8 must see parks in Lille

Published by: BouncePosted

Lille is one of Northern France’s hidden gems. Due to its location just ten miles from the Belgian border, you’ll notice a blend of Flemish and French influences in its architecture, cuisine, and culture. If you’re one of those who have finally discovered this underrated metropolis, you’re in for a treat.

This French city has many unmissable sights, from the renowned LaM Contemporary Art Museum to the legendary Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille. But if you want to escape the concrete jungle, the gardens and parks in Lille offer a chance to reconnect with nature and recharge your inner battery.

This guide covers some of the notable green areas in Lille, from a small urban oasis in the middle of the town to vast greeneries to stroll, run, and exercise. Whether you’re a local looking for a new place to unwind or a tourist on a shopping break, stop by a park in Lille and get your much-needed rest. And if you find an activity you want to participate in or want to explore the park hands-free, take advantage of our Lille luggage storage service for a safe place to store your belongings.

Parc de la Citadelle

Discover the varied flora and fauna, visit the zoo, or explore the tranquil waters on a boat in the largest green space and most prominent park in Lille. With over seventy hectares of vast expanse, Parc de la Citadelle has many fun activities for the whole family. It’s located near the city center, so nature doesn’t have to be too far away.

Parc de la Citadelle has different areas; each offers something new to visitors. The small zoo is a common favorite, especially for families with children. It houses 400 animals representing a hundred species, including panthers, rare birds, monkeys, and zebras. Those interested in history and architecture shouldn’t skip Lille’s Citadel, constructed between 1667 and 1670. It’s also called the “Queen of the Citadels,” which stood on the border with Flanders.

If you want to stay active, jog, run, or stroll through the trails. But among the park’s unique offerings, the treetop courses stand out. It’s perfect for the family, with courses for young and old. The children’s courses are suitable for around five to six years old. If you’re taller than 1.4 meters, you should tackle the adult courses and view the park from above. The treetop courses are only open from April to November.

Need a break from all the activities or water sports at Parc de la Citadelle? Chill on the banks of Canal de la Deûle, pick a spot under a tree with a book, or spread your picnic blanket on the vast open space.

Parc Jean Baptiste Lebas

Three hectares of nature await you at Parc Jean Baptiste Lebas. Situated in the heart of the city, Parc Jean Baptiste Lebas is a beautiful park in Lille with squares and paths that offer walkers varied settings and viewpoints, a vast lawn with flowerbeds, bowling greens, a children’s playground, biking paths, and walking trails. There are also plenty of shaded areas and benches for a break from sightseeing, shopping, or strolling.

Parc Jean Baptiste Lebas is one of the best places to take your family and children for free. You can let your kids run around and enjoy games that keep them busy and occupied for hours. It has many places to gather with friends, washrooms, a water fountain, and a grass field to sunbathe. You’ll also encounter painters, sketchers, and photographers capturing the park’s beauty.

Its central location, accessibility, and proximity to several major tourist spots and landmarks, such as Hôtel de ville de Lille and Musee d'Histoire Naturelle, are other reasons behind its popularity. It's also near the train station, office buildings, and a convention center, making it an ideal stop for employees and locals.

Jardin Vauban

If you want to see more greenery and water features, go to Jardin Vauban, an urban sanctuary that provides a romantic setting and a serene place in Lille. It’s right next to Citedelle de Lille, so why not combine your trip to these gorgeous city spots?

Those familiar with the English garden style will immediately notice its classic elegance. It features enormous and diverse trees, winding paths through massifs, basins where you can feed swans and ducks, an artificial cave, and monuments that pay homage to prominent people from the city. Built in 1863, the Jardin Vauban is now a historic monument full of unmissable points of interest and hidden gems. On a sunny day, you’ll see musicians, joggers, and people from all walks of life.

The garden used to have a small farm cottage or a goat house. Standing on its former site is a marionette theater to delight children and old. You and your kids can watch a fascinating performance for a small fee. If you’re done strolling and want to see the garden in a new way, rent a license-free electric boat and discover Jardin Vauban from the water. You’ll love the peaceful charm of the Deûle River, which is steeped in history. It’s also close to trendy restaurants and an amusement park.

Parc des Géants

Parc des Géants, or the Garden of the Giants, is a two-acre park in the middle of a dense urban environment surrounded by lush greenery. It’s one of the city’s most creative gardens, with pathways ideal for morning and evening walks. Visitors can enter from multiple entrances leading to the gardens, where they’ll discover ponds, wildlife water features, plenty of seating, bamboo, wildflowers, and other trees and plants.

What makes Parc des Géants unique is the presence of giant wicker heads with metal structures covered in vegetation. They represent the processional Giants tradition in Belgium and Northern France. The Giants have been the symbols of the cities, depicting historical figures, imaginary heroes, and even animals.

From a former aerial car park site, Parc des Géants is now a nature space with 45,000 plants of 300 species. It has three distinct sections: the Parvis des Nuages, the Jardin des Sources, and the Herbe des Géants. Each offers a different atmosphere and plant diversity. You can stroll in the middle of the aquatic features and enjoy a moment of peace and tranquility. The large esplanade and open spaces also often host shows and events.

Parc Henri Matisse

The more contemporary Henri Matisse Park is one of the newest parks in Lille, established in the late 20th century. This metropolitan green space covers an area of eight hectares in the modern Lille-Centre district. It’s easily accessible and is a wonderful spot for a night stroll, an afternoon picnic, and a fun game of sport all day. Its name comes from the famed French visual artist Henri Matisse.

Invite your friends and loved ones to the great bowling green to play, exercise, rest, or picnic. Dogs are allowed here, but you must keep them on a leash. At the center of the park lies an interesting yet inaccessible island called Isle of Derborence and a seven-meter fountain. There’s also a path for walking and workout facilities.

Henri Matisse Park is a short walk from the Lille Europe train station, a high-speed train hub in Northern France that will connect you directly to numerous French cities and regions, like Lyon, Brittany, Avignon, and Marseille. It’s also near Lille-Flandres, the city’s central railway station. So drop off your bags in a Bounce storage facility near Matisse Park and stop by before or after your train trip.

Parc des Dondaines

The Dondaines Park in Lille is not your typical city park. It’s an Agri-urban hub that hosts a pedagogical farm to bring together nature, rural life, and the city’s modern features. It is strategically located between the new and old Lille, linking two distinct sides of this French city.

The park seeks to promote biodiversity in a highly urbanized area by preserving vagrant plants and providing small animals with food and habitat. It’s a leisure and adventure area for children and adults, with hut competitions and games organized there. Like most parks in Lille, it has pleasant walking paths, a play area, and an open green space for summer picnics. It’s usually quiet during the day but can be pretty busy on the weekends with more people chilling and meeting together.

But what sets Parc des Dondaines apart are its exciting rides. As a full-fledged amusement park, expect to find a carousel, rollercoasters, swings, and slides. Nothing is super scary, so everyone can have a fun time at the park and its rides.

Parc du Héron

Anyone who loves nature, walking, running, cycling, or birdwatching should definitely visit Parc du Héron. It’s one of the best natural parks in Lille that will immerse you in nature. It features a scenic lake that adds to the tranquil atmosphere. It boasts 110 hectares of water area and green space, including a large lake called Lac du Héron.

If you’re around the lovely town of Villeneuve-d'Ascq, the Parc du Héron should be on your must-visit list. It’s about half an hour from Lille city center, offering a perfect escape from your hectic city life. You can sit on a bench by the lake or lay down your picnic blanket and observe the flora and fauna surrounding the area.

The Parc du Héron is also home to a nature reserve with a bird diversity of about 200 species. Within it is an artificial hill, Marchenelles, which rises 40 meters above the ground. The Marchenelles Hill has numerous trees, including oak, aspen, elm, and alder, and offers a remarkable view overlooking the lake.

While the park is a lovely destination in most months, summer is the best time to observe birds, blossoming wildflowers, and other wildlife. It becomes more alive on weekends when people visit to relax, cycle, and walk.

Le Jardin des Plantes

Enter a paradise in the heart of Lille and discover hundreds of rare plants at Le Jardin des Plantes. This botanical garden and park in the Moulins district will introduce you to the magical world of plants, flowers, and trees in a calm, serene atmosphere. Urban engineer Jean-Pierre Secq built the Garden of Plants in 1968, which now covers eleven hectares of green areas, gardens, waterfalls, and basins.

Dedicate a few hours to exploring the distinctive gardens that make up Le Jardin des Plantes. Start your journey at the Perspective Squares (though rectangular in shape) that occupies 2.5 hectares of garden space. Its plantations change twice a year, keeping the flower beds dazzling throughout the year. The Botanical School is also worth checking out to learn more about the diversity of plants from temperate regions worldwide.

If you’ve never hiked and are curious about the plants that grow on mountains, head to the Alpine Garden. The Rose and Rock Garden is also fascinating, which displays wild varieties and species of old and contemporary roses. For a quiet walk and contemplation, go to the Iris and Perennials Garden, with turfed pathways and brick bays away from most footfalls, giving you a pleasant feeling of calm and isolation. No matter what piques your interest, you’ll find it here.

Discover Lille parks and walk in nature

Whether you’re visiting for the first time or a loyal resident, there’s always something new in this fascinating French city. If you’re done shopping and dining and looking for a place to sit and rest, most parks in Lille offer free recreation and facilities for every family member to enjoy. And even if you’re strolling alone, you’ll surely have a wonderful time listening to the sounds of birds, watching live performances, or simply relaxing with nature around you.

Looking for other activities and sightseeing opportunities in Lille? If you find this guide useful and want to learn more, read our Lille Visitor Guide to maximize your trip.

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