As much as I love Paris, I can see why Parisians like to get out of the city occasionally. Many Parisians have second homes in France to get some open space and away from the crowded metro, stores, cafes, etc. So for my first day trip out of Paris, I chose Lille in the north of France near the France-Belgium border, the fifth largest metro area in France. The city architecture has a mix of French and Flemish influences and is only an hour by train from Paris’ Gare du Nord. Here are some photos (if you’ve noticed a pattern in these photos – that of a gray sky – it’s because, well, it’s been quite gray and rainy for the most part so far).