Lille and its neighbour Roubaix have been reinvented as cultural hubs. Curator Didier Fusillier and local artist Fanny Bouyagui pick their highlights
Smack in the middle of Lille’s main square, La Vieille Bourse is its former stock exchange, probably the most beautiful building in the city, dating from 1652. Walk into the open courtyard to discover book stalls, chess players, street musicians and, on summer Sunday evenings, tango dancing. There are eight permanent bouquinistes, booksellers who since 1982 display thousands of rare tomes, cinema posters, prints and maps, plus bandes déssinées, comics from vintage English-language Marvel and DC to Tintin and Mickey Mouse. We may be in the age of Kindle but in Lille, print culture is alive and well. Afterwards, enjoy a chocolat chaud and signature gaufre pastry at Meert’s 17th-century tearoom and pâtisserie.