(Since 2012 this page is being edit mainly by roel guldemond, Roel has left mainly earlier content. Sure users are more than welcome to add their experiences. Roel made a major update february 2022.)
Going south? Take the A1 towards Paris, or directly to south of France join the A26 towards Reims, Dijon, Lyon (so also direction Spain & Italy)
Going to Paris? Have a "PARIS"-sign. The "autoroute" A1 leads to Paris.
Heading further than Paris? To the south of France (and Italy, Spain)? Have a "LYON"-sign. Why? To avoid Paris. It is difficult to cross Paris. Especially to leave Paris. So therefore consider a "LYON"-sign when you are still north of Paris. Try to get on the "autoroute" A26. Like try to someone take you to the "Peage" (= toll) right before the junction between A1/A26: stand at this "Peage"-square with a "A26/LYON"-sign).
From Lille you can choose to go the first petrol station on the A1, direction Paris. Leaving Lille with a "AIRE PHALEMPIN"-sign. If you can reach this petrol station "Aire de Phalempin" it is a good way to go south. (On Google Maps it seems you could walk to this petrol station, from the village of Seclin, south of Lille. Seclin has a train station. In french is described how you can get their by feet on: ))
See below several alternatives to get on the A1 :
- Most optimal place to hitchhike seems to be
Go to metrostation « Porte d'Arras ». From there walk in the direction of the motorway, cross the bridge. On the left you will see an accelerating lane going onto the motorway (=Motorway A25, which joins the A1 to Paris after about 1 km). You can stand next to the traffic lights just before the ramp with a sign. Or stand on the ramp itself, people have time to stop on the ramp. (NOTE after about 1 km this motorway joins the A1 to Paris, but the motorway does ALSO turns direction of Gent, so if your heading North, this metrostation « Porte d'Arras »-alternatieve is also a good place.)
- Garthelgard has hitchhiked from this spot more than twenty times and has never waited more than 30 minutes.
- In August 2012 somebody added: "The best place to go anywhere is the hard shoulder near metrostation « Porte d'Arras » follow Highway-signs. Within 20 minutes more cars heading towards several directions stopped."
- Lastrik tried this alternative, they tried for two and a half hours before going somewhere else
- Alternative 1
Go to metro station « Valenciennes ». Walking to the north, after about 100 meters you can go eastwards and follow the "Avenue Denis Cordonnier". The A1 crosses this "Avenue Denis Cordonnier". And there is an entrance to the A1. (The Hostel/Auberge de jeunesse "Stephane Hessel" is on crossing of "Avenue Denis Cordonnier" and "Boulevard Paul Painlevé". Address: 235, Boulevard Paul Painlevé)
- Alternative 2
At the end of Boulevard des Cités Unies (at the side of the railways). 300 meters eastwards from metrostation « Lille Grand Palais », you find an entrance to the A1 direction Paris.
- Alternative 3
Go to metro station « Porte de Douai ». Walk or hitch 4 km south (direction Ronchin). Or take the bus "Liane 1". After 4 km you will see a Novotel on your lefthand. There is a roundabout where there is a sign direction A1 Paris. However there is no direct access to the A1, the traffic direction Paris soon joins the A1 (After several hundreds meter, so if you walk to the south, you will come to the next roundabout, here there is a direct access to A1. And cars can stop for you.)
- Alternative 4
« Aire de Phalempin » in the south of Lille remain the best spot to get to this direction. There are several ways to commute to this gas station. First, you can take a regional train from Gare de Lille-Flandres to Seclin (15-minute long ride). There are higher chances to get controlled on the train. An other way to get there is to take the bus L92 to Seclin Gare or the bus 55 to Seclin Le Riez. From there on, walk for about 15 minutes to "Aire de Phalempin" A ticket for the Ilevia network cost 1.70 EUR, as of January 2022. It is hard to fraud in buses, and the chances to get controlled on regional trains are high. Try at least to find a ticket on the floor in any station, as it is better to have an 'invalid ticket' in case of a control.
Going Northeast? Take the A22/E17 towards Antwerp, Gent, Netherlands
The metrostation « Porte d'Arras »-alternative described above at "Going south?" seems to be good: see for description and testimonials above at "Going south?", but consider to held up a "BELGIQUE/BELGIE"-- ,"B"- or "GAND/GENT"-sign.
You can avoid getting stuck in Lille by getting out at the last petrol station on the A1 on « Aire de Phalempin » is quite a big station, good for hitching, and it's 15 km due south from the centre. However, in direction of Brussels it might be a bit difficult there. Most people go towards Ghent and Antwerp there.
Otherwise, take the tram-line T to Chateau Rouge. As you get out, you can see the motorway. The spot is the motorway slip road. There's not a lot of traffic, but there is space for drivers to safely pull over and pick you up.
- Update April 2019To go to north on the A22-E17 stop at the "cerisaie centre d'affaires" tramway spot one the T blue line. Immediatly after the tramway stop there is a traffic light stopping cars witch can go on the motorway slope. There are few transborder workers so it is quite a good stop, even if there is not a lot of traffic and the red light is not very long. ATTENTION do not be dropped in the "rekkem" rest area immediatly after the belgium border, there are only trucks and you can easely be trapped here. Aim for the "marke" service station after the E17-E403 junction.
Or else, get to the petrol station on the N356 about 800m north of metro station Monts Sarts. (Need to jump a small fence and a 2 meter drop! There is a place for your foot so you can slide and jump, but it is still quite a wall). From here you can find lifts going into Belgium and have the chance to talk to drivers.
- Update January 2022The gas station is currently closed (due to construction?). If you want to get there, try to find information if it's reopened.
The French/Belgian border is not a good spot anymore. It is now just a big parking lot where trucks stop, all sign of the previous building there have vanished, it is hard to hitch on the highway as hardly any car stops there. To get there you'll have to take the Line 2 of the metro until "C. H. Dron" (last stop, and actually already in Tourcoing, not in Lille). And walk 30 to 45 Min to it there is an access road with to fence or barrier stopping people on foot. You might be able to get a ride to the petrol station 5 km into Belgium at Kortrijk where loads of Netherland folk stop for a refill.
- Alternative 1
Getting on the A27 by feet from the centre of Lille is several kilometers. A good option is go to "metro station « 4 Cantons »". From there it is about 500 meters to a roundabout which is situated west of the N227, where the D146 (a part of this D146 is called "Rue Nicolas Appert") is crossing the this N227 (which carries the name "Boulevard du Breucq", and is part of the E17). Avoid the working hours and days: this entrance to the highway has a lot of traffic sometimes, and not so much room for a car to stop safely. It is better to do it early in the morning. Have a "TOURNAI"-sign. Why? Because many cars take the direction of Valenciennes instead.
September 2017: roel guldemond dropped Nati, from Argentina, at this roundabout 11h00 in the morning. She claimed to found a hitch in 5 minutes. January 2022: Thomi found a hitch there in less than 10 minutes at 07h30. but an other time, no one stopped in two hours of waiting at 11h00
- Alternative 2
The first gas station on this highway, Aire de Froyennes, is right before Tournai. To get there, you can also take a regional train from Lille, Pont de Bois, Ascq or Baisieux to Froyennes. The border crossing by train is very expensive, so the best way to get there safe is to have an Ilevia train ticket (1.70 EUR), which is valid in the whole territory of the European Metropolis of Lille (MEL). Once the train crosses the border, just hope that the controller won't show up - worse case, use your best acting skills to pretend that you thought Froyennes was part of the metropolis. It is a very quiet village in which you'll have to walk around 15 minutes to reach the gas station. From there, most of the cars go to Brussels but you can easily find a hitch to the main Wallonian cities (Mons, Charleroi, Namur, Liège). (January 2022 Thomi put his thumb up, and the second car stopped and proposed a ride to Brussels)
Going Northwest? Take the A25 towards Dunkerque, Calais, London (see English channel crossing)
See above, going north: Go to metro station « Porte de Postes ». Here is a big roundabout. It's possible to get a ride in several directions. Westwards : direction Calais/Dunkerque (via A25). For those going to Calais or Britain, the last gas station is Aire de Saint Laurent, located northeast from the town of Steenvorde. Make sure to stop there to avoid being stranded in Dunkerque.
--Roelguldemond (talk) 12:19, 11 December 2013 (CET) Comment by Roel september 2017 : I edited this page intensively. I have been deleting quite some information which seemed to be outdated or redundant. I described several options. Sure there are more options! But I have tried lots of these possibilities myself.
There are check-tickets, often. And that's not so easy to know where they are and when... If you are a French speaker, they are not nice = if you don't pay the bill, they will take money on your bank account directly (for me, it was one year after but VERY expensive... so even if you don't live in Lille but in France, an advice: pay sooner as possible...) I don't know what happened for strangers... Maybe, they won't worry you too much. You can buy an 3 inter-stations ticket. It's for 0.70€, three stops (without the departure station) but they can't really check where did you start your trip :) and it's half less expensive.
The commuting network covers the whole European Metropolis of Lille (or MEL). It means that when you activate an Ilevia ticket, it is valid in the whole territory of this metropolis for one hour in metros, buses, tramways and even regional trains running in the MEL.
Lille is expensive and is not very comfortable for the outdoor person. You probably won't have much of a problem with the police, but the drunks take being lunatics very seriously and they don't ever seem to pass out and leave you alone. As a result, you'll be met with all sorts of unwanted babbling conversation and one even tried to strangle Zactalk with a belt. Gare Lille Flandres is especially inhospitable. You can still pitch your tent outside of the main urban areas, reachable by regional train or bus (see section Transportation).
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70.000–100.000: Roubaix • Fort-de-France • Argenteuil • Tourcoing • Montreuil • Saint-Paul • Avignon • Saint-Denis (Réunion) • Versailles • Nanterre • Poitiers • Créteil • Aulnay-sous-Bois • Vitry-sur-Seine • Pau • Calais • Colombes • La Rochelle • Asnières-sur-Seine • Champigny-sur-Marne • Rueil-Malmaison • Saint-Maur-des-Fossés • Bourges • Antibes • Dunkirk
If you search cities with less than 70.000 inhabitants, have a look at the seperate Région articles. You find them at the bottom of this page.