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Lille has two main train stations, Lille Europe and Lille Flanders. (Gare de Marchandises Saint-Saveur is no longer a station, and instead hosts art exhibitions and the like). Lille Europe is the new station on the high speed lines between London / Paris / Brussels, while Lille Flanders is the original station now used for a mixture of local and high speed trains.

For some rail journeys, changing trains in Lille is the best option (avoiding having to cross Paris to change trains), and for others it's the only option. Sometimes you get lucky and both trains use the same station in Lille, but not all.

For the cases when you find yourself needing to change between Lille Flanders and Lille Europe stations, what's the connection like? Does it take long? Is it outside / inside? Is it a faff with luggage, or is there a step-free route for most of it? Are you best to walk, or take public transport? And a lower concern, is there anything interesting to see of the town during the transfer?

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Here is what google maps has to show about it: http://goo.gl/maps/5a1qq –  mouviciel Oct 20 '12 at 16:21
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up vote 6 down vote accepted

It turns out that the ever great Man in Seat 61 has a great page on changing trains in Lille that covers this very thing.

If you really want to, you can take the Lille Metro between the two stations. It's just one stop, journey time measured in 10s of seconds, plus the wait for trains! If you have a through SNCF ticket, the metro connection is free, otherwise it's €1.40 for a ticket. (It's not clear from the SNCF website if only through tickets count for free transfer, or any from the other station, but there are no barriers if you did decide to chance it...) There are lifts at both ends, but they're not always that easy to spot, or there are escalators for most but not all of the way.

Alternately, it's a short and mostly covered walk. Between the two stations is the Euralille shopping center, which features some interesting modern architecture and sculptures that's worth a look. There's also often some other artwork around, eg currently there's an installation piece on the pond by Lille Europe. The walk is about 400m, and takes about 5 minutes without luggage. It's fairly well signposted, and from both stations you can see the other.

From Lille Flanders, take the signposted exit from near the end of platform 8. Cross the little plaza by the taxi rank, and walk along the edge of the Euralille shopping center. Walk to the right of the bridge, down the slope past the artwork, up the escallators and into Lille Europe station.

From Lille Europe, follow the signs for Lille Flanders, and exit half way along the platform. Down the escallators, and walk up towards Euralille. Cross the plaza in front of Lille Flanders station, and you're there!

If it's raining, you can do most of the route under cover by walking through the Euralille shopping center for much of it. If it's raining very heavily, you can miss the outside bit near Lille Flanders descending to the metro, then walking along the subway tunnel that links Lille Flanders Metro with Euralille.

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If your ticket requires a change between the two stations in Lille (eg you are travelling on train 1 from A to Lille Europe and train 2 from Lille Flanders to B) then your ticket on the metro is actually free. See the second white box on the top of this page: gares-en-mouvement.com/fr/frlle/horaires-temps-reel/dep there is no physical system that stops you from walking onto the metro, so you would only need to show your SNCF ticket if challenged. –  Rich Oct 22 '12 at 20:29
    
I'd seen that mentioned on FourSquare, thanks for the authoritative link to confirm it! I've edited the answer to include that info –  Gagravarr Oct 22 '12 at 20:52
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