Lille France The Citadel

The Citadel is a very interesting spot on the edge of Lille centre. It is about a 2K walk from Lille old town centre. We strolled along the beautiful streets of old Lille from Notre Dame to the citadel. We picked up a yummy baguette and pasty on the way and eat in the park. There is a canal of sorts which leads to the river and the citadel, carnival and zoo area. Just over the river is a large carnival with crazy rides, side shows and a wonderful children’s carnival area with mini trains and such. The Lille zoo is just here as well. We cut through the kid’s carnival to the citadel road.

The citadel is a seventeen century pentagonal military structure, surrounded by lovely gardens, which now houses the “Headquarters Rapid Reaction Corps-France”. This is a NATO certified organisation which reacts to threats such as terror attacks. Part of the Citadel can be visited by booking in advance. It is open to the public at limited times (Sunday’s, I believe) only via web bookings. There are horrible cobblestones for a wheelchair at the entrance to the inner sanctum plus some tough but hip looking soldier dudes.

The walk around the outside is about 1 km and is fully wheelchair accessible. There is even a curious ramp that goes up to the rampart. This was fun, although I couldn’t see over the outside wall when I got there. There is a nice stream meandering about with green algae and willow trees. I suggest walking around in the clockwork direction.This includes streams, much greenery, old gates and ducks. Luckily we had a perfect sunny day in late September.

Just before we exited, I popped into the small Lille zoo, which was having a free “open day”. Hordes of kids. I zoomed around and glimpsed a few creatures. The enclosures were quite good and the animals had foliage and some space. I saw lovely owl, some fat quolls and a massive rhinoceros! I can see both sides of the zoo debate but I don’t boycott them and this one was quite well set out.

We returned via a lovely 13C church called Sainte Catherine’s.

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