Emergency measures in the wake of Covid-19:
Following the closure of all public places “non-essential” to public life including restaurants, cafes, cinemas and discos which took effect at midnight on March 14th, president Emmanuel Macron put the country into almost total lockdown on from March 17th until May 11th and then extended until July 24th. Rules forbid people from leaving home unless strictly necessary, banned them from meeting others, and required people to keep a distance of one metre from others when shopping, getting medical help, or at work not done from home.
100,000 police were deployed to enforce the lockdown, with checkpoints across the country, and fines of up to 135 euros for those not observing the restrictions. Entry into the E.U. Schengen zone had been banned. Anybody entering France has to remain confined for two weeks.
A May 11th gradual lifting of some lockdown measures includes the re-opening of many shops and the return of remote-working staff to their offices. Borders are set to reopen with Switzerland and Germany from June 15th. Masks are mandatory on public transport. Restaurants and bars may begin to reopen on June 2nd. There are reduced cross-Channel ferry service, and Eurostar has limited Paris and London service. Some flights are operating. Until at least July a coronavirus health certificate will be required and other restrictions imposed on entry. .
About as far north in France as you can get, Lille has numerous influences from neighboring Belgium. The architecture in the beautiful Grand Place has a distinct look of Flanders. The most beautiful of these buildings, the Vieille Bourse, the old stock exchange building, was built in the mid-17th century when Lille was part of the Spanish Netherlands, adorned with garlands and chubby cherubs in Flemish Renaissance style.
Vibrant, and full of young people attending the several universities, the city itself has only a few hundred thousand people, but the metropolitan area includes about 1 million. That means a sizable enough gay scene to attract the boys from Paris and London (only a couple of hours away) as well as the locals.
From the many downtown cafes with heated terraces, you can watch the world go by throughout the year. For full-service restaurants head for the pedestrian-only back streets in the Palais des Congres area. Lille’s Vieux Lille, or Old Town, is the gay neighborhood with bars and clubs clustered around the rue Royale and the rue de la Barre. The main cruising area is also at the end of rue de la Barre. Lesbian and Gay Pride Lille takes place in June. In September La Braderie is a giant two-day and night street marketplace, with a party atmosphere and people from all over the country and beyond.
Lille Lesquin International Airport is about 5 miles from the center of the city. Shuttle buses and taxis are standing by to take you to your hotel - click English, then "how to get to the airport" on their website. Shuttles can be boarded just opposite the arrivals hall, for a trip of 20 minutes, costing 8 euros one way (10 euros round trip).
An important crossroads in the high-speed rail network, Lille is on the Eurostar line to London and also the French TGV network to Paris, Brussels and major French cities such as Marseille, Lyon, and Toulouse. The city's two railway stations are next door to one another: Lille-Europe station (Gare de Lille-Europe), serving mostly high-speed trains and international services (Eurostar); and Lille-Flandres station (Gare de Lille-Flandres), primarily for regular-speed regional trains. See SNCF, the French national rail service, for information in English.
Downtown Lille has a well-regarded system of buses, trams, and driverless metro trains. See Transpole for information. You might want to rent a car to see the other towns and villages of this fascinating region.
Currency and Money
France is part of the Euro Zone, so the euro is the accepted currency. There are plenty of ATMs in the downtown area.
Media & Resources
Têtu is the national gay magazine, packed with interesting features and profiles. It’s also one of the slickest gay magazines ever produced. Yagg.com is their gay lifestyle and popular culture website, for France and the world.
Centre LGBTQIF de Lille (J’En Suis, J’Y Reste), the local LGBT community services center at 19 rue de Conde, provides a warm, friendly, welcoming, caring, safe, and non-discriminatory environment for all, and a Thursday evening bar.
CheZ VioleTTe is the regional women's association with a community center library, events and women-only workshops.
For news and events in the Bear community see Les Chti'Nours.
Les Sœurs de la Perpétuelle Indulgence, with meetings at the Centre LGBTQIF de Lille (19 rue de Conde), work like other sisters around the world, for the promotion of universal joy, and atonement of shame and guilt, with charity events and Information for the prevention of HIV/STDs. See FB
The Office de Tourisme de Lille, is the official site for what's happening in the city.
For map locations and website links to area businesses, see our gay Lille listings pages.
La Pate Brisee (65 rue de la Monnaie, Vieux-Lille), restaurant with traditional northern-style food; pies, salads, pastries, tea room.
Le Bayard (153 rue Nationale, off Place de Strasbourg), LGBT-friendly music bar, cocktails, drag shows; Chti'Nours bear & Pride events.
The Corner Food Bar (30 rue Saint Sébastien), restaurant and bar, charcuterie hams, cheeses, bagels, pitas and croques, desserts; mojitos, beers and wines, fruitshakes. Formerly Manhattan Café.
Le Cube (5 ter rue du Vieux Faubourg), gay sex shop, porn cinema, cabins, glory holes, cruise mazes.
Le Happy (8 place Pierre Mendes France), small 70s-90s-style discothèque généraliste, DJs/dancing, go-go dancers, live music, shows and performances, buffet meals.
Le Privilège Club (2 rue Royale, Vieux-Lille), gay/mixed neighborhood bar, shows, Thursday T-dances; weekend cheese plates, foie gras, croque monsieres.
Le Redlight District (16 place Pierre Mendès France), new Wednesday-Saturday LGBT/mixed bar/nightclub, international guest DJs, theme parties, drag shows, vocalists, go-go dancers, buffet spreads.
Le Rouge (8 place Saint-André), Tuesday-Saturday gay-friendly bar, men/women, DJs, live music, Afro-Latino dancing.
Le Sling Cruising Club (32 rue Jean Jaures, Center), fetish cruise/sex bar, naked/jock/underwear nights, booths, cells, glory holes; mask/hood nights and other special events.
Le Workshop Café (52 rue des Sarrazins), gay-friendly beer/wine bar, live music concerts, DJ sets, theater performances.
L'Odéon Café - Musé de la Musique (37 rue Puebla, Center), traditional regional cuisine restaurant, cocktail lounge, gala events.
Liquium (71 rue Jeanne d'Arc,), gay music and karaoke bar, DJs, dancing, live music, Wednesday meal specials, vegan options.
Uno's Bar (385, rue Léon Gambetta), gay-friendly cellar bar, recycled steel and wood decor, internet jukebox, ping-pong games.
CLOSED: Boy’s Bar (10 rue des Boucheries), gay dance club, theme parties; O'Nours (12 rue Masséna), gay/straight-friendly neighborhood cafe/bar; Tchouka Club (80, rue Barthélémy Delespaul), gay/straight mixed dancing, Pride parties.
Sauna Les Bains (52 rue de Cambrai), biggest all-male bath house and bar in Northern Europe, sauna, gym, bar/cafe, tanning beds and sundeck, massage services, two pools, cruising areas.
Sauna Soho (10 rue de la Madeleine), saunas, Jacuzzi, tanning, massage, bar/cafe, cinema, cruise maze, cabins, smokers' patio, internet, Mr Soho contests.
Hotels & Guesthouses
Novotel Suites Gare Lille Europe (boulevard de Turin), gay-friendly hotel, 126 inexpensive rooms and suites, full services, WiFi, cafe/bar.
See some more hotels on our map listings.