Over two million visitors will flock to the pretty northern city of Lille this weekend for the annual shopping extravaganza otherwise known as La braderie de Lille. The largest flea market in Europe has its origins in the 12th century, and today the stalls—brimming with all kinds of vintage treasures and bric-à-brac—spread over two kilometers.
Each year the event kicks off with a semi-marathon which traverses the city streets. Lille throws quite a party- with concerts and culinary tastings galore. And if you’re craving moules frites, you’re not alone. According to the Flea Market Insiders, 500 tons of mussels are consumed annually at the Braderie de Lille.
If you’re looking for antiques, head to the le boulevard Jean-Baptiste Lebas, l’Esplanade and boulevard de la Liberté. The vide-greniers (individuals’ “attic sales”) can be found along the boulevard Victor Hugo and in the streets d’Arras, Cambrai and Douai. Collectors set up in the Vieux-Lille: place Louise de Bettignies and quai du Wault.
This year’s La braderie de Lille takes place on September 5-6. Lille is easily accessible from Paris by a one-hour TGV ride. For more information, visit www.braderie-de-lille.fr.
Reflections in pots at the Braderie de Lille; Boîtes a La Braderie de Lille; Fin de Braderie by Jean-François Gornet/Flickr
“La braderie” by François Watteau (1799-1800) at the musée de l’Hospice Comtesse de Lille/ photographed by Velvet/Wikimedia