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The following article is about the city in France. See Lille (disambiguation) for other meanings.

Lille is a city in northern France on the Deûle River. It is the préfecture (capital) of the département of Nord, in the région of Nord-Pas-de-Calais. It lies near the border with Belgium; the city is called Rijsel in Dutch ,spoken across the border. The city of Lille absorbed Lomme on February 27, 2000. Their combined population at the 1999 census was 212,597 inhabitants. Population of the metropolitan area (in French: aire urbaine) at the 1999 census was 1,143,125.

Certain people, especially when gifted with a strong geo-political the 'voluntarism' extend the Lille metropolitan area with areas on Belgian territory (such as Mouscron, and even Kortrijk. The overall population of the Lille-Kortrijk metropolitan area was estimated in 2000 at around 1,700,000.

Table of contents
1 History
2 Economy
3 Public transport
4 Miscellaneous
5 External link


In 1312, the city of Lille was ceded to France but was subsequently subjected to Burgundian, Austrian, and Spanish rule. It was part of the Spanish Netherlands, until it was conquered by Louis XIV and incorporated into France in 1678.

The city's fortifications were upgraded by Sébastian Le Prestre de Vauban.

In the nineteenth century Lille became the centre of French industry due to the large nearby coal deposits. It thus became a central part of the country's rail network.


A major textile manufacturing center, Lille forms the heart of a larger conurbation, regrouping Lille, Roubaix and Tourcoing, which is France's 4th-largest urban conglomeration with a 1999 population of over 1.1 million.

Public transport

Lille is an important crossroads in the European TGV network: it lies on the Eurostar line to London and the Thalys network to Brussels, Amsterdam and Cologne. It has two train stations, which stand next door to each other. The Lille-Europe station (Gare Lille-Europe) and the Lille-Flanders station (Gare Lille-Flandre).

The VAL system (véhicule automatique léger = light automated vehicle) is a driverless metro. Line 2 is 32 km long with 43 stations, the first and longest automatic metro line in the world, opened May 16, 1983. Trains are only 26 m long (two linked cars) and are rubber-tired.


Lille has one of France's largest university student population with, depending on the information source, from 95,000 to 149,533 students in 2002-2003. The urban area is one of the biggest in France with more than 1 million inhabitants.

The Euralille urban development project, centred around the new TGV station has fostered a long debate among Lille's citizens. The project has finally been completed with modern architecture and disruption to the ancient city center.

Lille was elected European Capital of Culture in 2004.

Lille is part of the Lille Métropole Communauté urbaine (aka C.U.D.L).

Famous persons born in Lille

Twin cities

External link