The best way to entertain business partners in Lille
Not long ago, the northern city of Lille was known primarily as a major industrial center – but a lot can change in a few short years. Today, the art galleries and architecture help to pull in the tourists, while the Michelin-starred restaurants and a Ligue 1 soccer team keep locals equally happy.
The temperature in Lille doesn’t typically dip below freezing in winter, which makes it an ideal place to entertain colleagues year round. With the holiday season fast approaching, it’s best to book your dates, tickets and tables as far in advance as you can. Schedule in some of these after-work attractions to engage, entertain and intoxicate your fellow business travelers.
It would be unthinkable not to swing by Lille’s Marché de Noël, open throughout December. A dazzling Ferris wheel crowns this vibrant Christmas market, with spectacular views available from the top, while an only slightly smaller Christmas tree towers majestically above the Grand Place. Shop for nativity figurines, Christmas decorations and arts and crafts from places as far flung as Russia, Poland and Québec, before completing your true Christmas market experience by ordering a round of vin chaud (hot mulled wine) for everyone. Santé!
Completed in 1914, the Opera de Lille was dramatically modernized in 1998, fitting out the interior with industry-leading tech. The result gives you the best of both worlds: a suitably grand neo-classical building with killer acoustics, equally capable of hosting stunningly complex set pieces and minimalist, lighting-intensive performances. On Wednesday evenings, intimate one-hour concerts are held at 6pm in the grand foyer of the opera house. Each season includes a healthy mix of classical and modern ballet and opera, so there’s certain to be something that will appeal to your team.
Although Lille’s fusion restaurants have been making waves on the local culinary scene, while in France, you really do have to eat French food. Le Barbier Qui Fume, which translates as The Barber Who Smokes, is a butcher shop by day and a restaurant by night, so any steak on the menu is a safe choice.
Housed in a 17th-century stone townhouse on the Rue de la Monnaie, the decor is a slightly bizarre mix of medieval opulence and edgy modernism, but somehow, it completely works. The food arrives impeccably presented on black plates and tastes every bit as good as it looks. Make sure you’ve left room for dessert – there’s pretty stiff competition for the title of ‘best crème brûlée in France’, but the one here is a serious contender.
There are few places in the city where Lille’s proximity to Belgium is more evident than La Capsule. Beer features prominently on the drinks menu at this hidden gem, with twelve on tap and several more bottles behind the bar. The knowledgeable bartenders are always happy to guide guests towards their personal favorites, but if you’re after something local, go for La Chope, an aromatic, hazy blond beer.
Hit the hay
Ready to call it a night? Our Park Inn by Radisson Lille Grand Stade is just 8km from Lille-Lesquin Airport, so no matter how many Trappist glasses you and your guests empty the night before, there’s no way you’ll miss your flight the next day.