In a nutshell: A jewel of the French north – and so much more than a Eurostar station.

Don't miss: The Vieille Bourse, the Palais des Beaux-Arts, the Citadelle

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There is a good chance that you have already been to Lille, if only for a few minutes. Its location, almost on the Belgian border, roughly midway through the train journey from London to Paris, means that Eurostar services frequently halt at its Lille-Europe station. For many travellers, this is just a brief pause. But the city could detain you for far longer.

True, it does not have the size of Paris, but its comparative smallness makes it a city that is easily digested in the space of a long weekend. Traditionally and historically as much a part of Flanders as of France, it has a character and a diversity that become increasingly obvious the further you stroll. Lille is so much more than the railway line through it.

Content supplied by the Telegraph’s travel expert Chris Leadbetter