin spice latte and me to a regular Pumpkin Spice frappucino. Contrary to Belgium, France has been restocked with Pumpkin Spice. I would harp on the unfairness of it all, but in reality I can't make it to a Belgian Starbucks before the end of the Pumpkin Spice season anyway. But I still feel for all the Belgians that had to miss out whilst the French got a restock!
Flying Tiger Copenhagen is just called Tiger in Lille (potentially in the whole of France, but I don't know about that, leave a comment if you do!) and they had these amazing big light up Jack o' Lanterns for €5. So of course I just had to have one. I also bought a litter box scoop, an oven mit and a photo album shaped like a camera. I swear, Tiger is like the Daiso of Europe! Only just slightly more expensive than Daiso, but (nearly) just as cool! Charlotte got some bits and bobs too, amongst which a super cool skull bottle.
Because at that point we had amassed quite a bit of stuff, we decided to drop our loot off in the car first, before walking to Euralille, the mall. I had thought it would be further outside the city center, but it really isn't. Which is super practical. If you've ever been to the Palladium mall in Prague, I would say it is quite like that, when you think about proximity to the city center.
Primark was our first stop, and on the way there we encountered the one actually rude person in Lille (nearly everyone else was so, so friendly and kind to us, bar the surly Sephora shop girl) who was shouting lord knows what at us. We had no clue, considering that he wasn't articulating at all. I would have said something, but his friend was already quite profoundly berrating him for his behaviour. Figuring that getting told off by a peer would actually have a far greater impact, we opted to just laugh at his stupidity instead :).
I did find what I was looking for at Primark though, one of the €5 super soft blankies for Loa, for Christmas (yes I get my pets Christmas presents!). Seeing there is no Primark near me, I was not going to miss out on the opportunity to snatch one now.
Pretty much right outside the check-out area there was an entire wall full of Chip coin purses, so I got one of those too because I know they are nigh impossible to find. I like collecting these more or less cult Disney bits and bobs (which is why I also own a Tippy Blue keychain) when I can. I won't go out of my way to acquire them, but should I come accros them at a reasonable price, I will buy them.
They also had the Mrs Potts teapot, but I didn't get that as I have no use for it. The Chip is at least a practical desk display size. A teapot rather less so :).
I did see about dark brown cardigans, which they didn't have. There was a shop girl folding right behind the cardigan table, and as I didn't know what it was in French, I asked her if she could tell me. She was super friendly and was happy to explain that a “gilet” is the traditional meaning of the word, but that the modern, English, use of “cardigan” is also correct. Huzzah for learning more colloquial French with the help of kind locals!
I did ponder a ruffly hot pink or black cardi, which was only €12, but decided against it because I wouldn't often wear the pink and I have enough black ones. We also checked out the geek stores for Adventure Time things for Bert, but sadly found none. Charlotte did find a cool Loki Funko though.
By that time, it was closing time for the shops, and google maps told Charlotte that traffic was no longer DOOM, so we decided to go home.
The only photos Charlotte and I have of us together are random selfies I made, most of them involving mirrors.
We made a small stop along the highway at a Total station/shop to go to the toilet and find something to eat. In the end we got home pretty late after 10pm, so we weren't home much earlier than we would have been had we gone to DLP, BUT we got to not get up at 3am and we weren't utterly smashed exhausted the next day, so I say: SUCCESS!
Plus, Lille is a lovely city, full of beautiful architecture and mostly very friendly people. I definitely want to go back some time! Might actually drag Bert along to the Christmas market next month :).
And I definitely want to see Bleu at their National History Museum! But that's still on for absolute _ages_.
Lille haul. I stayed neatly within my budget, I just got a lot of stuff that was cheap!
All my Lille photos are here :).
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