Travel to Lille without flying.
There are three different ways to get to Lille in northern France which don’t involve going anywhere near an airport:
- The direct Eurostar train between London and Lille – which takes just 1 hr 22 mins (if you are arriving in London from other parts of the UK and need to travel across London first, see the Getting To London St.Pancras International From Other Major London Railway Stations article);
- UK train to Dover (1 hr 50 mins); then DFDS, Irish Ferries or P&O Ferries ferry from Dover to Calais (1 hr 40 mins); then French train from Calais to Lille (a direct TGV takes less than 30 mins. However, the TGV leaves from Calais-Fréthun station though, which is outside of central Calais – slower trains which leave from the more central Calais-Ville station may involve a change, and take almost 2 hrs); so including waiting times when you change, the entire London to Lille journey could take 6-8 hours;
- A FlixBus coach from London to Lille (6-9 hours). This is NOT an accessible option though (yes, some coaches are accessible, but until long-distance coaches have accessible toilets too, they’re to be avoided. 9 hours is a long time to cross your legs).
Public Transport in Lille.
Lille is such a small, flat, city, that walking is all that’s really needed. Maybe a taxi now and again (Centrale Taxi Lille – +33  6 20 53 40 02).
Alternatively, you can get around Lille on a cycle rickshaw (Happymoov: +33  6 24 16 08 18). Available: 8am-8pm (Mon-Fri); 11am-7pm on Saturdays; not available on Sundays. They carry two passengers, and can collect you from/drop you back at your Lille hotel. Cost is around €7 per 10 mins (or 5€/km for shorter trips) – and you’re looking at a 30-40 minute trip to travel around central Lille, so the cost should be around €20-30. [NOT an accessible option though I’m afraid].
Lille Hotels / Lille Hostels / Lille Apartments
OKKO Hotels Lille Centre
Wonderfully located between the Grand-Place and the Palais des Beaux Arts in the centre of Lille
Accessible Rooms Also Available
ibis Lille Centre Grand Palais
Lille City Centre
Less than 300 metres from Mairie de Lille Metro Station in central Lille, and just 450 metres from Lille Flandres Train Station (and just 750m from Lille Europe Train Station)
Accessible Rooms Also Available
Apartments & Hostel
CALM Appart' & Hostel
Lille City Centre
Just 100 metres from Gare Lille Flandres Metro Station in central Lille
Shared Dorms & Private Apartments Available
Accessible Lille Hotels, Hostels & Apartments:
Finding a truly accessible hotel, hostel or apartment anywhere can be a bit of a nightmare.
But the accessibility filters on the Booking.com Lille Hotel search (simply scroll down on the left), make it much easier.
There’s a wee trick though:
By default, the filters are a bit limited. So, ignore the filters initially, simply enter your desired dates, and make an initial search. You will then be presented with ALL properties that are available on your desired dates – and much more detailed filters (on the left – keep scrolling down until you see the “Property accessibility” and “Room accessibility” filters). NOW, filter the results as required. As I need step-free access & a roll-in shower as a minimum, I select BOTH of the “Wheelchair accessible” Property and “Roll-in shower” Room filters.
IMPORTANT: Always specify that you MUST have an accessible room, in the “Comments” during the hotel booking process.
DIY Walking Tour of Lille.
This walking tour of Lille takes in most of the attractions of central Lille that you’ll want to visit. It also takes you to the leafy Citadelle de Lille (and to the nearby Lille Zoo).
And because it’s a DIY walking tour of Lille, you can take it at your very own pace; stopping for a coffee/snack/drink where, when, and for as long as you like; and lingering at the attractions of Lille which interest you (and speeding past those that don’t).
This DIY Walking Tour of Lille is less than 4km long (less than 2.5 miles) in one direction, including a walking circuit of the Citadelle de Lille. If walking back too, the return journey will be a bit shorter/quicker then. Allowing for stops to eat/drink along the way, and maybe time to visit Lille Zoo (or simply sit by the canal near there – this part of Lille is idyllic), then I would allow for a whole day to do the trip in both directions:
This DIY Walking Route of Lille is completely accessible/step-free.
Most crossings are light-controlled – but in ALL cases they have dropped kerbs on both sides.
What may be an issue with this DIY Walking Tour of Lille though, is the pavement/path surface (and the same goes for most of this area of Europe – especially in Belgium):
Most of the main roads in Lille are now covered with asphalt. However, there is a tendancy to use miniature blocks on the pavements too now. Not inaccessible in the least – but the rumble can get a bit tiring after a while.
The other issue to notice, is the path surrounding the Citadelle de Lille. This is made of compacted earth. And under normal conditions it is easily accessible. However, after rain some areas become muddy puddles. Making the path totally inaccessible. So you should only attempt this path around the Citadelle de Lille when the weather’s good/has been dry.