After a really stressful and exhausting two days of travel, my first time traveling alone, I have finally arrived in Lille, France! Well, technically I am staying just outside of Lille in Villeneuve-d’Asq way up in Northern France very near to Belgium. The city is old, quiet, and absolutely gorgeous in the daytime with a reputation for an amazing nightlife (can’t wait).
On first look, I immediately noticed all the brick. Every road and building is made of brick, which is indicative of the city’s historic charm. This creates an amazing aesthetic on its own, but when contrasted with the decorative light displays which can be found at virtually every turn, it gives you a sense of old and new coming together as one and then leaving you in complete awe. Indeed, the city’s tendencies to incorporate technology into a backdrop that seems as if it has always existed seems so natural, as if the Palais des Beaux Arts grew up out of the ground while at the same time a vine of Christmas lights grew like ivy along the edges of all the buildings.
This naturalistic vibe is what feels so instantaneously inspiring about Lille. As you come up to the street level from the metro station, surrounded by life, with the cold wind on your face, and historic brick buildings looking down on you, you feel like you are in an ancient forest. It’s gorgeous and astounding and overwhelming all at the same time. But then slowly, as you take it all in, you notice yourself starting to become part of it with every breath. The city takes you in it and then you feel as if you, like the Christmas lights and the buildings, have always been. You are now, have always been, and forever will be a simultaneously old and new fixture in the forest. You are a part of the nature of Lille, France. Bienvenue.