Folkestone-Calais-Lille and back again

Lille Travel Blog

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Main sq

If you ever have a spare weekend twiddling your thumbs trying to decide what to do, why not try travelling to France using the Eurotunnel.  If you book early you can actually get a return ticket for £49.  Don't forget that this is for a car full of people, you could easily travel on a budget with four other people.  The journey from the house was smooth enough only 1 hr and 1/2 on the motorway.  The tunnel is clearly sign posted on exit 11a on the M20.  We hadn't pre booked so we ended up paying £98 on the door.  They allow you to travel 2 hrs either side of your reservation free of charge, which gives you a little flexibility on time.

Theatre
  Do check the latest road rules for France before you go, as I learnt that you need to have a high visability jacket for you and your passenger, a hazard warning triangle and reflective light sticker things.  We grabbed a map while we were there as we didn't have time to download the latest version of european tom tom. 

We made our way to the tunnel, we queued, we boarded and we arrived in France 30 mins later.  Quick and painless.  The message from the tanoy was "Welcome to France.  We hope you have enjoyed your journey with us.  We hope to see you soon. Please remember to drive on the right.  Everyone raced off the train in a blind hurry and joins the motorway without even blinking.  It does feel weird at first as it seems like we are on the wrong side.  You quickly get used to over taking from the left and drivers give each other a fairly good distance from each other.
Clock tower
  We follows the signs for Lille and pass some spectacular scenery on the way.  With rich autumn trees hanging over the roads and fresh green grass all around us. 

The driving part wasn't too stressful apart from not knowing what speed I was travelling at.  In the Toyota Yaris the speedometer is a digi box so you can only see miles or km but not both at the same time.  Instead I just had to rely on my senses and the feel and sound of the engine. 

Before you know it, an hour or so later we arrive in Lille.  We came off the motorway and almost straight into town.  We had a map so we kinda had an idea of where we were and where we wanted to be.  We followed behind another car, feeling a little nervous about hitting town traffic.
Scary mutant baby
  A few times I did forget where I was a freaked out about the side of the road I was on.  Luckily most of the roads have arrows painted on the floor to help you decipher direction.  We followed some signs to office du tourisme, well aware that we did need a hotel to stay in overnight.  We followed some local traffic and came also into the main sq.  We pulled into a parking spot so we could have a breather and decide our next plan of action.  Just as we looked up we spotted the Best western, hotel Bellevue.  We didn't argue we decided to stay here. 

We parked up in the underground car park in the main sq.  17 Euro for 24 hrs.  At least we knew the car would be safe here.  We checked into a premier view room over looking the main sq.  The fountain was directly outside our window.
Church
  The room was clean and pretty standard.  We were still on a real buzz.  We decided to head into town to roam around and explore.  We discover that Lille is a really small place really.  We take a look at some of the shops, saw a couple of churches and made our way out of the old town quarter and then back in again.  We decided we were too hungry to think straight.  My mind is set on FOOD! 

We found ourselves in a place with mussels and rabbit on the menu, turned out to be more of a bar than a restaurant.  We had a quick drink and then jumped into the next steak restaurant that we saw.  Delusional with hunger we ordered a couple of starters, our hefty steaks and also a dessert!.  After our bellies were full we needed to sleep it off.

Sunday morning, we were a little disappointed that the shops weren't open.
In the tunnel
  We searched high and low for postcards and stamps so that I could satisfy my obsession.  Instead we stumbled upon a sunday market and a quaint little street full of cafes and a very busy bakery.  A side road stacked with stalls selling silver and beaded hand made jewellery.  We grabbed three boxes of strawberries, a baguette, a huge brioche and a little cupcake.  Everyone had the same idea as the queue was huge and inside was manic.  We continued our journey back round until we reached the main sq again. 

Journey home.
Lille to Calais was straightforward.  The train was experiencing some difficulties and so we were delayed and hour and 1/2 in the tunnel.  I took a nap to avoid getting annoyed about the delay.  When we did finally move off we had to travel slowly so it took 50 mins instead of the usual 30 mins.  Back to Folkestone and then back to London in a hurry!

Tips;
- Book early to get the best deal on Eurotunnel
- Don't leave the postcards till the last minute
- Bring snacks and entertainment for the car journey
- Don't forget your camera
- Check French road rules to avoid breaking the law and receiving a fine.



hoangn says:
you can still get the ferry from Dover to Calais but it does take over 2 hrs. The tunnel is better only when there is no delays and on the up side no sea sickness for anyone that suffers from it!
Posted on: Mar 30, 2010
magnificent says:
I read your blog and find it well put. I like the way you laid it out. When I was in England no Eurotunnel yet, took the hoover craft....does that still operate?
Posted on: Mar 26, 2010
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Main sq
Main sq
Theatre
Theatre
Clock tower
Clock tower
Scary mutant baby
Scary mutant baby
Church
Church
In the tunnel
In the tunnel
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photo by: lamadude