Saturday, September 6, 2014

Lille's Grande Braderie

This weekend Lille plays hosts to the largest flea market in Europe.  This town in northern France and  only 1 hour by TGV train from Paris welcomes every year on the first weekend of September bargain hunters and bric a brac seekers from all around Europe. Some 3 million people are expected to descend on this magnificent northern city, a gem of 17th century Flemish architecture ...

Francois  Watteau
La Braderie
Musee: Hospice Comtesse de Lille
The origin of  the braderie of Lille   is traced back to 1127 as Lille held a renowned medieval street fair.  In 1446 two merchants asked for the permission to sell roasted chicken at the fair.  The word "Braderie" came into being as  roasting in Flemish is translated as "Braden".  Originally, this fair or Braderie run for seven days.  In the 16th century, this event became  also the occasion for a yard-sale as servants were given permission to sell the used goods from their employers.

Office du Tourisme de Lille
Over  the centuries Lille's braderie had  been mainly a local tradition, but in recent years,  it has gained  much popularity in France and throughout Europe as a 'must' event of the "rentree"   attracting visitors from far and wide.  10,000 exhibitors are expected to line the boulevard and side streets of Lille's center selling  books, old records, furniture, antique and custom jewelry, paintings, used clothing , games and ethnic arts and crafts.  Buyers will be looking for bargains and the unexpected treasure to bring home. The braderie  takes place from saturday early afternoon continues throughout the night until sunday noon.  

The  event is  enlivened by music and other street entertainment and for hungry shoppers and vendors, the traditional mussels , french fries and beer are a "must" to keep going.  

Office de Tourisme
de Lille

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