One of the things that still completely amazes me about living in London is its ridiculously close proximity to all things European. And considering the fact that I think everything is in Europe, I propel myself at every opportunity to travel (because travel is why I’m living 500 gazillion miles away from my friends and family). You need only say “hey Cat, do you want to g—-” “Yes! YES I’ll go!”, it’s that easy. Because of this, I’m so in the red that I am red (oh wait, that’s from peeling beetroots the other night), but I also get to go to Stockholm, Helsinki, Amsterdam, Alicante, Vegas, San Fran and LA, all in the next ten weeks!
Oh, and I was just in Lille last weekend.
Lille was a completely random destination. I didn’t know it existed until about six months ago, and knew absolutely nudda about the city, except that it would take me all of 90 minutes to get there on the Eurostar. I was meeting my friend, Ying (who I bonded with years ago over a conversation about my questionable taste in men), who arrived before me and was already chillaxing in our Suitehotel room.
Before I go on, here is a shameless plug for Suitehotel – it’s amazing. Stay. There. At €70 a night, this is uber cheap for Europe. They have brand new spacious rooms, a king bed with an extra bed (and possibly the best mattress I’ve ever slept on), separate bath and shower, two wardrobes and even a microwave, and free internet and free in-house movies. Omigod. So, ok, stay there.
Ok, I should just get on with it. Food.
There was plenty of it.
At 9pm, hunger pangs were starting to render me completely useless, so we had to eat. Place Rihour (a tiny street by the Grand Place) is supposedly the place to be. We took a punt and picked Brasserie Flore, mainly because it looked good and also because Ying’s research told us so. I thought the food was good, not great, but what impressed me more was that the meals came with salads, unlike my Parisian experience that was a side salad of one cherry tomato.
A number of people recommended we head down Rue de la Monnaie for its scrumptious pastries, so first thing Saturday morning, we were there. There’s a few pastry shops along the cobbled street and we managed to sample a few of them between actual meals. And between the in-between-meals-pastries, we had some crepes.
Between the in-between-meals-pastries and the in-between-in-between-crepes, we had meals. Saturday’s lunch was supreme poulet and crab tartare at La Houblonniere, which is right on the Grand Place. Chicken was meh, crab tartare (dressed with red berries, star fruit and grapefruit) was divine.
We started Sunday with a ham, cheese and egg crepe at Le Napoleon on Place de la Gare, but the egg was raw. Eeeeew. And not just from an I-don’t-like-runny-yolk point of view, but the egg white goo was all up in the cheese and everything. It was wrong. Wrong.
The remedy, and a good one at that, was yet another in-between-meals-crepe, followed by the purchase of not one but two dozen macaroons from Les Cailliardises, and a visit to the food market (Rue de la Monnaie, Sundays only). A good food market fixes everything.
So I know it looked like all we did was eat our way through the quaint little town that is Lille. We didn’t, I promise. In fact it was one of the most well-rounded holidays (not just in our bellies) I’ve had for a while ~ we managed to shop (Ying doing some serious damage at LV), and even squeeze in some culture at the Palais des beaux arts de Lille.
All right, so we rushed through the art gallery so that we could sit outside:
and eat our chocolate eclaires:
Oh, and of course, there was that Michelin star dinner.