Earth > Europe > Western Europe > France > Nord-Pas de Calais > Lille
Getting out of Lille is quite difficult, but not impossible.
A22/E17 North towards Antwerp, Brussels, Gent, Netherlands
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You can avoid getting stuck in Lille by getting out at the last petrol station on the A1. "Aire de repos de Carvin" is quite a big station, good for hitching, and it's 15km 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.
Or else, get to the gas staion on the N356 about 800m north of metro station Mons Sarts. (Need to jump a small fence and get through some bushes to get into here). From here you can find lifts going into Belgium and have the chance to talk to drivers.
The border is also quite a good spot. To get there you'll have to take the Line 2 of the metro until "C. H. Dron" (last stop, and actually already in Turcoing, not in Lille). It takes more than 30 minutes from the center of Lille though. From there to the A1 is about 15-20 minute walk (just follow the signs indicating the motorway from the roundabout next to the exit of the station). The A1 on ramp there is not a very good place to be, you can try for a few minutes though if you're already tired walking. Otherwise the border is some 500 meters down the highway. There is space to walk behind the safety barrier. Once there, you'll see the abandoned border terminal. Get past it, and there will be plenty of room to hitch. Speed is limited to 50 km/h there. You can try to catch a ride into the Netherlands or just get a ride to the gas station 5 km into Belgium at Kortrijk where loads of Netherlands folk stop for a refill.
- First option
The best way to get to Paris is to take the metro to "Porte d'Arras". From there walk in the direction of the motorway, cross the bridge and then make a left and you will see an accelerating lane going onto the ring. The best is to stand next to the traffic lights just before the ramp with a sign. People have time to stop on the ramp if they want to take you. You may want to aim for the direct ride to Paris and have a "Paris" sign but you can also play it safe and have an "Aire de Phallampin" sign which is the first petrol station on the A1 going to Paris. Garthelgard has hitchhiked from this spot more than twenty times and has never waited more than 30 minutes.
- Second option
Go to the big roundabout at the end of Boulevard de la Moselle. It's possible to get a ride in almost any direction. It's safe for cars to pull over and one can ask also at the traffic lights.
- Third option
the best option is the one shown on the map at the end of "Boulevard des Cités Unies" but for some reason no one wrote it here... Porte D'arras is in the middle of the slums. It's fucking hardcore.
To go via the A26 southwards direction Reims its quite senseless to ask people at the "Aire de Phallampin". Rather let someone take you to the Peage right before the junction between A1/A26. Stand at the Peage with a Sign "A26/Reims" makes more sense.
A22/E17 South towards Paris
Take the tram-line line T to Chateau Rouge. As you get out, you'll see the motorway directly in front of you. The spot is the motorway slip road - you'll see it signposted 'Paris'. It is not ideal - especially if there is more than one of you and you have baggage - because the slip road is curved. This presents a safety issue that puts many drivers off and there are no lorries, rather it is is largely traffic domestic to Lille.
When I was there there wasn't a lot of traffic, but there is an additional lane which allows drivers to safely pull in and pick you up. The problem is that not all the cars taking this route are going to be heading south - make a sign and be patient. International Bob stopped a number of cars here, and got onto the A1 within an hour.
If you can find somewhere to hitch a lift to a nearbye service station (on the Paris bound motorway) this is much better. Pete the Temp and a friend failed on the above spot and got a lift to a service staion the next day and found a lift quite easily.
Dunkerque, Calais, England, A25
Take the subway to Saint-Philibert (red line). Then take the bus 61 (to this place, there is only one direction possible) to CENTRE COMMERCIAL (ENGLOS). Here, go back to the roundabout (20 meters). There is a direction to DUNKERQUE. There is not so much place to stop but the traffic isn't very high and cars are slow. If people don't reach Dunkerque directly, doesn't matter, that's in the good direction anyway. Go with them and take the entrance... Even with slow traffic, bad weather, you will find a lift very quickly. There are two area services between Englos and Dunkerque, and no one between Dunkerque and Calais. Most of the truckers you will see in service areas will go in England and going with them permit to through the sea for free!! Event if it's long to waiting for them, it could be nice!
About the subway
There are check-tickets, often. And that's not so easy to know where they are and when... If you are french, 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.
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.