The Braderie

A shopping event that takes places all over town!

Imagine spending an entire weekend walking the streets, buying second hand items and eating mussels and fries. Thousands of people shop this way every year.

In the middle ages, servants won the right to sell their masters’ old and unwanted clothes and jumble on the streets of Lille. The sale lasted from sunset to sunrise and proved so popular that eventually the masters joined in. The event soon established itself as an annual event. The tradition still lives on in the form of the modern day braderie – a word which roughly translates as ‘jumble sale’.

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On the first weekend of September, Lille becomes a giant flea market. Over 200 km of sidewalks and doorways are overrun by stalle, trestles and pitches. For thirty-three hours non-stop, car are banned and the streets become pedestianised areas packed withlocal people and visitors buying and selling their second-hand goods.

Vendors vary from professional bootsale traders, antique dealers to ordinary people selling unwanted items. Even the metro runs throughout the night ensuring everyone can come and get safe in the knowledge they can get home. You can be sure that every hotel room is booked during this period.

Anything and everything goes and people come from all over Europe to join the giant non-stop shopping party.

Traditionally, hundreds of tons of mussels, fries and merguezes (thin sausages) are consumed. Throughout the event, the empty mussel shells create ever enlarging mountains. Though this creates an ever increasing whiff of the sea, there is an element of pride for the stall or restaurant which has managed to gather the biggest mound of shells.