Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Lille, the ancient capital of Flanders, and at present the chief town of the department of the Nord, France, is 155 miles N. of Paris by rail. Its name is a variant of LTsle, the old castle being surrounded by marshes. It first became important in the 12th century, but was destroyed by Philip Augustus in 1212. A hundred years later it was ceded to France, but at the end of the 14th century it became Burgundian, and was the residence of Philip the Good. It remained in the possession of various branches of the Hapsburg family till taken by Louis XIV. in 1667. In 1708 it was captured by Marlborough, but in 1792 it successfully sustained a bombardment of nine days from the Austrians. Lille is an important manufacturing town, the spinning of flax employing thousands of hands. There are also woollen, cotton, thread, and damask factories, a state tobacco manufactory, and chemical and dye-works. The chief institutions are a Catholic university, an academy of music, a good picture-gallery, and the Wicar Museum containing original designs of Italian masters. The Communal library has valuable manuscripts.