Another rainy morning…reviewing the map and trying not to waste any time. I am on a search for blueberries today.
I arranged to spend a second night in Lille to make it one less thing to think about and to give me a chance to walk about in this city…I will check out Friday July 1.
After a cup of coffee, I left the hostel and walked. First I stopped at a fancy little market to pick up some La Cheverie goat yogurt. Then I found a French Starbucks here in Lille and ordered my favorite blueberry muffin and coffee.
I sat down to plan the day…I left after daydreaming about capitalism and the historical factors of this place. Points of interest:
- The Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille
- The many Cathedrals that line the streets
- Hospice Corntesse Museum (said to be one of the most beautiful buildings in Lille).
Lille was founded in 640, a long, long time ago. Some records say it was not started until 1066, but that is still long ago. Lille is located near the river Deule. It fell into French hands in 1369. Lille is primarily known as a textile industry town, much like Basel, Switzerland.
Lille was the locus of many religious wars throughout history. Today this bustling city is a cultural hub and a vibrant active university town. Today (Thursday June 30) Lille is the site of the European Soccer match. It’s England vs. Belgium here, and football has taken over this city which is only about 250-thousand strong. Everyone here seems pretty excited this morning.
Lille is also the home of Charles de Gaulle (1890-1970) who was the President of France from 1958 until 1969. He was also a resistance fighter against the German occupation of France, and became one of France’s true heroes.
Lille is also home to the “Citadel,” a military site that dates from as far back as 1667. Yesterday, late afternoon I walked around the full circle of it to get more miles into my day. Additionally, the headquarters for the 12 -nation NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) is here. There is a strong police presence.
I did find myself walking by the Pasteur Institute where Louis Pasteur discovered the vaccine for polio. Pasteur, also, of course, invented the process for purifying milk to get rid of bacteria which also bears his name: pasteurization.
Once again the rain started to pour and I found myself within feet of the Palace of the Fine Arts (Palais des Beaux-Arts) and decided I needed more art from the 1500s and 1600s. Yes.
After spending about two hours viewing the art along with many visiting elementary school children I decided to leave. It was still raining so I just bundled up and risked getting wet.
I felt a little bit lost …but found my way back to the hostel. Checked in and then the sun came out so I took a walk…about 5 miles around the Citadel. It was very beautiful and kind of reminded me of Golden Gate Park with the overgrowth of history.
After coming back from the rain and the Museum “Palais des Beaux-Arts” I decided to have a bite to eat at the restaurant across the street from the hostel where I was staying, the “Gastama.” The restaurant was La Dinette (106 bis rue de Saint Andre). Soccer is everywhere here and frankly it’s a bit crazy.
They made me a sandwich to my liking–lots of vegetables, and it tasted great!
The waiter asked me politely where I was from, and I told him, “California in the United States.” He said to me with a smile on his face, “You have a sunny accent!” I ate it up, I thought that was really sweet.