QS Best Student Cities ranking: Joint 97th
Located in northern France near the border with Belgium, Lille was formerly one of the main industrial centers in the country, but experienced difficulties following the decline of the coal, mining and textile industries. However, Lille has now reinvented itself as a picturesque cultural and commercial hub, and is arguably one of France’s most underrated cities.
A European Capital of Culture in 2004, Lille has a thriving modern art scene and is renowned for its food, with the thriving Marché de Wazemmes food market, delicious waffles and the popular moules-frites (mussels and fries) dish. As the latter may suggest, Lille has some Belgian influences, including Flemish-style architecture that is most clearly seen at the medieval Old Town, as well as Belgian beer and chocolate shops.
For those with the travel bug, Lille offers ample opportunities to travel to other major European cities such as London, Paris and Brussels, with the city acting as a crossroads in the European high-speed rail network.
Lille is a true student city with a large population of students, who gave it a positive review in our student survey. One respondent listed the many benefits of studying in Lille: “We can discover and benefit from its culture, enjoy terraces of restaurants of coffeehouse during summer, cultural animations, concerts, the old town.”
The city also offers lower living costs than Paris, particularly in terms of rent (which is 47% lower in Lille according to Numbeo), and if your French skills aren’t yet up to scratch, there are programs taught partially or fully in English (at master’s level), which you can find via Campus France’s search tool.
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Internationally ranked universities in Lille
More about Lille
Number of universities ranked by QS
Average international fees (at ranked unis)
Employer Activity rank
Student Experience rank
To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.
This article was originally published in February 2017 . It was last updated in January 2020