Well, it's certainly been a bloody shambles of a year so far, eh? And who knows what awaits in the few weeks left to go. But at least some degree of travel is back, especially in and between countries in Europe. And today I'd like to talk about a destination in France that's rather off the usual tourist track. In the north of the country near the Belgian border, yet just an hour by train or road from both Iberia destinations Paris and Brussels, Lille (population around 233,000) is the country's fourth largest urban area, and capital of the French département Nord - which was originally part of Belgian Flanders and where Flemish can still be heard (Lille's name in Flemish, by the way, is Rysel). This year the city has been getting a spotlight shone upon it as the 2020 World Design Capital (designated every two years since 2008), thanks to its innovations in the wide-ranging field of design. And here's why that, plus its undersung charms and attractions, merit your attention if you're thinking of getting away this autumn.

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