Every year during the first weekend of September, Europe’s largest flee market takes place in none other than Lille, France. Dating all the way back to 1127, La Braderie de Lille is one of the most well-known events throughout France as well as its bordering countries. From Friday through Sunday, more than two million people make their way to Lille in order to check out this year’s haul. And really, it takes up the entire city. There is some organization to the layout, but I definitely failed to figure out the logic. With over 10,000 vendors, it feels just like one big jumbled flee market. Down every street and every corner, people are lined up ready to make a bargain and interact with onlookers. One can find everything, and I mean everything, at La Braderie, from antiques, food, toiletry items, clothing, knick knacks, toys, maps, posters, bikes, and plain old junk. Some streets are actual vendors with actual things to sell, others are laid out on blankets like an American-style rummage sale. It’s really luck of the draw, and sometimes you really need to be diligent and early if you want the luck of the draw!
It gets ridiculously crowded, like in these streets.
La Braderie is also known for its moule frites, aka mussels and fries. It’s not ch’nord without that and beer!
When les moules are eaten, the restaurant owners throw them on the street
Les frites, les moules, la bière!
Enjoying a ch’tis ch’nord meal, photo curtesy of my friend Matt.
Overall, it was a great introduction to my new home in Northern France. When comparing it to the souks of Marrakech and the Grand Bazaar of Istanbul, La Braderie definitely has its own unique spin. Have you ever been to La Braderie or another large flee market?