I went to Lille 5 days in March, especially to take pictures for you and see if I would recommend it to my students as it is so close to London by train (2h15). As soon as I arrived, I got drenched, broke my umbrella and my shoes got completely soaked so had to do some emergency shopping. It did rain 4 days out of 5 so would recommend going there in summer or for the 'Grande Braderie' in september for the general car boot sale in the city centre. The traditional local food is heavy and filling with huge portions and a lot of cheese and fries. The cultural life is good with some big cultural department stores like the big shop 'Le Furet Du Nord', an opera house, several independent cinemas and some theatres.