“With Eldorado, Lille presents worlds from yesteryear”

From 27 April 2019, Lille is set to be transformed into a mecca of Mexican arts and traditions. It will be a great opportunity to explore the city, especially for those who love fine food, architecture and the arts, whether American or European. The event’s cultural adviser Didier Fusillier gives us a taste of the festivities to come.

For this 5th edition, Lille3000 chose the theme of ‘Eldorado’. What’s it all about?

Didier Fusillier: “With ‘Eldorado’, Lille and its metropolis are inviting visitors to discover lost worlds, worlds carrying powerful messages, and the arts and popular traditions of Mexico and Peru. From the spring, you’ll be immersed in a very Amazonian atmosphere, with a treasure hunt spread across 30 parts of the city.”

Is ‘Eldorado’ more for museum lovers or street wanderers?

DF: “Both! Lille’s greatest cultural venues – including the Tripostal, the Palais des Beaux-Arts and the Gare Saint-Sauveur – will be fully involved in the event. If you appreciate contemporary art, up-and-coming artists, and the likes of Frida Kahlo or Diego Rivera, there’ll be something for you – but you can also choose to wander around and appreciate the Mexican colours and displays: gardens, cafés, restaurants, monuments and entire streets will be transformed. In front of Lille station, for example, you’ll see 10 ‘Alebrijes’ – wooden sculptures representing fantasy animals – each six metres tall. Step off the train and you’ll get straight into the mood.”

Is there a particular highlight not to be missed?

DF: “The event starts on Saturday, 27 April with a night parade. It will be an incredible show, with costumes, music, dance, and huge representations of characters or animals that will parade through the streets of the city: skulls, wild horses, bulls. In the procession there will of course be Mexican artists and musicians, but also thousands of Lille locals who will have contributed to the event. Dozens of music schools will play rhythms from Central and Latin America, creating an extraordinary atmosphere and drawing on their knowledge of the great Flemish street parties.”

Will you have to book in advance?

DF: “You’ll need to book the shows, but otherwise, all the exhibition spaces will be accessible the same day. For those who will have to wait a little between visits, don’t panic: Lille is a beautiful city. Admire its facades and landmarks, go shopping or enjoy one of the famous waffles.”

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Lille in Northern France