Driving to Lille From Calais

  • Driving guides
  • France
  • 3 min read
Driving to Lille From Calais

The capital of the Hauts-de-France region is just a short drive from the LeShuttle terminal. Here’s our guide to the best routes from Calais to Lille, and what to see on the way.

Driving To Lille From Calais

Lille is the capital of the Hauts-de-France region and a short hop from the LeShuttle terminal in Calais. It is a great spot for a day trip or as the first port of call on your France road trip

Once in Lille there are plenty of things to see and do, from strolling around the Old Town, with its historic buildings, art galleries and boutiques, to picking up a bargain at the Wazemmes Market. 

Check out the possible driving routes from Calais to Lille, journey times and places of interest en-route below. 

A large European city square with a monumental pillar and fountain and people walking and milling about

The quickest route – via the A16 & A25

Lille is a mere hour and 15 minutes drive from Calais if you take the A16 eastwards towards Dunkirk. Take the N225 road at Dunkirk and follow south-east. This becomes the A25, then follow all the way to Lille. There are no tolls on this route! 

Places to visit en-route

If you have a few hours to spare, stop at Dunkirk – it’s the main place of interest on your route. The seafaring city has plenty of museums and parks, but it’s probably the beaches and dunes that will capture your imagination. Here in 1940 over 300,000 Allied soldiers were rescued in the biggest military evacuation in history. The Operation Dynamo exhibition in Dunkirk tells the story of those historic events. Walking the beaches, you may even unearth fragments of the many ships that were wrecked during that fateful summer. 

A grand civic building with an ornate tower, with a marina and harbour with moored boats

The A26 and A25 via Saint-Omer 

This route will take around an hour and a half, and there are some tolls to pay along the way, but it has the advantage of taking you close to Saint-Omer. 

Points of interest en-route

With its wonderful wetlands and astonishing wartime heritage, the Saint-Omer region has much to offer. High on the checklist for most visitors are the wartime bunkers at Helfaut-Wizernes and Eperlecques, and messing about on a bacôve in the Audomarois marshes. 

Saint-Omer is also a great place for good food and drink, as well as a round of golf.  

An ugly featureless and windowless military building in a forest clearing. A person stands in front of it.

For those not in a hurry – via the A26 and A1

If you have more time, there is a more leisurely way to drive from Calais to Lille. It will still only take around an hour and 45 minutes. From Calais take the A26, but follow the motorway all the way down to Lens, before joining the A1 northwards to Lille. This route has tolls.  

Places to visit en-route

Beyond Saint-Omer, the city of Lens is the main reason to come this way from Calais to Lille. Lens has an industrial history, and suffered greatly in both World Wars, but in 2004 it was chosen to be the home of the Louvre-Lens museum. The first permanent satellite museum of the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the striking glass and steel building is on the site of a former coal mining yard and set in 50 acres of parkland. 

Prestigious collections from the Louvre are on permanent display, as well as temporary exhibitions. Also close to Lens are several war memorials, including the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. 

A classic 1970s alpine building with large apex roof and dark wood balconies on each floorThe Time Gallery in the Louvre-Lens museum ('Musée du Louvre-Lens’, by Freddy de Hosdent, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Drive to Lille with LeShuttle

LeShuttle can get you to Calais from Folkestone in just 35 minutes. The choice is yours on how you want to drive from Calais to Lille. In fact, Calais could be your starting point for all manner of destinations across France and Europe, and we have lots of other driving guides available to plan your trips.

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