The citadel of Lille

The citadel of Lille from the sky

A true jewel of the heritage of Louis XIV’s great architect, Vauban, the Citadel of Lille is an active military structure that still belongs to the French army, which notably hosts the 43rd Infantry Regiment.

The building impresses both by its spectacular dimensions and its architecture, it was classified as a historic monument in 2012.

Built on the orders of King Louis XIV by Sébastien the Prestre Marquis de Vauban and nicknamed by its designer himself the “Queen of the Citadels”, its design comes after France took over Lille from the Spanish in 1667, to defend its recent conquest and its new frontier.

The king then asked his engineer to build a fortress that would also serve as a military base. It is part of the important “Pré Carré” which delimits the border with Flanders, part of the double line of fortified towns between Gravelines, Dunkerque and Maubeuge-Rocroi.

The Citadel was operational in 1670, Vauban created a new district around the rue Royale, which is now one of the main streets of the “Vieux Lille”.

Completed in 1673, the Citadel required nearly 2000 men, 60 million bricks, 3.3 million cinder blocks and 1800m of sandstone.

The military structure is surrounded by the Citadel Park, which is divided into several parts forming the largest green space in Lille. The Bois de Boulogne and its 60 hectares along the Deûle where the Marin d’Eau Douce base for renting electric boats and licence free is located.

La Citadelle also shares its land with the recently opened Cita Parc, an 8500 m² amusement park for young and old that will complete your day of activity with our electric boats and licence free but also with the Lille Zoo.

Located at the foot of the Citadel, the zoo opened in 1950 and now receives more than 800,000 visitors. It is divided into 6 thematic areas and will give you the opportunity to meet more than 100 different animal species. The Lille zoo is one of the most visited tourist sites in France (excluding Paris).

Boating with friends on the Deule

Marin d’Eau Douce and its licence free electric boats welcome you every day of the week to our base located just next to the Citadel Park.

At the start of our tours, you will have the opportunity to sail along the Parc de la Citadelle and explore Lille like you never imagined!