The first weekend of September, Lille turns into a gigantic flea market, half-fair, half-popular festival, on the occasion of the famous Braderie. A tradition deeply rooted in Flemish culture since the Middle Ages, where you can find everything: objects, of course, but also these people from the North who are well worth the detour. Human, very human ...
A popular event par excellence
Each year, we expect it firmly and with great excitement in Lille. And for good reason… The Braderie is the popular event par excellence, one of those which make the identity of the North. An unmissable event in the social and economic life of the capital of Flanders, which is preparing, once again this year, to attract some two million visitors. Well anchored in the local culture, this event, which takes place this year on September 2 and 3, enjoys a reputation that goes far beyond our borders. But, in fact, a clearance sale, what is it? A gigantic urban and festive happening, which is both a garage sale and an auction fair. With, as a bonus, these good smells of merguez, mussels in seafood, fries, waffles and beer so dear to Jacques Brel (and many others for that matter!).
We've been selling out since the Middle Ages
The origin of clearance sales dates back to the Middle Ages. According to oral tradition, servants were allowed to sell second-hand clothes and other used items from their masters once a year. This custom, widespread in all Flanders, allowed the bourgeois and the squires to supplement the meager salaries of their employees at a lower cost. The event was called "frank foire" because no tax was imposed on the exchanges. Clearance sales have grown over the centuries. Today, Lille becomes every first weekend of September the largest flea market in Europe. In addition to the pleasure of being at the heart of a big party, people come there to empty the attics and expose their mess. The Nordic city then gives itself the air of Arab souks.
Kick-off Saturday, September 2 at 15 p.m.
The kick-off is officially given on Saturday, at 15 p.m.: the "bradeux" unpack their stuff, even if, in reality, the professionals have already negotiated the best locations in the morning, effectively pushing back the bradeurs. used further. Over dozens and dozens of kilometers of sidewalks, lawns and medians is a giant market. From all over Europe, more than fifteen thousand sellers are trying to convince two million bargain hunters (double the population of the Lille Métropole agglomeration!). We sell and we discuss everything and nothing. We have fun with many street attractions and dance to the sound of orchestras. We drink and we eat, of course. Mussel shells pile up on the sidewalks forming surreal pyramids.
But, as in any good mess, there is a certain order. Because, in fact, we do not sell off just anything, anywhere. Thus, the Louis XIV boulevards, de la Liberté and the surroundings of the Hôtel de Ville are rather reserved for “high-end” antiques. While the esplanade attracts the good bourgeois, the heart of the northern popu is found in Old Lille and rue Gambetta. But, over the hours, we sometimes get lost a bit, because the clearance sale is a great collective mixing ...
You can find everything at the Braderie, especially people ...
Until Sunday evening, at midnight, you can find everything in the streets, from the trinkets made in China to the Louis XV canopy, including a seventies disc eater, a hard-wearing Laguiole knife, an African mask or, why pas, a collector's Guide du Routard. Artists take advantage of the “Art Braderie” space to exhibit their works. But there is above all the incredible crowd of Lille, immense human tide and concentrated of all humanity in a city, from the proletarian to the aristocrat, from the Groseille and the Quesnoy, Hubert, Mohammed, Hans, Gianni, Tadek, Chen And the others. In short, all the diversity of the Nordic land. Because, much more than objects, the Braderie, it is the people of the North, the good-natured atmosphere, the bustle and the good humor of two days of pure madness. In short, it's to live!
Where to sleep ?
Hotel Le Moulin d'Or: 15, rue du Molinel. Phone. : 03-20-06-12-67. Doubles at 60 €. An establishment with rooms, certainly small, but comfortable, offering excellent value for money. Smiling welcome.
Where to eat ?
Le Coq Hardi: 44, place du Général-de-Gaulle. Phone. : 03-20-55-21-08. Open every day. On the Grand-Place, this typical Lille house serves tasty, plentiful and inexpensive regional cuisine. Menus from € 10,40 to € 18.
- Lille Tourist Office: Rihour Palace, Rihour Square. Phone. : 03-59-57-94-00 or 0891-562-004 (0,225 € / mn). Internet: www.lilletourism.com.
- Toll Free Number, Phone. : 08-10-59-59-09.
The Braderie officially begins Saturday September 2 at 15 p.m. to end Sunday September 3, 2006 at midnight.
Along with the Braderie, the Lille town hall is organizing a half-marathon on 2 lille.com.
The Fair at the Rides of the Champ de Mars remains open non-stop all weekend.
Many activities take place throughout the city: Breton music, English clearance sale, concerts, village of Lille associations… Internet: www.mairie-lille.fr.
With more than 100 km of stalls, the Braderie stretches from Vieux Lille to Wazemmes, passing through the center and Moulins.
SNCF offers a 50% reduction for all round trips to Lille during the weekend from all stations in Nord-Pas-de-Calais. For 2,30 € added to the SNCF ticket, a pass allows free travel for one day on the Transpole network.
Many TGVs run from Paris-Gare-du Nord (return ticket from € 72) and provincial towns.
Air France connects Lille to most provincial towns. Internet: www.airfrance.fr.
Getting around Lille
Metro, tram and some buses run non-stop from Saturday morning to Sunday evening. The Lille town hall offers two options: the “grand bradeux” pass, at € 4,60 for two days and the “bradeux d'un jour” at € 3,50.
Access to the heart of the Braderie is impossible by car.
Car parks on the outskirts of Lille Grand-Palais, Urban Community.
Car parks linked to the Braderie by metro: Porte des Postes, Porte d'Arras, Saint-Philibert (Saint-Philibert metro), Cité Scientifique (Cité Scientifique and 4 Cantons metro) via the Citadine, Porte de Valenciennes and Norexpo.