Grande Braderie de Lille

The Lille flea market is the largest flea market in Europe and one of the most famous events in France and beyond its borders

Just an hour outside of Paris by TGV, the town of Lille is home to one of the most anticipated events in France: the annual two-day Braderie de Lille flea market. As the largest flea market in all of Europe, this vibrant event dates back to medieval times and now attracts almost two million visitors each 1st weekend of September. The “Braderie” (French for “sell at a low price”) flea market features over 10,000 exhibitors hawking their wares with everything from knick-knacks to treasures.

Saturday kicks off the Braderie de Lille flea market, and as with any yard sale, the first day offers the best selection. Make sure to be there early – the Braderie de Lille already starts Saturday morning and last until dawn, before it starts again on Sunday morning and ends in the evening. Because the streets will get crowded and may even come to a standstill at times, it pays to do your research to know what you want to purchase ahead of time.

There are tons of original pieces on sale at this flea market, but there are also many items that are seemingly mass-produced just for the Braderie de Lille flea market. With over 62 miles of vendors, the Braderie de Lille flea market is divided up into sections: the smaller boulevards, the friendlier non-professional vendors (where you’ll find smaller antiques, records, and books), and the larger streets where there’s a huge selection of new ethnic items for sale, including fabulous artwork and paintings.

Besides French antiques and vintage items, there are usually also a large number of professional vendors who specialize in English antiques.

The Grande Braderie de Lille fair is a great place to find a hidden gem (the “pèrle rare” as French people would say), harvest nice vintage & retro items in large quantities, and – especially – to immerse oneself in an atmosphere that reflects the city itself: warm, friendly and festive, especially through the tasting of the traditional “moules frites” (mussels with French fries).

Antiquing Tip Of The Day

Before setting out on a buying trip, decide upon a style of antique that you like and you can afford.

— Judith Miller, antiques expert, writer and broadcaster
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4 reviews

  1. We have just returned from our 12th yearly trip to the Braderie in Lille.Usually on the 1st weekend of September it is an amazing experience.However like all large attractions it is best to take advice before you go.Stay away from the main streets, these are more markets.Wander around the quieter back streets where individual sellers are, these are genuine not professional.Most French people understand English but take a pad and pen to barter prices.We bought Lalique and Etling glass in these back streets for a fraction of the cost.Wonderful time ,roll on next year.Lots of walking but plenty of pit stops/bars.

  2. The first weekend in September, the city of Lille becomes a giant car boot sale or for the Americans a giant yard sale! The tradition goes back to medieval times, and is organized by the city. You can either set up a stand in front of your property or the city allocates a space to set up your stand (often a token sum). Great for bargain hunting and in the evening there are crazy street parties. Most restaurants compete for the best restaurant which is measured my who has the largest stack of mussels shells!

  3. You will find the most amazing things you never knew existed. However, avoid main roads in the center on Saturday afternoon if you can’t stand crowds. Don’t wear your best clothes or smart shoes. There are no taxis into town to or from the station because the roads are closed. Be prepared to walk some distance along uneven cobbled streets. The locals are very friendly and the Braderie is unforgettable.

  4. The Braderie in Lille is renowned for being the largest flea market in Europe. With over 60km of stands, and over 10,000 stall holders it would be impossible to see the whole market in the 36 odd hours that it is open. Therefore – plan ahead ! Do a bit of research and make sure you are spending time in the streets that have antiques and interesting items rather than the cheap tat in quite a few of the main boulevards. You can buy anything you need for your home here – old silver plated cutlery, crystal and silver candelabra, lampshades, toy cars, gilt mirrors, crockery, the list goes on.

    We used airbnb to stay centrally, which was great for the odd afternoon nap. The Braderie officially starts in the afternoon, but in practice people are out as early as 8.00am if not before, and the whole party continues overnight.
    Food prices great – roasted sweetcorn for €1, Mussels with chips which is the dish of the Braderie are between €10 and €15 for a gigantic portion, small beers are a couple of Euros. Saw public toilets twice, drink/eat in cafes and bars to use theirs. Occasional enterprising people renting for use of the loo in their home.
    Take very comfy shoes, and plenty of layers, weather was very changeable! Did see a number of people in wheelchairs, but going is tough due to most of the streets being cobbled. Came home with a couple of small chandeliers, lamps, unworn boots, and a bed !

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