Lille Property Insight

Lille is the préfecture of the Nord department and the Nord-Pas de Calais region. The 226,000-inhabitant town belongs to the historical region of Romance Flandre. Lille is the fourth biggest city of France. Its proximity to Belgium explains many similarities with the Belgian culture and way of life…


Lille is renowned for being the French town which has been the most besieged. The city has an eventful history, especially during the Middle Ages and the French Revolution. Lille has been successively ruled by the counts of Flanders, dukes of Burgundy, the Hapsburgs of Austria, and by the King of Spain before being part of France. Lille has been a very important merchant town since its creation. It became a major industrial city during the industrial revolution thanks to textile and mechanics industries. The service sector is nowadays the most important one in the area. Lille is the chief town of the community of communes Lille Métropole Communauté Urbaine which gathers 85 towns and accounts for more than 1,143,000 inhabitants. Around Lille, towns such as Roubaix, Tourcoing or Villeneuve-d’Ascq are very active and house many industrial activities as well as services.

Lille is a very lively city, it is a cross-border and European megalopolis where life is pleasant and the inhabitants are cosmopolitan. It received the label ‘Town of Art and History’ in 2004. Many monuments, civic or religious, testify the rich past of the city: the citadel built by the famous Vauban, the old stock exchange, the main square, the belfry, the opera, the theatre, etc.

Culture and education are too essential values that are definitely present in the city. Lille is a student town. It houses several universities and also many superior schools (business schools, engineering, etc). The second most visited museum of France is located there: Lille’s Fine Arts Museum is very popular, varied exhibitions are held all year round. There are plenty of events and festivals: culture, music, cinema, comedy, dance and so on. Let’s discover the beautiful and lively Lille!

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Lille Immobilier & Property Market Trends

When it comes to property, Lille is not a cheap town in terms of real estate. The average price for a property to buy in the city is €2,902/square metre against €2,525/sq m for the Nord department. Rental prices are above the national average with a price of €12.6/sq m/month. 74.8% of the properties in Lille are apartments. This can be explained by the fact that it is a student city so the demand for such kind of accommodation is high. The great majority (71%) of Lille’s inhabitants rent their property.

In May 2009, the average price to buy an apartment there was €2,870/square metre and it was about €2,300 for a house. Prices for apartments vary a lot. In 2008, a studio flat in Lille cost between €2,580/sq m and €3,340/sq m. For a 4-room apartment, the range of prices was €2,000/sq m - €2,660/sq m. Properties in the old quarter of the town – Vieux Lille - Vauban and République quarters are dearer than in quarters such as Helemmes or Wazemmes-Moulin where you can get properties for affordable prices. As regards houses, people paid in 2008 between €135,000 and €184,000 for a 4-room house and between €145,000 and €213,000 for a 5-room one.

To get updated info about the property prices in the Nord department, please browse our French Property Market Reports published in the News Section every month.

Click here to have an overview of Nord-Pas-de-Calais Property Prices.

6 Reasons to Buy a Property in Lille

Lille is a large economic, financial and administrative city as well as a place for students and international conferences. Culture and traditions are essential in this city where both old traditional buildings and very modern ones can be found. Museums, sport facilities, festivals, leisure activities… Lille has all the assets and attracts more and more people every year.

  • Culture: Lille is definitely a cultural place not to be missed in Europe. It was the European capital of culture in 2004: more than 9 million people attended 2,500 events on this occasion. ‘Lille 3000’ is also a big event: varied concerts and exhibitions take place in different sites of the city. In 2006, India was honoured (‘Bombaysers de Lille’) and in 2009, the theme is ‘Europe XXL’ with bands from Germany, Poland and Hungary amongst others. The most famous event which takes place in the city is undoubtedly the braderie de Lille. Every first week-end of September, the city is transformed into a pedestrian zone to enable thousands of people to stroll in Europe’s largest flea market! People can drive bargains during the day and do party during the evening until late in the night, everything in a very friendly atmosphere! The theatre, opera and numerous other sites offer plenty of shows all year round: from theatre, to concerts going through exhibitions and conferences…

  • Art and historical heritage: the Palais des Beaux Arts is absolutely worth visiting, as well as the town hall and its belfry, the Vieille Bourse (old stock exchange) built in 1652, Notre-Dame de la Treille cathedral (Gothic style), the ‘Grand’Place or Place du Général de Gaulle (the French President De Gaulle was born in Lille) and its goddess, Porte de Paris (triumphant arch dating from the 17th c.) and the citadel (17th c., built by Vauban and called ‘the Queen of Citadels’) which is in a very well state given its date of construction. History lovers can’t help loving Lille as all its monuments recall an important part of the city’s history. Decorated with stone engravings, featuring a Flemish architecture or a more modern one, these monuments represent Lille’s historical heritage.

  • Cosmopolitan life: life is really pleasant in Lille. In winter, you can visit the Christmas market on Rihour square and in summer enjoy a drink at the terrace of a café or an ice cream in a park with some friends… This city is also the perfect place for shopping. It boasts a great shopping centre ‘Euralille’ which houses plenty of shops on several levels and is located between the two train stations, in the city centre. If you like street markets, do not miss Wazemmes’ one on Sunday. Lille is a flourished city, strolling in the old part of the town Vieux Lille brings you back to the past: paved and narrow streets, old shops and traditional houses… An actual jewel in the modern city.

  • Gastronomy: the city was influenced a lot by Flemish traditions, gastronomy is not an exception to this. Many dishes are based on beer, which is the traditional drink in the region. Many beers of the area are still brewed in the traditional manners and contain more alcohol than the majority of beers. The three regional dishes are the carbonade flamande (beef stew with beer and gingerbread), potjevleesch (terrine with 4 white meats), waterzoï (boiled beef with vegetables). Mussels and chips are the traditional dish for the braderie, and is also important in the local gastronomy. Many confectioneries delight everybody: sugar tart, sugar-filled waffles, babeluttes de Lille (toffee with brown sugar and vanilla)…

  • Location – transport infrastructure: the city is located at the crossroads of major European roads, rail and maritime ways of communication. Lille is less than 350km form 6 European capitals. The city is situated at the heart of the triangle London Paris -Brussels thanks to the high-speed train lines, motorways and Eurotunnel. By train, Paris is reachable in 1h (TGV train), Brussels in 40min and London in 1h40 with the Eurostar. By road, Lille is 80km from Dunkerque, 110km from Calais, 225km from Paris, 110km from Brussels, 125km from Anvers, 300km from Amsterdam, 305km from Luxemburg and 225km from London. Lille has many transport facilities: two train stations and an airport ‘Lille-Lesquin’ offering both national and international travels, the longest automated underground in the world (45km) and an important network of buses and tramways. The city is at the junction of 5 major motorways (A1, A22, A23, A25, A27) allowing an easy access from everywhere in France or Europe.

  • Rental opportunities - return on investment: Lille is an important up and coming area. The city is very dynamic and varied events are organized all year round, bringing many visitors. Transports and infrastructures in general are very good, which allow people moving easily within the area. Given the great number of educational facilities, students are numerous in the city and the demand for properties in the area is always high. Investing in a house there and convert it into several apartments or buying an apartment or a studio flat for a buy-to-let will for sure offer you a very good future return on investment. Property prices are pretty high in Lille, but as it is a big tourist and economic centre, there are always opportunities for lets.

Property Styles and Architecture in Lille

  • Apartments, studio flats: as said before, the proportion of apartments in Lille is really important. 21.7% of the dwellings are studio flats: this number is huge in comparison with the national average: 6.4%. Apartments can be found in housing estates which have car parks or garages, a caretaker, security doors, etc. They are all located in the city centre and enable people to access all amenities in a few minutes only (university, supermarkets, doctors, cinema, etc). Sometimes, houses have been converted into apartments, allowing many students to live in the property. There are all kinds of apartments in Lille, their size can vary, they can be modern or have a rather old style and architecture.

  • Maisons de Maitre: the old quarter of the town houses many maisons de maitre. They have large dimensions and are very sought-after. Their stunning architecture, luxury and location explain why such properties are dear. These ‘bourgeoise’ houses have many rooms and most of the time a garden or closed courtyard. Most of them are painted in white or light colours, but you can also find luxury properties painted in yellow, pink and so on.

  • Town houses: made of red or brown bricks or stone, town houses are situated in the town centre and thus close to all amenities. They offer good dimensions and have a very practical layout. Town houses are good for a first investment and for families or couples. They may come with a garden, but it is rather rare in Lille. A garage is a plus, as it is quite difficult to park in Lille given the number of people staying in the town during the day (workers from other towns or tourists for instance).

Click here for more info about the Architecture in Nord-Pas-de-Calais.

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Take a closer look at the Nord property market:
Cambrai Property Information Dunkerque Property Information
Valenciennes Property Information