Lille is a city in northern France, in French Flanders. On the Deûle River, near France's border with Belgium, it is the capital of the Hauts-de-France region and the prefecture of the Nord department.
As of 2009, Lille had a population of 226,827 within its administrative limits, and an urban population of 1,015,744, making it the fourth largest urban area in France after Paris, Lyon and Marseille.
Archeological digs seem to show the area as inhabited by as early as 2000 BC, most notably in the modern-day quartiers of Fives, Wazemmes, and Vieux Lille.
The original inhabitants of this region were the Gauls, such as the Menapians, the Morins, the Atrebates, and the Nervians, who were followed by Germanic peoples: the Saxons, the Frisians and the Franks.
The legend of "Lydéric and Phinaert" puts the foundation of the city of Lille at 640. In the 8th century, the language of Old Low Franconian was spoken here, as attested by toponymic research. Lille's Dutch name is Rijsel, which comes from ter ijsel (at the island). The French equivalent has the same meaning: Lille comes from l'île (the island).