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The Ultimate Six Nations Rugby Weekend In Lille

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2 months ago

France is taking on Italy on its home turf in Lille in France, just an hour outside of Paris and right next to the border with Belgium.

From the best pubs to soak in the Six Nations action to the essential sites and foods of Lille to before the match kicks off on Sunday, we’ve got you sorted for everything you need to know to make sure you have a memorable Six Nations Rugby weekend in Lille.

We’ve also created an exclusive tour of Lille’s best microbreweries for Six Nations fans. It’s a must-do while you’re in town.

(Source: Lille Tourism)

Match information: France vs Italy

Kick-off is at 3 pm GMT (4 pm local time) on Sunday, 25 February 2024 at Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille. The match will end at approximately 4:40 pm local time.

(Credit: Theo McInnes. Used with permission.)

How to get to Lille

By train from London

Getting from London to Lille is surprisingly easy, with a 1.5-hour Eurostar train from St. Pancras International in King’s Cross directly to Lille.

Make sure you book your train well in advance on Trainline for the cheapest price.

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You could easily go to Lille just for the day on Sunday (it’s even closer than going to Edinburgh for the Scotland vs England game on Saturday, 24 February), but we recommend that you take the weekend and soak up all of Lille’s cool microbreweries, indie shops and remarkable galleries.

Terraced houses in London with plants

By plane

If you’re planning to fly to Lille, Lille’s airport has very few flights so your best option is to fly to Charles de Gaulle (CDG) in Paris and then take the one-hour train directly from the airport to Lille.

You can also book a transfer from major airports in advance so you’re not stuck.

You can still get last-minute deals on Skyscanner!

By train from Paris

There is an easy one-hour train directly from Paris’s Gare du Nord train station directly to Lille. It’s also quite a scenic journey through the French countryside so it’s a great way to get from Paris to Lille for the game.

You’ll want to make sure you book your TGV train ticket in advance on Trainline because that weekend will be sure to sell out well in advance.

Where to stay in Lille for the Six Nations Rugby

Old Lille is not only architecturally beautiful, it’s also well connected to the Stadium with direct trains on Metro Line 1 to the Stadium. We would recommend Grand Hotel Bellevue, Hotel Carlton, Mercure Lille Centre Grand Place, La Valiz and, if you’re looking for a great five-star experience at an excellent price, your best option is Clarance Hotel.

Fans watching Six Nations match in 2024
(Credit: Theo McInnes. Used with permission.)

If you want to stay around the pubs we’ve suggested below (all of which aren’t in Old Lille), your best option is the Holiday Inn Express. It’s an IHG hotel so you know you’ll have a good experience.

Near the Stadium

There is a Park Inn by Radisson located in the Stadium itself, and another option if you want to stay closer to the Stadium is the Ibis. There is plenty to do in Lille (and much nicer hotels) so we don’t recommend that you stay in or near the Stadium.

How to get to Stade Pierre Mauroy

By metro

Despite what the website of Stade Pierre Mauroy suggests, the best way to get to Stade Pierre Mauroy is to take Metro Line 1 and alight at Villeneuve d’Ascq – Hotel de Ville (not Cité Scientifique nor 4 Cantons). If you’re staying at any of the hotels that we suggested, you will want to take Metro Line 1 from Rihour Station in the direction of Lille Chu-Eurasante.

Cafe Society exterior in Lille
(Source: Lille Tourism)

By car

You can hail a taxi to take you directly to the Stadium though it will be more or less the same amount of time as taking the Metro (expect about 30 minutes from Old Lille).

Best pubs to watch the other Six Nations games

On the Saturday before the France vs Italy game, Ireland will take on Wales at 2:15 pm GMT (3:15 pm in Lille) in Dublin and immediately after Scotland will take on England at 4:45 pm GMT (5:45 pm in Lille) at in Edinburgh.

Man watching the Six Nations in a pub
(Credit: Theo McInnes. Used with permission.)

Below, we’ve rounded up the best pubs to soak in all of the Six Nations action in Lille, whether for pre-match drinks before France vs Italy on Sunday, or the best places to watch the other Six Nations games happening in Round Three the day before.

Map of Six Nations Pubs

See below for a map of all of the pubs screening the Six Nations pub this year in all of the host cities:

Grand Scène

Okay, this isn’t a pub. But they will be screening every Six Nations match on their huge projector screen. You might not expect one of the best places to watch the Six Nations is at Grand Scène which is an incredible street food market right in the heart of Lille.

You also might not expect that Lille, as a champion of high regional cuisine, has such an amazing street food scene. You’ll find everything from tacos to (proper) burgers from at least ten kitchens, all of which source their produce locally.

The Queen Victoria

This is the pub to watch the Six Nations in Lille. It boasts five huge screens in a big space, and their own catalogue of beers (with an explanation for each of them). You’ll find snacks like nachos and crepes but not much more than that.

This is a common haunt of England supporters but you’ll find French supporters side by side with them at The Queen Victoria.

Temple’s Bar

Temple’s Bar has three big screens that will all be playing the Six Nations on the weekend that you’re there so you can watch all of the action of the Saturday games as well. They’re known for very budget-friendly beers and amazing service. This one is often crowded, so make sure you get there in advance of the game(s) that you want to watch!

O’Scotland

O’Scotland carries with it the old-school feeling of a Scottish pub from decades ago. They will be screening the Six Nations on a few TVs, and there is plenty of taps to choose from. It’s also known for getting quite lively later at night.

Pepere Bar (Saturday only)

This is an excellent pub in the heart of Lille’s city centre that is known for its friendly atmosphere and very heated dart-throwing competitions. This is a great place to watch the games on Saturday.

Tir Na Nog (Saturday only)

Tir Na Nog likes to put on a show for Six Nations fans. There’s usually just two screens but they will put up another four for the Six Nations matches. You’ll find a very authentic Irish bar atmosphere with Guinness and Magners. It’s also a very spacious pub so you’ll usually be able to find a seat.

If you’re going to eat at Tir Na Nog (though we’d recommend a number of other restaurants), we suggest the pulled pork burger.

Le Bar Parallèle (Saturday only)

Le Bar Parallèle will have one screen showing the Six Nations games. They have an amazing selection of falafel and schnitzel if you’re looking for a quick bite. This is a favourite among locals so you can expect to see a lot of France supporters.

Best food and markets in Lille

Lille is famous for its boutiques and markets which are the perfect places to find everything from farmhouse cheeses to antiques. You’ll have plenty of time to enjoy Lille before the game on Sunday, make the most of it with these restaurants.

Wazemmes Market

We would go so far as to say that no trip to Lille is complete without a stop to Wazemmes Market because of the beautiful presentation and range of local delicacies like mimolette cheese, regional sausages (some with very peculiar tastes) and smoked garlics.

Merchant at the Wazemmes Market in Lille
(Source: Lille Tourism)

While you’re in Lille for the Six Nations, we recommend you go on Sunday morning before midday because the market spills out onto the square and the neighbouring streets. Expect live music, vintage stalls and a huge amount of very tempting street food.

Must-try dish: Le Welsh

This is considered the most famous dish in Lille alongside Carbonnade Flamande (Flemish beef stew) (and, of course, Belgian fries with everything). Le Welsh isn’t just a Welsh rarebit; it’s a supercharged version that is made with a shocking(ly good) amount of melted cheese, beer-soaked bread and ham (and usually an egg). You’ll be able to try it in some of the pubs listed above and at Grand Scène and Wazemmes Market.

Bloempot

This is innovative Flemish cuisine at its finest with seasonal tasting menus and a la carte menus. €60 goes a long way here. The staff will take their time to explain every dish that is served to you. The design of the restaurant is industrial chic so it makes a point of not feeling exclusive or pretentious.

It’s just pure good food here without all the faff. Make sure you leave about 2-3 hours for the full meal experience.

Restaurant Sébastopol

It’s almost impossible for us to suggest dishes at Restaurant Sébastopol because the menu changes every week. What we can guarantee, though, is that the food is absolutely exceptional. The food is creative, tasty and extremely well-priced. It’s not easy to find a gastronomic experience this good without the price tag, but Restaurant Sébastopol manages to achieve it.

This is also an excellent restaurant for a big group if you book well enough in advance. And let yourself try some of their innovative dishes that you won’t find anywhere else.

Ripaille

This is the best combination of great food and exceptional prices. Ripaille boasts a very budget-friendly selection and is right in the centre of Lille’s gourmet hotspot, Rue des Bouchers. The atmosphere that they have created is perfect to enjoy your three-course set menu and thoughtfully curated wine pairing.

We don’t know of anyone who has walked out of Ripaille with anything less than an amazing experience, and if there are such people, they’re wrong. It won’t be long before Ripaille finds its way into the list of best restaurants in France.

Sweet treat: Aux Merveilleux de Fred

You may have tried these in New York; the bite-sized garnished meringues at Aux Merveilleux de Fred are very much a local favourite in Lille. It’s amazing to watch the chefs working on their pride and joy in the patisserie. Take a moment to enjoy the dessert within the plush interiors of the patisserie in Old Lille.

The best things to do in Lille before the game

Lille is a pleasantly walkable city so you should take advantage of the weekend to explore all of what Lille has to offer. We’ve rounded up the best of those experiences here.

Exclusive: Microbreweries tour of Lille for Six Nations fans

We’ve called upon our local experts to create an exclusive microbreweries tour of Lille for Six Nations fans. This one is simply unmissable while you’re in town for the Six Nations.

1. See the treasures of the magnificent Palais de Beaux-Arts

With its incredible Belle Époque style, the grand Palais de Beaux-Arts is second only to the Louvre in its collection of fine arts. Prepare to see a showcase of real treasures, much of them seized or looted by Napoleon’s armies. The painting of London’s Houses of Parliament by Claude Monet is absolutely stunning and unmissable.

2. Once an atheist temple, visit the Saint Maurice Church

Saint Maurice Church was built over four centuries and creates a beautiful symbol right in the heart of Old Lille. The interior is almost barn-like which is typical of the Flanders region. By far and away the most interesting part of the Church is that, during the revolution, it was converted into an atheist “Temple of Reason” which had its own statute of liberty.

Inside of Saint Maurice Church in Lille
(Source: Lille Tourism)

3. Take a private tour in an old convertible Citroen with champagne

Lille is the perfect little town for a private tour in a convertible. The weather in late February is still a little bit cold, but definitely not so cold that you can’t brave a convertible. The guides are informative and friendly and will give a first-class tour of the history and sights of Lille. And why not do it while drinking a glass of champagne in the most French way possible?

If you’d rather swap the champagne for a taste of Lille’s incredible local products, we’ve got a tour for you that you will absolutely love (and we wish was in every city):

4. Take a stroll through the unmissable Grand Place

You can’t really not see the Grand Place. It’s mostly pedestrianised and is right in the centre which makes this a very convenient place to explore Lille. There are a huge number of café terraces and hip coffee shops to accompany the beautiful architecture. Make sure to look out for the Goddess statute which overlooks a beautiful fountain.

5. Visit the modernist Villa Cavrois

This one is surprisingly better than you’d think. Leave a couple of hours on Saturday morning to experience the masterful skill that went into restoring this architectural gem. We won’t be surprised if you walk out of Villa Cavrois and consider this to be one of the highlights of your weekend in Lille (second only to the Six Nations, of course).

Villa Cavrois is about 30 minutes outside of Lille’s city centre on a tram (it’s just €1.80) so make sure you leave a bit of time to get there.

6. Take a guided walking tour

Similar to its Flemish cousin cities in Belgium, Bruges and Ghent, Lille is best enjoyed on foot. You can easily spend a few hours walking between Lille’s distinctive red-brick buildings, fascinating museum and awe-inspiring monuments. And you’ll work up an appetite to enjoy the uniquely French-Flemish food of the region.

Europe loves a Segway, so if you’d prefer a pair of wheels to move for you, make sure you book a Segway tour of Lille. These book out well in advance so make sure you get this booked before you go!

7. Visit an old stock exchange turned book market

It’s always nice to see old buildings repurposed for a new era. La Vielle Bourse (which translates to The Old Stock Exchange) is an ode to Lille’s past glory as a trading hub. La Vielle Bourse is not the stock exchange that you’d expect: it’s comprised of 24 merchant houses built in the same style which surround an inner courtyard.

Nowadays, the old stock exchange is a second-hand book market. You’ll find tons of comic books and old newspapers in French and English (and even in Ch’ti, the local dialect which can sound quite different to French). There were also a number of stalls selling vintage posters which make for a great souvenir to remember you time in Lille.

Lille by night

All of the pubs that we’ve listed above are open well into the evening (until 2 am) on Friday and Saturday nights. But if you’re looking for a big night out, aside from Le Georges V, the best nightclubs in town are Le Baron for techno music (that goes very much into the morning) with local and international acts, and Nox for a very local experience that is soulful and more about the music than anything else.

Lille for young families

Lille being as walkable as it is, it’s a great place to ask the family to accompany you to watch the Six Nations. The Palais de Beaux-Arts is free for kids under 12, and they have made a point of creating games and information aimed at younger kids. There is also one of Europe’s best zoos in Lille which is only a 20-minute walk from Old Lille.


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