Americans are curious to see how they do things across the pond, and flea marketing is no exception. Just an hour outside of Paris, France, by high-speed train, the town of Lille is home to one of the largest flea markets in all of Europe, the annual two-day Braderie de Lille. As one of the most anticipated events in the country, this lively event dates back to medieval times and attracts almost two million visitors each year.
The Lille Flea Market begins on Saturday, August 31, at 2 p.m. and goes until 11 p.m. Sunday, September 1. With more than 10,000 exhibitors over 62 miles of streets, the Braderie de Lille is divided up into sections.
As one of the most anticipated events in the country, this lively event dates back to medieval times and attracts almost two million visitors each year.
A range of second-hand items, including furniture, ornaments and crockery, are to be found on the Façade de l’Esplanade. This road runs along the Deûle canal, opposite the Champ de Mars. The boulevard Jean-Baptists Lebas, part of which is an urban park, is exclusively reserved for antique dealers, as are the boulevard Louis XIV, the rue Debierre and the rue du Réduit. In Wazemmes, the atmosphere is incomparable on Sunday morning, when the flea market becomes part of the animation and color of the place de la Noubelle Aventure. In the small alleys of theOld Lille are stalls for boutiques and distinctive products. Finally, between the Porte de Roubaix and the Opera, the Arts quarter welcomes about 30 professional second-hand goods traders from England. The sectors involved are the rue Léon Trulin, rue Anatole France, rue des Arts and rue de Roubaix.
To take a break from the crowd, shoppers can take a walk in the Citadelle Park or visit the zoo, which offers free entry. At the Champ de Mars, a fair with 200 attractions runs from Saturday night until 5 a.m. Sunday.
The city, entirely transformed into a huge pedestrian area, offers those keen to buy and to sell a large number of stalls and products in a vibrant atmosphere. While many U.S. vendors and shoppers may not have the opportunity to visit the Lille Flea Market in person, it can be fun to see how this centuries old market continues to be managed with great success.