Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Last weekend, I travelled with the Monochrome Set to play a show in the northern French city of Lille. In between soundchecking, playing and drinking, I managed to hotfoot it onto the streets to grab these seventy-odd photos.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Getting to Lille couldn’t be any easier, with the Eurostar train running direct from St Pancras to the centre of the town.

Ten trains make the journey every day, with the average time between Lille and London St-Pancras being 2 hours and 32 minutes. The fastest journey time is an extra-speedy 1 hour and 22 minutes.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Leaving the modern and rather uninspiring international station.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

As of 2009, Lille had a population of 226,827 within its administrative limits, and an urban population of 1,015,744, making it the fourth largest urban area in France after Paris, Lyon and Marseille.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Looking like an oversized ski boot, the 1995 Tour de Lille building is located on Boulevard de Turin and rises 120 meters high with 20 floors.

Designed by architect Christian de Portzamparc, the façade is made of light green glass and overhangs the Gare Lille-Europe station.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

The ‘Hel Oninenta’.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Away from the bland, modernised centre, there’s loads of interesting back streets to explore.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Historic facade, dating from 1649.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

“Old Lille Sucks.”

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Intricate door detail.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Posters.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

“Monsieur Michel Mareels, Expert Immobilier.” Now that’s a name plate.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Look at the cupola on that.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

The following morning, France went to the polls, with the populace offered an unsavoury choice between former investment banker Emmanuel Macron and poisonous far right-wing racist, Marine Le Pen.

Thankfully, the lesser of two evils prevailed, with Macron garnering two thirds of the vote.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

View from my hotel.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Close to the station is this soulless modern shopping centre, dominated by big brands Primark and Carrefour.

It forms part of the ‘urban quarter’ which opened from 1994, with the Euralille development (above) opening in 2000. []

Incidentally, Carrefour, the French supermarket chain, opened up the first ‘hypermarket’ ever seen in the UK in 1972 in the rather unexpected and gritty location of Caerphilly, south Wales.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Inside the Euralille shopping mall.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Looking over the railway tracks of the Gare Des Lilles, Flandres.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

We were playing L’Aéronef in Lille, which is around the back of the Euralille development.

Unlike the shiny retail facade, the building already looks run down, with peeling paint and several escalators out of service.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Decent selection of stickers on the backstage door.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

The industrial chic of the  L’Aéronef venue. The sound guys and staff were great, as was the gig!

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Construction of the Gothic style Église Saint-Maurice Roman Catholic church started at the end of the 14th century.

Restoration work was completed by architect Philippe Cannissié in the 19th century, with the building being listed as an historic national monument in 1914.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Knackered old phone boxes.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

The rather architecturally muddled belfry of Lille town hall, built in 1932 and standing 104m high.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Porte De Paris, a 17th century flamboyant commemorative monument to Louis XVI.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Street art.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Outside Lille station a lively debate was taking place in the street.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Back to the gig.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

This was my drum kit for the night – a splendid Gretsch number. I have a sparkly gold version of this kit.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Support band Scarlet Rascal on stage.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Snapshot from the drum kit taken during a quiet part of our set. The sound was great on stage.

After the show, we visited the lovely Amul Solo bar and drank until the wee small hours.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

The next morning I took a nippy strut around town before the train back to London.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Street art.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Gare Des Lilles Flandres, the main railway station of Lille, capital of French Flanders.

A terminus for SNCF Intercity and regional trains, it opened in 1842 as the Gare du Lille, but was renamed in 1993 when Lille Europe station opened.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Impressive arched roof.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

It was blooming freezing in the morning , so there wasn’t too many people out on the streets.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

The Chambre de Commerce de Lille was built between 1910 and 1921 and designed by architect Louis-Marie Cordonnier.

Constructed in a Neo-Flemish style, the belfry stands 76 meters high.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Empty seats in the city square.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

The splendid Art Deco façade of  La Cloche d’Or jewellery store.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Empty square.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

War memorial.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

La Voute bar/tabac and Alcide restaurant.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Second hand fair.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

The Neoclassical Opéra de Lille, built between 1907 and 1913 to a design by architect Louis Marie Cordonnier.

Photos of Lille, France: architecture, street scenes, empty chairs and graffiti, May 2017

Bent sign.

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