Hosted once a year since 1970 on Ascension Day, this massive flea market welcomes over 2,200 exhibitors and 40,000 shoppers from all over northern Europe. And if it only ranks third behind the Braderie de Lille and Amiens, it is only in terms of size. The Foire aux Puces de Crèvecœur-le-Grand has indeed something Lille and Amiens do not have: a strict policy regarding the type of merchandise that can be sold there.
While the Braderie de Lille and the Réderie d’Amiens are more like huge garage sales and swap meets, the Foire aux Puces de Crèvecœur-le-Grand is a real flea market, where almost exclusively rare items can be found. Sellers of home appliance, clothes, food products, cosmetics, car stereo equipment, DVDs, toiletries and likes are banned from the premises, to the benefit of merchants selling antiques, crockery, silverware, old furniture, French provincial decor, vintage linen, glassware, books, clocks, vintage toys, collectibles, militaria, and more.
In fact, just like the Bric-à-Brac de Marsac, almost 70% of the 2,200 exhibitors who sell at the Foire aux Puces de Crèvecœur-le-Grand are professional antique dealers. Flea market enthusiasts and antique shoppers who attend this 8 miles long flea market know they will find quality items there. And this is the reason why the Foire aux Puces de Crèvecœur-le-Grand has been successfully operating for almost 50 years. People who travel to Crèvecœur-le-Grand, know they won’t go home empty-handed.
In fact, because of the quality of its exhibitors, the Foire aux Puces de Crèvecœur-le-Grand attracts many foreigners accustomed to picking only the best antique fairs and flea markets in France. Antique dealers and enthusiasts come as far as the UK, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany, to look for objects that French do not buy any more, like old clocks, linen, glassware, or antique furniture from the 19th century. Foreign visitors are part of the success of this flea market, and this explains why they come back year on year.
As always with great flea markets, the early bird gets the worm. And to be among the first on site, antique enthusiasts get up early. Very early. The first wave of visitors usually arrives at the Foire aux Puces de Crèvecœur-le-Grand, at around 5:30 or 6 am (some even show up at 3 am with a flashlight). The second wave is expected around 11 am and the third wave around 2 pm. As in previous editions, the most assiduous shoppers do not hesitate to sleep on the spot. First come, first served.