As you may know I travelled to Lille for the weekend earlier in the month with iDBUS. iDBUS run a luxury coach travel service from London Victoria to several locations at competitive prices. We picked Lille as it was only 5 hours from London and neither Charlie nor I had visited before.
The best thing about iDBUS is that there is plug sockets and wifi on board so laptop in hand, off we went! I’m sure the signal isn’t really designed for laptop use and we found the connection very hit and miss in the UK but once we hit France, it was great! Going we had a plug and table each but coming back there was no plug. This was frustrating but luckily the coach was fairly quiet so we could have a plug each. The journey was smooth, comfortable and thoroughly enjoyable, I’d definitely consider travelling with them again especially considering they offer return journeys from as little as £23. It’s nice to see France as you drive through!
On arrival we had a quick wander and checked in at our hotel Balladins. I’d not heard of the chain before but we paid just £90 for 2 nights so it was an absolute bargain. It reminded me of our Ibis budget as it was very basic yet perfectly acceptable. The staff were wonderfully friendly giving us advice and tips on where to go.
Charlie spotted La Palais de la Biere so we stopped in for a quick refuel before much needed sleep ahead of a day of sight seeing.
The local meat platter was a delight and, accompanied with warm bread and cold butter, really hit the spot before we nodded off to sleep.
A short stroll from our hotel saw us at the Wazemmes Market that was the only place bustling on a cold Sunday morning. A flea market on the outside and a food market on the inside, this place was a shrine of goodies and I was quick to pick up some local cheese. We also visited Aux Merveilleux who had a queue out of the door for their beautifully light meringues.
Hoping to soak in some local culture we popped into Le Palais Des Beaux Artes housed in a beautifully ornate building. The place is vast and we didn’t see nearly half of what it had to offer but I loved how these two statues look like they are squaring up to each other across the corridor.
Lunch was calling so we stopped at Aux Bretons where I ordered a goat’s cheese salad. True to French form it arrived on toast atop some leaves with roasted apples. The dish was divine and just perfect washed down with some local wine.
Lille is full of beautiful buildings and I loved this church next to an ornate apartment building.
The Opera de Lille was no less spectacular and by this point we were seriously flagging from touring so many beautiful places! A quick nap and we popped back out to Grand Place for some dinner.
Brasserie Flore on Grand Place was our location and their moules frites was incredible. A very light cream sauce coated the mussels with carrot and celery for some added crunch. The fries could have been a little crisper but I hardly touched them anyway, there were so many mussels to get through!
Now I was full, I promise I was, but my ‘dessert tummy’ was crying out for an authentic crème brulee and I am so glad I ordered it. The custard was looser than any I’ve had in the UK but it worked so well. The topping with the delightful crunch when cracking through the burnt sugar, something we get so wrong so often. Just gorgeous.
Not being a beer fan I decided it was time to take the plunge and tried a beer flight at 3 Brasseurs. As predicted I didn’t like them all but, surprisingly, I preferred the darker of the beers. I expected to like the lighter varieties so I was pleased to add something else to my drink list!
For our last day we went for a bit of a shop on Grand Place hitting my favourite place in the world, Sephora before Carrefour for wine and Hema for pretty stationery.
I should have apologised to the other passengers of iDBUS on the way home as I tucked into my Wazemmes Market goodies of soft cheese with figs and cheese bread. I’m not sorry really, it was the perfect company when travelling home working on my laptop and listening to music streamed through the wifi. The perfect end to a perfect trip.
Travel and accommodation provided courtesy of iDBUS. Everything else paid for in full.