Celestial Weasel (celestialweasel) wrote,
Celestial Weasel

Lille the pink, the pink, the pink

I had my trip to Lille by Eurostar on Tuesday (8:59 train from Didcot, back at about 11 p.m.). In fact I partook of less of the Lille public transport than I might have, I was going to play it by ear. In the event, I went on both metro lines and the trams but not enormously far on either, certainly not to the ends, not that this was necessarily the point.
The metro is essentially the same as airport people-movers the world over, with rubber wheels and completely driverless, no 'train captains' in the manner of the DLR and with doors on the platform that open at the same time as the train doors. The trains are surprisingly narrow, narrower than the Bakerloo line tube trains, for example.
It goes further than one would expect underground, obviously these things are never quite isomorphic but the furthest station I went to out of the city (to look at a railway station which the guide book said was worth looking at which was, indeed, light and airy) seemed almost as though, say, Oxford had a completely underground metro with underground stations in Abingdon and Didcot.
Lille Europe station, which is looking rather tired, is a short walk from Lille Flanders, the 'old' station, either along a bridge or through a rather bleak square with a statue of Francois Mitterand, possibly the ugliest statue I have ever seen. In the main square some sort of protest was going on entailing an enormous area spread with newspapers. These, of course, blew around, ending up to some extent round the legs of tables and chairs outside cafes and restaurants, with lots of very pissed off looking waiters.
Lille is much prettier than I was expecting, I suspect that lots of people know this as I have said it to people and got a sort of 'but everyone knows that' response. Not surprisingly, it is rather reminiscent of the classic pretty Flemish cities.
I went to see the modern art museum, LAM, which like all such museums has an irksome website http://www.musee-lam.fr/gb/ and the map to get there only a PDF as far as I can see. Fortunately, it has sponsored lots of 'how to get to LAM' things from the Lille Flanders metro station (metro and then bus 41). As well as modern art, smaller than the permanent collection of Tate Modern / MOMA in NY but more perfectly formed, it has a new wing devoted to Art Brut (outsider art) with some truly bizarre and disturbing stuff. I thought the family cleanskies / timscience would like it. Some space themed, of course, someone who made some (non-functioning obviously) rifles out of scrap material, and some weird paintings in the manner of childrens' books pages about children who look like little girls but have boys' genitalia (but who are referred to as 'Vivian Girls') involved in some strange cosmic war. Ah, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Darger
Could almost do with me uploading some photos, maybe it will happen. I didn't get to see all of the old town. I think Lille could easily deserve a weekend visit (not so sure about vegetarian / vegan food). Self catering perhaps?

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