Traveller's Guide to Lille

23rd Aug 2022 Romain Nicolas

One third of the legendary l'Œil d'Ophidia, Romain Nicolas is a French player and content creator who has quickly become one of the fixtures of the international Flesh and Blood community. Ahead of his appearance at Pro Tour, he joins us to share his guide to the city and welcome players to Lille!

Dear reader/Flesh and Blood Player,

If you're in front of this article, I'll assume you're going to Lille for the Pro Tour (or the Calling, the Battle-Hardened event or one of the numerous side-events that will be going on at Pro Tour Lille). If not, it might not be too late to register and make sure you join in what's probably going to be one of the most important events in the history of our favourite game. If so, you're in for a treat: Lille is one of the greatest French cities and I can hopefully show you how to enjoy it optimally! The food is awesome, the beer is probably the best in France, the old city is magnificent and makes for a great stroll and the people (we call them « Les Ch'tis ») are so welcoming you'll never want to leave.

Full disclosure: I'm not a « Lillois ». I don't live in Lille, have never lived in Lille, but it's a city very close to my heart. My parents lived there for several years while my father studied journalism and my mother waited tables to pay the rent, and they've always cherished « La Capitale des Flandres », so I do too. When I became a journalist myself, I took every opportunity to go there on reports or filming documentaries, so I know the city pretty well ! But you're not here for me, so let's get into this Traveler's Guide to Lille.

Pro Tour France - Lille Landscape

How to Move in Lille

The subway system in Lille isn't big compared to other cities in the rest of the world, or even in France like Paris, obviously, but it does its job. There are two lines, with automatic trains, that help connect all of the important places in the Lille Metropolitan Area (The European Métropole of Lille links nearby cities like Roubaix, Tourcoing, or Armentières), and you can even access two tram lines that let you move around the area, and 68 bus routes that let you go as far as Belgium, if you stay for several days before or after the Pro Tour and decide that you need to see the world! I won't go into details about it all because it's not what this guide is about ; just know that it's easy to move around in the city and go to the easy-to-use websitefor details on how to go to point A to point B (it's translated in English and in Dutch!). Fun FAB-related fact: the subway system is operated by a company called « ilevia », but you can access the trains even if you don't like Shadow Brutes.

Lille is also located 1 hour away from Paris by train, and some tickets can go as low as 10 euros if you don't mind waking up early for some sightseeing in the City of Lights!

citadel lille.jpg

What to See

My personal favourite thing to do in Lille, even to this day, is to wander the old town, the « Vieux- Lille », and enjoy the architecture. It's always surprising to me, even to this day, always heartwarming, and you can feel the soul of the city. (I'm a Boltyn player so I care about souls, but I'm pretty sure it works for everybody else!)

My advice, if you can only do ONE THING during your trip — apart from playing Flesh and Blood and crushing your opponents — it would be to go see the Citadel of Lille. It's a particularly impressive historic monument, built in the 17th century to defend the city and nearby Paris from invaders. The park around the Citadel is magnificent. You need to see it if you can!

If you're into Flesh and Blood because it has the best art of all TCGs, you might also be interested to know that the Palais des Beaux-Arts de Lille has a great fine arts collection, with astounding renaissance-era or middle-ages sculptures and paintings and if you're into modern arts (I'm not, but I feel like I should help everybody else, right?), the LaM is the place to go. It's considered one of the most impressive museums in Europe, with extensive collections of contemporary art.


What to Do

Lille has a lot of students, so obviously, it has a very active nightlife. Let's say you want to celebrate your performance (or incoming performance) at the Pro Tour and have fun with your friends or teammates... well, just go to Masséna or Solférino Street, known for their bars and nightclubs. There's also a very nice karaoke bar in Ratisbonne Street, called KaraFun and if people let me organize a night out in Lille during the weekend, there's a good chance you'll hear me sing my triple performance of « Belle » from the musical Notre Dame de Paris at the top of my lungs. I'm not the kind of guy that goes out all night long (I have two kids and I'm a TCG player and content creator so I don't have much free time and when I do, I sleep!), so I won't go into details about which bars you should go to, but if you're around Masséna and want to have a good time, there's a 100% chance you'll find what you're looking for!

Lille only has one store so far that sells Flesh and Blood, but if you need product before the event, you can't go wrong with Rocambole. This shop has been selling all kinds of games since the early 90s, it's a charming store with wooden shelves full of games from the floor to the ceiling. They've also started getting into FAB Organized play recently and have become the main hub for competitive players in the city. As always, supporting the local LGS is key, so don't hesitate and drop by!


What to Drink and Eat

DISCLAIMER FROM THE AUTHOR: Drink responsibly. Please.

Yes, there is a lot of beer to choose from in the city. The proximity of Belgium helps, of course, and Lille has a lot of micro-breweries where you can taste some of the hardest-to-find brands. Beer is really personal, so it's hard to give advice without knowing your tastes, so I can only advise you to drink the ones you'll have trouble finding anywhere else: the Anosteké, brewed in nearby Merville, was named the best blonde beer at the World Beer last year, while the Triple Karmeliet (just say « Karmé » if you want to sound like a local) is one of the most popular beers in the city. My drink of choice is the Kwak, a Belgian beer that's served in a weird glass that doesn't stay upright on its own and needs a wooden stand.

A warning though: if you're used to light beers like the ones you find in the US, similar to Budweiser, Coors, or Miller, get ready to be shocked. Lille isn't only beer, of course: the food is also to die for. There are countless specialty meals in Lille or more generally in northern France. But here - sorry, dear reader - I'll only list my favourites, because there are way too many, and, well, it's my guide, after all!

Let's start with the obvious, but probably the craziest dish you can find: The Welsh. People from Wales probably know it already, because it comes from the UK (apparently, but not everyone agrees), though it's now become one of the dishes most closely associated with Lille cuisine. What is it exactly? Well, it's a slice of bread, with ham, covered in cheddar and... beer. It's not a typo. It's beer bread with ham, usually eaten with french fries of course, and sometimes with a fried egg on top. Magnifique!

Second on my list of Lille dishes: Le Coq à la Bière. At this point, you might wonder if I have a problem with alcohol, because yes, it's literally a rooster cooked with dark beer. Here's my defence: I never drink alcohol, only for special occasions, but I love good food, and Coq à la Bière is sublime. Don't ask me the actual recipe, but you need to slow cook the rooster with your beer for ages, and add mushrooms, shallot, and cream. As usual, you add fries on the side. My advice: don't eat this before playing an important FaB game, it tends to make you want to nap rather than think about pitch-stacking and lethal math.

Next, I need to talk about my absolute favourite thing to eat: cheese. Northern France has some of the best cheeses, and my personal favourite is the Maroilles. It's a really smelly cow's-milk cheese, that looks like an orange square, and is delicious. There's an even more amazing variant of Maroilles called « Vieux-Lille », that's ripened by brushing it with salt. It's so good that its nickname has become « Puant de Lille », which means... « Stinky from Lille ». You can't go wrong with that.

Last but not least, I don't want people to say that I forgot about vegans or more refined palates, so if you're in Lille, you also need to try this amazing dessert: the waffle, Lille-style. Perfected by pastrymakers Méert, it's a flat pastry that tastes kind of like a brioche, stuffed with a vanilla or brown sugar filling. If you go back home with a bad of Méert waffles for your significant other or your family, you'll be a hero for longer than if you come back with a Gold Cold Foil Eye of Ophidia!

As you probably guessed, I love the city, and I hope you'll love it too. I'm sure we'll cross paths during the weekend so if you see me and followed any of the advice given in this guide, don't hesitate and tell me what you thought, if you loved or hated the Welsh or the Méert Waffles.

I'll see you in Lille!

Keep on Crushing,


Romain Nicolas is a Flesh and Blood player and content creator. The opinions expressed in the above article are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of Legend Story Studios.