Euralille Urban District

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Fifty metres beyond the Heart of Lille like an urban district designed to be at the forefront of technological chic

If your vision of the future or even modern life, includes glass dominated structures, spacious walk-ways and high rise tower blocks, then Euralille may meet with your idea of technological chic.

It certainly met with Mr Mauroy’s vision, the chairman of the urban development. He has been quoted as saying ‘trains go everywhere and cows look at them. They do nothing for the economic development. Euralille will.’

At Place de l’Europe, looking to your left from Le Corbusier Viaduct, is the Lille-Europe train station. Its function is to service travellers between Paris and London using the Channel Tunnel for high-speed train services to other French destinations. The structure has been described by its architect J.M. Duthilleul as ‘a new model of the station which reconciles the train and the citizen.’

Certainly the 400 metre long window facade of the station allows train spotters to delight in the view of the high speed TGV trains. Another 15 metre high facade leads the way into the centre of town.

The station is linked to Lille-Flanders train station by a viaduct with four arches and the area acts as a central point for all transport facilities such as the VAL metro and the main roads.

There are two emerging glass structured towers. The smaller of the two is the Tour de Credit Lyonnais, designed by Christian de Portzampac to symbolise renewal. It has been affectionately nicknamed ‘the pinball machine’. You’ll understand when you see it. The second, spanning 25 floors, is called Tour Lilleeurope.

The exterior of the huge Centre Euralille shopping centre is made entirely from glass, topped with a wedge shaped flat roof described by its architect as ‘a sort of metallic puff pastry’. Though very modern, there is a look of severity about it. To the south, hidden behind the tower, is the oval shaped Lille Grand-Palais, which is used as the town’s exhibition hall and conference centre and can seat 5,000 people.

Within the futuristic landscape, a new park has been conceived. Park Henri-Matisse has been designed over twenty acres and stretches almost as far as the ancient Port de Roubaix: the gateway where old Lille meets the new. The plants and foiliage offer the decor making the park a fine place to take a stroll.