Emergency measures in the wake of Covid-19:
A May 11th gradual lifting of lockdown measures included the re-opening of many shops. Masks are mandatory on public transport. From June 2nd cafés, bars and restaurants across the country may reopen indoor table seatings, but those in the Paris region will only be allowed to open outdoor terraces. Parks and public gardens, historical monuments and beaches will also reopen, but gatherings of more than 10 people will remain prohibited.
There is reduced cross-Channel ferry service, and Eurostar has limited Paris and London service. Some flights are operating. People will be able to travel beyond the 100 kilometers limit within France, and then throughout Europe as of June 15 as border reopen, although some countries still have quarantine requirements. Policies on travel from outside the EU will be clarified by then.
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.