Metros in France: Lille Metro

Lille is the fourth largest city in France, located in a region called French Flanders, near Belgium. Its population is of around 230,000 people, as of 2012. The city is famous for hosting the Braderie, a street fair where food, crafts, and other goods are sold on the street at reduced prices. It is one of the biggest events in France. Its metro system is called the Lille Metro, which is owned by Transpole.

Lille Metro’s entire railway is around 46 km long. It has two main lines. Around 260,000 people use the metro daily. Tickets are checked via an honor system, which means that people can enter the metro even without the ticket. However, inspectors will randomly check if passengers have their tickets, and those who avoided paying will pay a fine. The metro's cars use rubber tires, and each car uses 750 volts of electricity, which come from a third rail. In stations, doors separate platforms from rail tracks, and both doors open at the same time. The metro does not have air conditioning. It drives on the right side of the rails. The gauge size is of around 2 meters.

  • Known as: Metro
  • System Length: 33 mi
  • Dimentions: 6 ft wide and 15 ft long (two linked cars).
  • Number of lines: 2
  • Number of stations: 59
  • Top Speed: over 155 MPH
  • Website: www.transpole.fr, uk.transpole.fr (English)
  • Operator: Transpole Lille Métropole
  • Average ridership: it carries 135.000 passengers per day, just line 1.
  • Start of operation: It is operating since April 25 of 1983 connected the stations of Quatre Cantons (Villeneuve d'Ascq) and République (Lille) station.

A little bit of history

Lille had a problem with transportation since some areas barely had any access to public transportation. However, some others had a high volume of traffic and too many buses. So the solution to the problem was the creation of a new railway: Lille metro would be an electromagnetic train. It was made to be fully automatic. This new train system, opened to the public in April 25th, 1983, was called the VAL system.

Lille metro system (France) is the world's first metro VAL technology employed, a closed system wheeled fully automatic. It is the new generation of metro systems, a small profile light railway that operates automatically and it needs no operator.
VAL is an acronym that means "Véhicule Automatique Léger" (Light Automatic Vehicle) but at first meant "Villeneuve d'Ascq – Lille"

Lines and stations

Metro Lille has 60 stations, divided into two main lines: Line 1 and 2. It also includes two other extra tram lines. The lines are owned by Clear Channel Communications

Line 1

It opened to the public in 1983, and was expanded in 1984. The train models used are the models VAL 206 and VAL 208. The rail system is around 14 km long, 9 of which is underground. It is used by almost 49 million people per year. The distance between each station is of around 800 m. It connects Villeneuve d' Ascq through the stations Lucerne in Pierre Mauroy to CHR B - Calmette. Initially, it only had VAL 206 cars. However, out of its 53 cars, only three cars are VAL 206, while the rest are VAL 208. The travel time in this line is 20 minutes. It travels to two municipalities.

The stations are the following: CHR Oscar Lambrett, Wazemmes, Rihour, Gare Lille-Flandres, Gambetta, République - Beaux-Art, Fives, Marbrerie, Lezennes, Pont de Bois, Triolo, Porte des Postes, Villeneuve d' Asqc - Hotel de Ville, Quatre Cantons - Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Hellemmes, Cité Scientifique - Professor Gabillard, Caulier, CHR B - Calmette.

Line 2

It opened to the public in 1989, and was expanded in 2000. Its rail system is almost 32 km long, 26 of which is underground. The distance between each station is around 760 m. Its yearly attendance is of almost 47 million people. It has 80 VAL 206 cars, and 10 VAL 208 cars. It connects Lille with Tourcoing and Roubaix, and also goes to Villeneuve d' Ascq, Wasquehal, and Mons Baroeul, which is close to Belgium.

Its stations are the following: Bourg, Bois Blancs, Mitterie, Saint Philibert, Maison des Enfants, Port de Lille, Montebello, Mairie de Mons, Croix - Centre, CH Dron, Tourcoing - Centre, Eurotéléport, Gare Lille Flandres, Porte des Postes, Pont Superieur, Lomme - Lambersart, Canteleu, Cormontaigne, Bois Blancs, Porte d' Arras, Lille Grand Palais, Porte de Douai, Maire de Lille, Porte de Valenciennes, Gare Lille-Europe, Mons Sarts, Saint-Maurice Pellevoisin, Les Pres, Jean-Jaures, Wasquehal-Pave de Lille, Croix-Mairie, Epeule-Montesquieu, Roubaix-Charles-de-Gaulle, Roubaix - Grand Place, Gare - Jean-Lebas, Tourcoing-Sebastopol, Carliers, Colbert, Phalempins, Pont de Neuville, Mercure, Alsace, Wasquehal - Hotel de Ville.

Rail connections

There are two tram lines that can transfer to the metro, which are lines R and T. They belong to the Transpole network.

Line R

Opened to public in December 5th, 1909, and modified in September 4th, 1993. Its rail system is around 12 km long, connecting the routes Tourcoing and Roubaix. It is manually driven. The distance among its stations is around 600 meters.

Its stations are the following: Croise - Laroche, Eurotéléport, Gare Lille-Flandres, Romarin, Gare Lille-Europe, Botanique, Buisson, Saint-Maur, Brossolette, Acacias, Clemenceau - Hippodrome, Pont de Wasquehal, Wasquehal - Pave de Lille, La Terrasse, Le Sart, La Marque, Planche - Epinoy, Villa Cavrois, Alfred - Mongy, Bol d' Air, Parc Barbieux, Hopital Victor-Provo, Jean-Moulin.

Line T

It shares most of its characteristics with line R. This line's most recent modification was in July 20th, 2013. Its rail system is approximately 13 km long.

Its stations are the following: Tourcoing - Centre, Croise - Laroche, Galle Lille-Flandres, Romarin, Gare Lille-Europe, Botanique, Buisson, Saint-Maur, Brossolette, Clemenceau - Hippodrome, Foch, Le Quesne, Chateau Rouge, Triez, Cerisae - Centre d' Affaires, Cartelot, Trois Suisses, Ma Campagne, Faidherbe, Grand Cottignies, Victorie, Pont Hydraulique.

Lille Metro is also related to the following transportation networks: Lille's Buses, V'Lille, Metropole, and Lianas of Lille.

Connection to airport:

The closest metro station to the airport is in Gare Lille-Flandres. Lines 1 and 2 go to these stations. Take a shuttle from Lille's airport through the Lesquin exit, and go to Euralille shopping centre, which is close to Gare Lille-Flandres' stations. The whole trip will take 20 minutes. The airport's shuttle works 24 hours every day, including holidays.

Schedule, timetables, and hour of operations:

All stations usually start at around 5:00 am until midnight. However, during holidays and Sundays, it starts at around 6:30 am. Here are the specific schedules (showing times when services begins and when it ends):

Line 1

  • 1) CHR B-Calmette: 5:34am - 12:39am.
  • 2) CHR Oscar Lambrett: 5:33am - 12:38am.
  • 3) Porte des Postes: 5:31 am - 12:36 am.
  • 4) Wazemmes: 5:30 am - 12:35 am.
  • 5) Gambetta: 5:29 am - 12:34 am.
  • 6) Republique Beaux-Arts: 5:27 am - 12:32 am.
  • 7) Rihour: 5:26 am - 12:31 am.
  • 8) Gare Lille-Flandres: 5:25 am - 12:30 am.
  • 9) Caulier: 5:23 am - 12:28 am.
  • 10) Fives: 5:22 am - 12:27 am.
  • 110 Marbrerie: 5:21 am - 12:26 am.
  • 12) Hellemmes: 5:19 am - 12:24 am.
  • 13) Lezennes: 5:18 am - 12:23 am.
  • 14) Pont de Bois: 5:17 am - 12:22 am.
  • 15) Hotel de Ville: 5:16 am - 12:21 am.
  • 16) Triolo: 5:14 am - 12:19 am.
  • 17) Cite Scientifique: 5:13 am - 12:18 am.
  • 18) Quatre Cantons Stade: 5:12 am - 12:17 am.

Line 2:

  • 1) Saint Philibert: 5:38 am - 12:51 am.
  • 2) Maison des Enfants: 5:35 am - 12:48 am.
  • 3) Bourg: 5:36 am - 12:49 am.
  • 4) Mitterie: 5:34 am - 12:47 am.
  • 5) Pont Superieur: 5:33 am - 12:45 am.
  • 6) Lomme Lambersart: 5:32 am - 12:44 am.
  • 7) Canteleu: 5:30 am - 12:43 am.
  • 8) Bois Blancs: 5:29 am - 12:42 am.
  • 9) Port de Lille: 5:28 am - 12:39 am.
  • 10) Cormontaigne: 5:27 am - 12:38 am.
  • 11) Montebello: 5:26 am - 12:36 am.
  • 12) Porte des Postes: 5:25 am - 12:35 am.
  • 13) Porte D' Aras: 5:23 am - 12:34 am. 
  • 14) Porte de Douai: 5:22 am - 12:32 am.
  • 15) Porte De Valenciennes: 5:21 am - 12:31 am.
  • 16) Grand Palais: 5:19 am - 12:30 am.
  • 17) Mairie de Lille: 5:18 am - 12:29 am.
  • 18) Gare Lille Flandres: 5:17 am - 12:27 am.
  • 19) Gare Lille Europe: 5:16 am - 12:26 am.
  • 20) Saint Maurice Pellevoisin: 5:14 am - 12:24 am. 
  • 21) Mous Sarts: 5:13 am - 12:23 am.
  • 22) Fort de Mons: 5:10 am - 12:10 am.
  • 23) Les Pres: 5:34 am - 12:34 am.
  • 24) Jean Jaures: 5:32 am - 12:32 am.
  • 25) Pave de Lille: 5:30 am - 12:30 am.
  • 26) Hotel de Ville: 5:29 am - 12:14 am.
  • 27) Centre: 5:28 am - 12:13 am.
  • 28) Mairie: 5:26 am - 12:12am.
  • 29) Epeulle Montesquieu: 5:25 am - 12:10 am.
  • 30) Charles de Gaulle: 5:24 am - 12:09 am. 
  • 31) Eurotéléport: 5:22 am - 12:08 am. 
  • 32) Roubaix Grand Place: 5:21 am - 12:07 am.
  • 33) Gare Jean Lebas: 5:20 am - 12:06 am. 
  • 34) Alsace: 5:18 am - 12:03 am.
  • 35) Mercure: 5:16 am - 12:02 am.
  • 36) Carliers: 5:17 am - 12:01 am. 
  • 37) Sebastopol: 5:15 am - 11:59 pm.
  • 38) Tourcoing Centre: 5:14 am - 11:58 pm.
  • 39) Colbert: 5:13 am - 11:57 pm.
  • 40) Phalempins: 5:12 am - 11:56 pm.
  • 41) Pont de Neuville: 5:10 am - 11:55 pm.
  • 42) Bourgogne: 5:09 am. 
  • 43) CH Dron: 5:08 am.
  • 44) Mairie de Mons: 5:12 am - 12:20 am.

Price, tickets, and cards:

Tickets can be bought at vending machines located in each station. They can be paid via credit cards or coins. One ticket costs one euro, and is a one-way ticket that can transfer you from the metro to a bus or a tramway. There is also a bundle of 10 tickets, which you can buy for 10 euros. There is a ticket for three euros called Passe Journee, which lasts one day and has unlimited use. The City Pass ticket, which costs 14 euros, gives you have unrestricted access to museums and other points of interest in Lille, and it also serves as unlimited travels for the metro. More information about this pass is given in the Lille-Flandres station. Tickets are divided into the following categories: 4 to 25 Years, All Public, 65 Years and Older, and Combined.

-Pass Card (4 euros): For all customers. Card that can be used instead of tickets to pay fares.

-4 to 25 Years. For people aged four to 25. They include the following prices:

  • 1) Abonnement Mensuel (28 euros per month): Unlimited use on Transpole vehicles to travel among 42 stations. You can choose the starting day of payment.
  • 2) Abonnement 10 Mois (23.8 euros per month): Unlimited use for 10 months. Purchase dates: July 7th - October 7th (valid from September 1st to June 30th.) 
  • 3) Abonnement Permanent (23.8 euros per month): Not sold online. It can only be bought through Transpole office. You need to pay it for at least 12 months.

-65 Years and Older: Only applies for customers who are over 65 years old.

  • 1) Abonnement Mensuel (28 euros per month): Unlimited travel to all stations, as well as all vehicles (metro, buses, tramways.) Only sold through the Pass Card.
  • 2) Abonnement Permanent: (23.8 euros per month): Unlimited travel all year long. Needs to be paid for at least 12 months.

-All Public: Available to everyone not meeting the other tickets' conditions.

  • 1) Tout Public Mensuel (56 euros per month): Unlimited use in 42 stations. You need to choose the beginning date of payment for the monthly subscription.
  • 2) Abonnement Permanent (49 euros per month): You require to pay for at least 12 months. Works for unlimited travel all year round. You can only buy it through Transpole's office.
  • 3) Abonnement Mensuel Coquelicot (7 euros per month): For people who are visually impaired. Sold only physically at a Transpole office.
  • 4) Abonnement Iris (7 euros per month): For people seeking jobs. Sold only if certain conditions are met.

-Combined: Combines the benefits of many tickets in one.

  • 1) Semaine Integree (21 euros per month): Permits you to travel to some regions for all week long. Can only be bought through the Pass Card.
  • 2) Abonnement Sans Correspondance (12.7 euros per month): Valid on the routes going through Mouscron, Wattrelos, and Roubaix. Operated by Transpole and TEC Hainaut. Only available through Pass Card. Lasts for one week. Children who are six years old and under can travel free with an adult.
  • 3) Fideli'ter Hebdo: (10.7 euros): Unlimited travel for a week. Only available through Pass Card.
  • 4) Fideli'ter Mensuel (56 euros per month): Unlimited travel for one month. Only available through Pass Card.
  • 5) Fideli'ter Annuel (49 euros per month): Unlimited travel for a year. Pass Card is needed.

Rules:

  • All metro cars have cameras for security purposes.
  • Before boarding, you need to stamp your ticket at a stamping machine. An agent may randomly ask you for your ticket.
  • Children under four years old with an adult companion travel for free.
  • Bikes are prohibited in the metro. However, they are permitted in trams, at the end of the trains.
  • Small animals are permitted, but only in kennels. Only guide dogs are permitted outside of cages.
  • Parking spots are only for Transpole customers.

Future expansions

​ Four stations will be added to line 2 in 2019. It will add five kilometers of rail to the area of Labege - Innopole. ​The length of the railway in line 1 will be doubled in between 2019 and 2020. Also, the automatic driving system will be updated in 2017. All old trains and machinery from line will be transferred to the trains in line 2.

There are plans to put screens at stations that will inform passengers about arrival and waiting times, as well as about accidents. In 2018, Metro Lille plans to add 4G antennas for stations, which would give phone service to the underground stations. In CHR B Calmette in line 1, an extension for the railway is expected in 2019. This extension will give easier access to the hospital, and give transportation to the students in the area.

Tips

  • You can rent among six parking sites in Lille's stations, which are open all day, every day. They are located in: Villeneuve d' Asqc (Quatre Cantons and Les Pres stations); Lomme in Saint Philibert; Porte d' Arras, Porte des Postes, and CHR B in Calmette. There is also free parking at Euralille shopping centre, as long as you have a receipt of a purchase done at Euralille’s Carrefour. Pay-and-display parking is also available.
  • Take common safety precautions when you are in the city.
  • Alcoholic students and pickpockets could be a problem. Be careful during Saturday evenings to avoid these problems. However, Lille is still a relatively safe city in Europe.

Curious facts

  • Lille Metro is the longest automatic metro network in the world.
  • Each metro station has different architectural design.
  • Among the materials of constructions used for the stations are: tiles, stainless steel, rocks, bricks, and wood. Most stations are located below ground level.
  • Works of art, such as murals, sculptures, or even a reflective pool are displayed in the stations. For instance, Montebello's station has an aquarium.
  • Another fun fact is that, just before arriving to the next station, a female voice in a speaker says the name of the station. 

At first, each district had a budget of its own to choose an architect and an artist to create stations within its municipality. This measure was taken at the time of construction of the Line 2. But at the time of the extension, some new stations have not benefited with artwork.

Nearby attractions:

This area has unique food and architecture, which differentiates Lille from the rest of France. Lille has some dishes from Belgium, such as "moules-frites," as well as local and original dishes, such as "waterzoi" and "potjevleesch." Among the touristic attractions in Lille are:

  • 1) Palais Les Beaux-Arts: This museum can be accessed via line 1 of the metro, towards Republique Beaux-Arts' station. The museum is over 20,000 square meters. There are famous art pieces by Goya, Rubens, and Delacroix. The exhibitions also show maps of fortresses used by kings in wars during the 1700s. Other displays show famous French paintings from the 1800s. The museum has sculptures, some of which are from Rodin. 
  • 2) Musee d' Art Moderne Villeneuve d' Asqc: This museum is famous in all Europe, and it shows over 4000 pieces of art from the 1900s and 2000s. The building is over 3500 square meters. Some of the pieces displayed are from Picasso, Miró, Kandinsky, Modigliani, Braque, among other artists. There is also a shop, a bookstore, a café, and a restaurant within the museum. This museum has the most extensive collection of art in a French museum.
  • 3) Grand Place: This is the main plaza in Lille. It has buildings with Renaissance and Baroque style. It is one of the most social places in Lille. It is full of informal restaurants and cafés. There is a statue in the middle of the plaza called the Goddess Monument, made by Theóphile Bra, who also worked on Paris' Arc de Triomphe.
  • 4) Rang du Beauregard: Located in Place du Theatre. It has architecture from 1600s, with work done by Simon Vollant. It has ancient Greek-like architecture, decorated with angels and scrolls. There are cannonballs within the architecture, which date from old war times.
  • 5) Musee de l' Hospice Comtesse: This museum was made above the ruins of a hospital from the Middle Ages. It was part of the palace of Countess Jeanne de Flandre. Decorations from the building are from the 1400s, the 1600s, and the 1700s. The museum also has refined furniture and paintings in the art exhibition. Additionally, there is an ancient drugstore.
  • 6) Braderie de Ville: This is the largest street market in all Europe. In this flea market, you can buy artwork, books, crafts, porcelain, kitchenware, and clothes, among other things. Among the food you can buy includes mussels with French fries, dishes with fish, and other specialties. There is also a carnival. It is one of the most famous events in Lille.
  • 7) Musee Louvre-Lens: Shows over 100 pieces of art from Louvre's Museum from Paris. The museum was built where an old coal mine was. It is located in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais area, and is one of the most attractive places for tourists. The curators of the museum are directors from Louvre's Museum. The artwork exhibitions are not separated into rooms.
  • 8) Eglise Saint-Maurice: This is a Gothic Church from the 1300s. It is a church built like a barn, so it could adjust to the delicate soil of Lille. It was decorated by artists from 1600s and 1700s. This church was called “Temple of Reason” during the French Revolution. It has been renovated several times, but it still maintains the same look as it had on the 14th century.

Metro map of Lille

Metro map of Lille Full resolution
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Lille metro map

  • Also Known As:
  • Passengers/Day 262465
  • Fares:
  • 24h operation: No
  • Air Conditioning: No
  • Walk between platforms: Yes
  • Driverless trains: VAL (since 1983)
  • Screen Doors Platforms: VAL, all stations
  • Average Speed: 34km/h
  • Max. Speed: 80km/h
  • Operator: Transpole
  • 1
  • Lille Metro Official Website

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