Lille, France

I spent the month of August discovering the gorgeous city of Lille in Northern France. I went there for a clerkship at one of the city’s hospitals and I absolutely fell in love with its culture, its people and everything it had to offer. Lille is one of France’s biggest cities and yet it still has this rustic feel to it – especially in its older streets, aptly called Vieux Lille.

I made a lot of memories in that city. I won’t go down memory lane and enumerate them for you because I’m fairly certain you couldn’t care less. But I am thankful for getting the chance to go there and meet the people that I met and make those memories that I cherish now.

Xavier & Camille, our amazing French hosts and friends that made us feel at home – literally – for the entire month that we spent there, this is for you. Thank you for everything.

Here are some of the many pictures that I took of the beautiful city of Lille. I’m not a professional so these are not meant to be impeccable – but I do hope my love for the city comes across in them.

Palais des Beaux Arts

Palais des Beaux Arts

Another old street in the city

Another old street in the city

A parc bench in the city

A parc bench in the city

Rue de Bethune

Rue de Bethune

The city's opera house

The city’s opera house

Vieux Lille

Vieux Lille

The view from our apartment

The view from our apartment

A statue next to Palais des Beaux Arts

A statue next to Palais des Beaux Arts

A war monument

A war monument

One of the city's cathedrals

One of the city’s cathedrals

Lille France Street

Welch - one of the city's specialities

Welch – one of the city’s specialities

Lille France Restaurant Comptoir 44

Inside one of Lille's cathedrals

Inside one of Lille’s cathedrals

A mural found in one of Lille's subway and train stations: Lille Europe

A mural found in one of Lille’s subway and train stations: Lille Europe

One of the specialties of the North

One of the specialties of the North

Beer, another specialty

Beer, another specialty

Another street in the old parts of the city

Another street in the old parts of the city

One of the streets of Vieux Lile

One of the streets of Vieux Lile

The opera house

The opera house

Gargoyles

Gargoyles

The city's heart - place du General De Gaulle also known as Grand Place

The city’s heart – place du General De Gaulle also known as Grand Place

Lille doesn't like Sarkozy

Lille doesn’t like Sarkozy

Old Street Lille vieux Lille France

Another street in old Lille

These pictures were taken using a Nikon D5100 and edited using my iPhone 5’s Camera+ app.

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Support Wickerpark 2012!

Wickerpark is an annual festival that takes place in Batroun and which I, as a Batrouni, feel especially proud about. This year will be the second time it’s held after a successful first run last year where over 1500 people attended the two-day festival.

The funds collected were donated in their entirety to the Ministry of the Environment for the replanting of trees in areas ravaged by recent fires, after a campaign centered around “Give Nature a Chance.”

Lebanese mainstream media, however, didn’t care much about Wickerpark. Why’s that? It could be due to the environment ranking so low on our concern radar.

This year’s Wickerpark is about a different issue entirely. Being the coastal city that it is, Batroun has many active fishermen that collect sea urchins in order to sell them. Many people also have a hobby of hunting these sea urchins. As a result of extensive exploitation, their level has declined on a yearly basis until our sea has very few urchins left.

Wickerpark wants to help change that by fundraising efforts to repopulate the sea. In order to do so, they’ve enlisted the help of students at the Marine Biology Center in Batroun. (You can see a picture of one of its unfinished buildings here). So in a way, supporting Wickerpark will not only be helping the Lebanese environment but you’d also be helping fellow Lebanese students in their research and that is always very needed.

The two-day event will take place at an open air venue in Batroun, right by the sea.

The tickets are sold at Librairie Antoine for $30. One ticket will allow you access for the festival’s two days on June 29th and 30th.

On the first day, you’ll be able to attend short-film screenings, ecological fairs, artist exhibitions as well as a series of small acoustic sets.

The second day will be the music festival, featuring different Lebanese bands (No, Meen is not one of them unfortunately):

  • Karl Mattar
  • Sae Lis
  • Who Killed Bruce Lee
  • The Flying Circus
  • Zeid & The Wings
  • The Beirut Groove Collective

Last year’s music festival

The ads for Wickerpark 2012 are quite fun as well. The campaign this year is called “When Nature Pokes Back.” You can watch the ads here:

Come on people. Think about it this way: Batroun is a beautiful city (proof). A weekend in Batroun will definitely be an awesome time. And you’d also be supporting a great cause while also having fun. All of you are also on summer breaks as well. You simply have no excuse not to attend.

Come on Lebanon: Vote For Jeita Grotto for the New 7 Wonders of Nature

The final stretch of the vote is here: we have one month left.

I know we’ve all gotten tired of it but we can’t let down now. We’re almost there.

And I have good news for you.

We can now vote via text – no more those long registration steps and choosing six other wonders we don’t really care about.  And no, it’s not even an expensive text. Shocker, I know. We must really want to win for not using this to make money. It’s simply 10 cents per vote.

What to do?

Send the word “Jeita” to 1070. You’ll receive a reply acknowledging your vote.

So vote. And vote frequently.

And for those who are always short on credit, you can always use your many emails to make accounts on: http://www.new7wonders.com