Travel to Lille for the Football in 2016


Fun things to see and do during your drive to Lille

The church at Dunkirk – Image by Flickr user Daniel Jolivet

Football fans are flocking to France this summer for one of the year’s biggest tournaments. Will you be one of them? If so, why not take the time to explore more of northern France, when driving to Lille.

Lille is a popular destination and capital of the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, in northern France. It can be easily reached from Calais by car, by following the A16 and A25 roads, which will take you directly to the city. This part of northern France has a dramatic history and is dotted with fantastic towns and villages to visit, so check out some of the top pit stops to make on your journey from Calais to Lille.


Famous for its prominent role during World War II, Dunkirk has a lot to offer for visitors. Located on the North Sea coast, around a 40-minute drive from Calais, the town is home to the last remaining French windjammer ship, the Duchesse Anne. Today a museum, the magnificent ship was built in 1901 and was originally used as a training ship for German soldiers, before being gifted to the French after WWII.

The Museum of modern and contemporary Art of Dunkirk can also be found in town, which boasts a great collection of art works dating from the 1950s to the present day. The museum is situated in the middle of a scenic sculpture garden, while the building itself is impressive as an example of contemporary architecture, made up of striking white blocks.

For a spot of lunch, head to Le Country Grill for hearty burgers and sides such as mozzarella sticks and cream cheese jalapenos. With generous burger portions, it’s great if you’re hungry! Those seeking a more typically French experience might want to look out for Le Marmiton, a quaint local restaurant serving up gourmet French cuisine.


Locally known as “the other Bruges in Flanders”, Bergues is a Flemish town which entered the spotlight following a popular French film, Welcome to the Sticks (in English), which was made in 2008 and featured the town belfry. If you’re a fan, you can join one of the film tours which depart from the town centre.

Even without its claim to fame, Bergues is full of charm. The centre of town is overlooked by the pretty church of Saint Martin, parts of which date back to the 16th century. Take a stroll along the town’s medieval ramparts and get great views of the town belfry, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you’re feeling fit, climb the 191 steps to the top of the belfry to see panoramic views of the town square below.

The belfry at Bergues
Walk to the top of the belfry at Bergues.© Image by Olivier Duquesne

Bergues is also famous for producing delicious Bergue cheese, so be sure to look out for it in town. If you want a sit-down meal, the Taverne Le Bruegel restaurant is housed in a pretty building, decorated in traditional Flemish style inside. Prepare to try some delicious local beers on tap and enjoy hearty soups and stews, along with steaks, sausages and chips.

The belfry at Bergues
The pretty Flemish restaurant, Le Bruegel. © Image by Jean Robert Thibault

Golf Blue Green Dunkirk

When driving to Lille for the football, stretch your legs on the golf course near Dunkirk, Golf Blue Green. Made up of two courses, one 18-hole course and one nine-hole course, the Blue Green club is just 10 minutes from Dunkirk by car. It’s an ideal stop to make on your way to the football, as a game of golf is sure to get you in the competitive mood!

The club covers a staggering 76 hectares and offers reasonable daily green rates, plus lessons for beginners and advanced players. There’s also a driving range if you’re not looking to play a full game. Grab a bite to eat after a long day on the course at the on-site restaurant.


About 45-minutes north of Lille is the commune of Cassel. Situated on a hilltop, Cassel is a great place to enjoy the sunny weather and take a break from the car. If you head to the top of Mont Cassel, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views over the nearby Flanders Fields. On an especially clear day, you might even see over the North Sea to England!

Beautiful views can also be had around Moulin de Cassel, a pretty windmill surrounded by peaceful gardens. This is one of the highest points in Flanders and the views are wonderful, especially during the summer. Nearby are old Roman roads, which are around 2,000 years’ old, as well as medieval walls and a WWI monument.

Moulin de Cassel.
Moulin de Cassel.© Image by Jean Robert Thibault

Explore more of Lille and its surroundings, by visiting the official Lille Tourist Office.

Travelling to France for the football?

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Make the most of your drive to Lille and the rest of France using our guide to the city

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Prices start from £30 per car, each way* *£30 Day Trip & Overnight - Ticket must be purchased as part of a 2 day return. Return must be completed by midnight (local time) on the second calendar day. Book your travel now