Looking for culture in Lille? You won't be disappointed - the city boasts an impressive cultural heritage. Just behind the hotel, Notre-Dame de la Treille cathedral is a must-see. Started in 1856 and finished in 1999, the cathedral is a majestic edifice which bears witness to developments in building techniques: initially traditional, using stone, and then more modern, with steel and concrete, and finally very modern with stone panels fixed to a metallic structure. Its façade, inaugurated in 1999, is astonishing with its separate vault covered in white marble and decorated with a stunning circular stained glass window.
Other major religious monuments to visit include Saint-Maurice, a gothic and neo-gothic church, typical of Flemish architecture, Saint-André church with its luminous baroque nave, the Gantois Hospice, now a luxury hotel, and the Comtesse Hospice whose museum, right by the hotel, displays a collection of objects typical of 17th century Flemish houses.
Don't miss the Palais des Beaux-Arts - its holds one of the most impressive collections of any French museum. Inside a superb 19th century building, the museum displays exceptional artworks by Rubens, Goya, Delacroix, David, and Courbet, as well as drawings by Raphael and old models for fifteen fortified towns by Vauban.
Then head to the house where Charles de Gaulle was born, the natural history and geology museum, or the sedentary gunners museum which displays famous old weapons and two famous canons by Gribeauval. Also discover, a few minutes from the hotel, the citadel which Vauban himself described as the "queen of citadels". Listed as a historic monument, the citadel was built between 1668 and 1673, and required 60 million bricks and 3 million blocks of stone. The well-preserved buildings make up a harmonious whole, mid-way between the typical architecture of Lille (red bricks) and classical architecture, with the superb Royal Gate. After all these visits, treat yourself to a great night out in one of the city's many cinemas or in one of its theatres or concert halls: the opera, the national orchestra of Lille, Zénith Aréna, Aéronef…