Today I’m in Lille (French pronunciation: “lil”), a city in the north of France. The old town is very pretty, but here’s a little known fact about how Lille got its name.
I took today’s picture on a small cobble street called ‘Rue de Pétérinck.’ A parallel street hints and the ancient history of Lille’s beginnings. That street is called ‘Rue d’Angleterre’ which means ‘England Street.’ It was named after the country of the people who first moved here and founded Lille a long long time ago.
Back then it was a very small village that, for the longest time, didn’t have a name. However one day a traveller from far away found himself here. Lost and confused by the omission of this quant little village from his map, he had little choice but to knock at the door of one of the few houses in the village.
A little old English lady answered the door and listened as he explained his predicament to her. She nodded in sympathy, then kindly pointed him in the right direction. As he was about to leave the traveller turned and asked the little English lady “Why doesn’t your village have a name?”
The little old English lady, who had made this quiet corner of France her home, explained the reason in her strong English accent. “It’s cuz the place is so lille, innit.”
And so it was that Lille was named.
Totally true… maybe.
Stand where this picture was taken using Google street view.
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