Here are the patron giants of Lille, Lydéric and Phinaert, supporting the tower of the Hôtel de Ville. According to legend—and I hope Elisabeth and MLL will put me right if I haven’t got the facts straight—in the year 620, a prince named Salvaert, fleeing an insurrection with his pregnant wife Ermengaert, was ambushed by Phinaert, a bandit lord. Salvaert was killed, but Ermengaert escaped and was taken in by a hermit. She gave birth to a son, Lydéric. When Lydéric was 20, he sought out Phinaert, challenged him to a duel, and defeated him. The King of France gave Phinaert’s lands to Lydéric, who founded the city of Lille.
There is apparently a wonderful view of the city from the tower, but it wasn’t open the day we were there. We had to content ourselves with looking around inside, where we found two more huge effigies of Lydéric and Phinaert in the auditorium.