Fantastic Lille art festival
The House that Fell from
the Sky by Jean-Francis Fourtou,
It looks as if it was
dropped from the sky
A small house balances upside down
with its roof wedged into the ground. You can climb into an opening
and see the furniture fastened to the floor overhead.
The piece, by Jean-Franciois
Fourtou, is appropriately called La Maison Tombee du Ciel (the
house fallen from the sky), and is among the stunning sights on
show as part of the Lille arts festival Fantastic.
Throughout the city centre and the
wider Lille area there are stunning paintings and sculptures.
Even the railway station Gare Lille
Flandres has a flying saucer above its concourse (pictured below),
shining a light blue beam on those who stand underneath it. This
work is by the only English artist featured in the festival, Ross
A flying saucer at Lille
Flandres railway station
Exhibitions such as Phantasia at
the Tri Postal gallery in the city centre have pieces ranging from
the morbid to the surreal and comical.
There is a model of a skeletal
horse, and a trio of human skeleton models with one smoking a
La Solitaire is a piece showing a
man supposedly made of melting spaghetti (actually string) and the
Soundsuits by American artist Nick Cave (not the musician) has
people in costumes that rattle as they move.
The festival began on October 6
with a spectacular parade featuring giant monster-shaped balloons,
a classical concert, a fashion show and fireworks. It will continue
until January 13 , 2013.
More traditional artwork featured
during Fantastic ranges from Flemish art at the Palais des
Beaux-Arts to photography and film at LaM, the art museum in the
outlying city of Villeneuve dAscq.
LaM’s exhibit includes a continual
showing of the 1947 Humphrey Bogart film Dark Passage, highlighting
its ingenious use of light, photography and suspense.
Lille itself is a spectacularly
beautiful city with its grand, classical architecture and the
festival has had some main streets, such as Rue Faidherbe (pictured
below), placed in tunnels of overhead lights.
A tunnel of light down
In addition to the wealth of art on
show, a visit to Lille offers the chance to enjoy a drink at one of
the city centre’s cafes and bars, many open into the small hours.
The simplest little restaurants and bistros provide food up to the
quality and standard that makes French cuisine world class.
Lille’s nightlife, like the rest of
France, does not have the toxic British binge-drinking culture.
There are a few merry drunks, but the norm here is usually having
one or two Jupiler lagers and walking home in a straight line.
Crowds during events at this
festival can be enormous but they are not herded and nagged by
police and stewards. Security keeps a low profile and people are
trusted to behave themselves.
There is a risk of pickpockets in
crowded events, like anywhere else, but I was told that undercover
police were mingling with the mass of visitors to catch them.
Fantastic lives up to its name, and is definitely worth a
Eurostar operates up to nine daily services from London St
Pancras International to Lille Europe with return fares from £69.
The fastest time between the two stations is 1 hour, 20 mins, with
one train a day from Ashford International and up to four from
Ebbsfleet International. Prices depend on seat availability rather
than length of journey.
The higher grade Standard Premier tickets, which provide a reserved
area and a light meal, start from £189 return.
A special offer is available for Eurostar passengers allowing them
discounts to various museums and galleries, including Le Palais des
Beaux-Arts and La Piscine.
Tickets are available from http://www.eurostar.com/ or 08432
Sam's stay was courtesy of ADRT Nord Tourisme.
- Click here for more news from across the county...