Lille is the capital of the Hauts-de-France region in northern France, near the border with Belgium. A cultural hub and bustling university city today, it was once an important merchant center of French Flanders, and many Flemish influences remain. The historic center, Vieux Lille, is characterized by 17th-century brick town houses, cobbled pedestrian streets and the large central square, Grand Place.
France, in Western Europe, encompasses medieval cities, alpine villages and Mediterranean beaches. Paris, its capital, is famed for its fashion houses, classical art museums including the Louvre and monuments like the Eiffel Tower. The country is also renowned for its wines and sophisticated cuisine. Lascaux?s ancient cave drawings, Lyon?s Roman theater and the vast Palace of Versailles attest to its rich history.