Lille, called the "Capital of Flanders" is a commune in the north of France with more than 229,000 inhabitants. It is part of a conurbation of nearly two million inhabitants, bringing together the cities of Mouscron, Kortrijk, Tournai and Menin, known as the "European Grouping of Territorial Cooperation".
The Lille people live in a city that is at the heart of European exchanges. Its geographical location between France, Belgium, Germany and England as well as the quality of its railway infrastructure (TGV Lille-Europe, Thalys) and roads make it a natural crossroads of very large scale. It is a true metropolis which also enjoys an international airport and river connections thanks to the North Sea.
At its origins, Lille was a large and rich drapery city. This very lucrative activity was developed by the Counts of Flanders. The following centuries gave Lille an agitated history: it passed from the domination of the Kings of France to the Dukes of Burgundy before becoming Spanish at the death of Charles the Bold and even being besieged for a few days by the Austrians. It was Louis XIV who instructed Vauban to recover it to make it "the queen of the citadels".
Weaving, draping, flax and cotton industries are the foundations of the Lille industry since the 18th century. From that time, heavy industry took over with the mechanical constructions and the chemical industry, which made Lille a 35% working-class town in the 19th century. Large companies specializing in services have also taken up residence in Lille. Food industry, textile and automotive suppliers are also located there. The city is also the location of international fairs.
Lille and its associated municipalities, Hellemmes and Lomme, constitute the largest city in the North of France. The heart of an urban agglomeration of 87 municipalities, Lille with its Belgian neighbors make up a cross-border metropolis of 1.9 million inhabitants located in the center of the Euro-region. This privileged geographical situation, enhanced by a very dense transport network, makes Lille a true gateway to Europe. And it is the whole of Europe that is attracted by Lille, its quality of life, its economic dynamism, its cultural vitality, its festive energy.
More and more tourists come to discover it, contribute today to its fame. With 14,000 new inhabitants since the last census in 1999, Lille enjoys a demographic dynamism which ranks it second among the strongest advances in France. After Vieux-Lille, which has recovered all its colors, Euralille, its center of business and commerce, it is today all the ten districts of the city that is the subject of a development project Designed with its inhabitants to improve the quality of the city.
Major cultural facilities, new squares, new parks, new neighborhood services, new housing estates, all these projects have the same ambition: to build a pleasant living environment offering the right to the city for all.