The region’s manufacturing past and its eventful history over the centuries resulted in Lille earning the title of “the capital of Flanders” for a long period and also made it a major economic and demographic centre. Its position close to the border led to it attracting the Tour de France as early as 1906, and the race has stopped here on a total of 17 occasions. Two Grands Départs have taken place here, the one in 1994 producing a record-breaking performance by Chris Boardman, who averaged 55.152km/h to win the prologue. Twenty years later, the Tour’s last visit to Lille saw Marcel Kittel win for the third time in four days, following his romp through England.
- Stage town for the 18th time
- Capital of the Hauts de France region and prefecture of Nord (59)
- Population: 234,000 (Lillois and Lilloises), 1,200,000 in the 95 communes comprising the Métropole de Lille