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Dunstable...
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Lille, France

Hubby has a teaching job in Lille, France in October of 2014. We have never been to this part of France. I am trying to come up with where we should visit outside of Lille. We have been to France numerous times but never this Nord region. We will have five days to explore this area after Lille before we spend some time in Paris (my husband's favorite city).

I am looking for suggestions that don't require a great deal of driving. We have done our favorites of Normandy and Brittany and the Loire Valley several times along with numerous visits to the south of France. Should we focus on the Alsace?

I am looking for a great home base for this visit that will be an easy drive back to Paris.

We prefer to spend at least a couple days in one hotel in a city that will give us options to drive to various locations. Yes, we will have a rental car. I love historical locations with neat hotels that reflect the past. We live in a historical house built in 1735 (old for the States) and prefer lodging in unique place with quiet street and plenty of places to walk to.

Your suggestions would be highly valued since some times the hotel reviews TA do not reflect historical location hotels nor their value. I have stayed in way too many major chain hotel over the last 30 years of global travel. I am not looking for this or the locations we are staying at. Yours, Claudia

Essex
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1. Re: Lille, France

You will find some inspiration on this excellent website, for sure....

http://www.theotherside.co.uk

Then there are the official tourist websites

http://www.northernfrance-tourism.com

http://www.picardietourisme.com/EN/index.aspx

http://www.visit-somme.com

I like....

Arras, Amiens, Soissons, Compiegne, Calais, Boulogne, Dunkerque

But there are tons of good places to visit, in these regions, and many historical sites, from all Era...

London, UK
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2. Re: Lille, France

I would add to Essex Travellers list a range of places just over the Belgian border such as Kortrijk, Ieper/Ypres and Bruges. There is also a fabulous off-shoot of the Louvre at Lens, as well as monumental old spoil heaps that remain from the coal mining industry. It may be that you will find you do not need a hire car as all the places mentioned can be reached by train.

England, United...
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3. Re: Lille, France

I'll add two more places that are not that far from Lille:

Laon, which is a medieval small city (its site actually dates from Roman times) that sits high on its own hill and has lots of history:

http://www.laon-tourism.co.uk/

Senlis, which is another medieval small city and IMO one of the most charming in Northern France:

www.senlis-tourisme.fr/accueil-senlis.php

You could of course travel further and spend time in the Alsace or in Burgundy, but these areas would probably involve more driving than you have in mind. To help plan journeys and travel times I recommend the route planner on www.viamichelin.com but bear in mind that estimated travel times tend to be optimistic.

Essex
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4. Re: Lille, France

Laon is not over-far from Reims either, if you fancy a drop of the sparkly stuff on "home terroir"!

Dunstable...
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5. Re: Lille, France

Thanks for your suggestions. I will check them all out. At least, I have plenty of time to do some researching. Yours, Claudia

ypres
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6. Re: Lille, France

you can stay in Lille and take some daytrips to Belgium (its only 30minutes drive) where you will find nice and old city's as Ieper (known for history from ww1) - Brugge - Gent , these places you can visit 1 each day..

when driven from Lille to Ieper you will travel tro very nice and small places (dont take the Highway).

also Lille is very nice

Dunstable...
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7. Re: Lille, France

Thanks for the Belgium ideas. We did New Years in Bruges one year and spent a couple of days using it as home base visiting some horse farms in Belgium. My husband has taught in Brussels a couple of times and we have had a car to drive about but we have not visited Ghent or Leper yet. Yours, Claudia

8. Re: Lille, France

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