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This is a wonderful place to visit, located right in the city centre. It has many beautiful buildings, numerous restaurants and cafes surrounding the square. For several days at the end of April the annual flower market transforms the square into a huge field of blossom and at Christmas it transforms into a fairytale grotto with a gigantic ferris wheel.
The Place du General de Gaulle, Lille
Place du General de Gaulle (Grand Place) - Lille mini guide
|Department:||North East France > Nord Pas de Calais > Nord >|
|Location:||Square in central Lille, surrounded by beautiful buildings|
|Address::||Place du Général de Gaulle, Lille, 59800. France|
|Switch board number:||+33 (0) 3 59 57 94 00|
By Métro: Rihour.
|Quick links to accommodation:||Accommodation near Place du General de Gaulle (Grand Place) - Lille - Hotels in Place du General de Gaulle (Grand Place) - Lille|
Named after the famed French military leader Charles de Gaulle, the square is located in the heart of Lille and is the ideal placed to begin exploring the city's old town. It is often used as a focal point for local celebrations and as well as a meeting place.
Here is a taste of some of the buildings around the Place du General de Gaulle (Grand Place):
La Vieille Bourse
La Vieille Bourse was built between 1652 and 1653 to house the stock exchange a home for tradesmen and financiers, who up until then usually met in the open air. It is one of the finest buildings in the city and comprises of 24 identical houses built around an arched courtyard. They form a quadrilateral and the peaceful atmosphere contrasts with the bustle of the surrounding streets.
Julien Destrez, the builder was a carpenter and sculptor this is reflected in the exquisite decoration. The sculpted Lions of Flanders can be seen standing guard over each entrance. Above the windows, the arched or triangular pediments are adorned with rotund cartouches, garlands of flowers and plump fruits in the Flemish Renaissance style. Much renovation has been carried out over the years and now the cloister is occupied by bookstalls and flower market.
The inner courtyard of the Vieille Bourse is open every afternoon from Tuesday to Sunday. It houses a second-hand book market and, sometimes, chess players. Tango evenings take place here on Sundays from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm from July to September.
The Grand Garde
Built by Thomas Joseph Gombert in 1717, it was the king of France’s ‘spy-hole’ in the centre of the recently annexed city. In fact it was used to house soldiers from the watch. It is of interest because it introduced a new style of classical architecture to a Flemish city built of brick and stone. The triangular pediment displays the sun of Louis XIV, and on either side, the coats of arms of France and Lille. Currently it is the headquarters of the Théâtre du Nord.
The monument was designed by the architect Charles Benvignat and was erected in 1845. The Goddess was sculptured by Théophile Bra, from Douai, who also created two bas-reliefs on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
The bronze goddess rises from the centre of the Grand Place, the column commemorates the siege of Lille by the Austrians in September 1792. Her right hand is holding a linstock which was used to light the fuses on cannons. Her left hand points to an inscription engraved on the base: the courageous response of the Mayor of Lille, André, refusing to surrender the besieged city. This victory was also saluted by the National Convention, proclaiming that “Lille had fully deserved its place in our country”.
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