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Looking on a city centre map of Lille, I spotted a very interesting looking 5 point Citadelle at the edge of the old town, as handily shown by OSM:

http://c.tile.openstreetmap.org/14/8330/5510.png

I wandered over there, and saw some impressive looking walls and ramparts, but after a short walk round part of the surrounding park I couldn't spot anything about being able to go in.

Is the Citadelle generally open to tourists? And if not, are there any times when you can visit the inside of it?

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This reminds me of a citadel in Alessandria, Italy I found by walking around randomly, which didn't seem to be developed for tourism at all. I got the impression at the time that it was in use by the military. But Googling for it now I find it's a UNESCO world heritage site! –  hippietrail Oct 20 '12 at 4:38
    
The Lille citadel has a Wikipedia page by the way. In Wikitravel it's included in the city's "must see" section, but no information on visiting it is included. –  hippietrail Oct 20 '12 at 4:38
    
It turns out that the Lille citadel has always been military-owned, and this is believed to be the main reason it has survived so well. It currently hosts the Headquarters Rapid Reaction Corps - France, which is related somehow to NATO. This suggests to me you can't visit as a tourist, but you never know... –  hippietrail Oct 20 '12 at 4:47
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2 Answers 2

Assuming that this page (which also has more details about the citadel and what's inside) is still up-to-date, it appears that it is possible to visit only via pre-booked guided tour costing e7 booked via tourist office. So seems that the tourist office should have all the details.

The Official Lille Tourist Office page says:

THE CITADEL
...
The Lille Citadel is still occupied by the army and may only be visited as part of a guided tour organised by the Tourist Office. (guided tour only in French).
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I'll pop by the tourist office in a little bit then, and ask them about the tour –  Gagravarr Oct 20 '12 at 10:04
    
Brendan, try to avoid links like "this page", your second link is the way to do it: Why shouldn't we use words such as 'here' and 'this' in textlinks? –  hippietrail Oct 20 '12 at 10:13
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up vote 3 down vote accepted

Following the information that @BrendanMcK found, I headed to the Lille Tourist Office this afternoon to ask them. (As an aside, the tourist office is worth a visit in its own right, as it's in an amazing old building!)

According to the tourist office, they do run tours of the Citadelle, but only on Sundays in the summer. Summer is apparently defined as starting in June, and ending in September. It certainly doesn't extend to October! I was told that they do two tours a day on summer Sundays, at 3pm and 5pm.

We'll need someone to visit Lille one weekend next summer to confirm any further details!

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I visited Lille last weekend (Feb. 2014) and I can confirm that as a visitor, you can only visit the ramparts. This was also confirmed by an employee of the parking nearby. Like one of the comments stated, the Citadelle itself is in active use by the military (Rapid Reaction Corps HQ). I witnessed several vehicles entering, and I believe the drivers were wearing uniforms. –  pleinolijf Feb 10 at 10:24
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