Recently I visited with friends the French town of Lille, for a birthday weekend celebration.  It’s a beautiful town with a mixture of old and new architecture, culture, beautiful independent shops, markets, lovely cafes, and some great bars and restaurants.

First stop was La Piscine Museum in Roubaix.  What was once a swimming pool, is now a museum of art, ceramics and textiles.  The breathtaking swimming pool was constructed between 1927 and 1932 by the Lille architect Albert Baert. It closed in 1985, and re-opened as  museum in 2000. It’s beautifully done. Occasionally an audio clip of children’s voices and splashing was played to remind you of it’s previous incarnation.

P1100657

It’s no longer a pool, but a shallow water feature to allow the reflection of the fabulous end window to reflect on the water when the sun is behind it.

IMG_8376

On the ground floor underneath the balconies, you step into the original cream and green tiled shower cubicles which are still the entry way.

IMG_8385

There was a fabulous exhibition of the Marc Chagall’s work on display.

IMG_8401

The art deco period detailing was reflected in the exterior of the building too, the undulating edge of the flat roof, the window and door architraving and the iron work on the lamps – even the guttering.

IMG_8400

 

After leaving we popped into an eccentric art pop up shop, with a cafe, in an old warehouse type space. Below, a pixilated wood on chip board tribute to Footloose. Or something.

 

IMG_8415

Coffee could be taken in bed, but only in the upright position.

IMG_8413

A lovely old sink had been ruined repurposed as a mirror

IMG_8414

French gnomes. Just rude.

IMG_8478

Lille by night

IMG_8442

Our trip was not long after the Paris attack, I’m not sure if this building was lit up with the French flag as a tribute – or the building is always lit. Either way it was beautifully done.

IMG_8454

The lights look a little like they may have been hit by austerity cuts – or the weather, or both.

IMG_8466

IMG_8459

In the quiet backstreets the lights made the cobbles glow.

IMG_8457

Delicious mulled red or white wine and spiced warm apple juice.

IMG_8467

After our meal we childishly purchased our glasses at the Coq Hardi.

IMG_8423

The next day we headed to the markets, this giant Carmen Miranda head oversees the flea market in Wazemmes.

P1100689

Giants in skirts are the order of the day in the food hall.  No idea.

P1100682P1100679

There were long queues on this Sunday morning on the fish stall, the meat stall and the bakery, and the food was carefully inspected before purchase.

P1100678

Hence the try before you buy Pineapple.

P1100674

Less a mode of transport, more a mode of storage – I hope.

P1100675

You want lots of ham, cheese and onion?  You’re in the right place.

P1100667

Colourful walls contrasted with shady looking characters in the alleyway.

P1100673

My favourite part – the brocante, was limited, but we spotted some nice paper artefacts and some vintage Mossy amongst the vintage magazines.

P1100671P1100670

Scandal.

P1100669

A beautiful, traditional boulangerie was on the edge of the market.

P1100658

The fruit was so beautifully displayed.

P1100663

Don’t ask.

P1100709

Frenchie says Relax

 

P1100666

Nothing says I love you like….jam.

P1100696

 

Who hasn’t felt the need for a boyfriend (or girlfriend) pillow?

P1100617

This particular outfit was a bit low on the comfort factor for my liking

IMG_8488

 

Every place had onions – but this one was official.

P1100655

 

 

That’s it. I hope you enjoyed your tour of the beautiful, the charming and the outright wacky.

Thank you for reading, for your comments and kind words this year.  Wishing you and your family a very happy Christmas and 2016.

Advertisements