Braderie, Lille, 2017

Market mayhem: at the braderie

Nothing quite prepares you for the craziness of the braderie in Lille. This weekend’s annual street market traditionally stretches over a whopping 100km throughout the city.

The braderie has been a feature of the city’s calendar since the 11th century. In 2016 it was cancelled for security reasons and this year, I’m told, it’s a bit smaller than before.

Nevertheless, it’s massive. In the week we came to Lille, so did the rest of the world, it seems. More than 2 million people are expected to have visited the city by the end of trading this afternoon.

Braderie, Lille, 2017

Some of the visitors are experienced bargain hunters. They’ve come with trolleys ready to stuff with their purchases.

There is plenty to buy – though not all of it is good. Among the more questionable items I saw for sale yesterday were a box of clock pendulums, a string of Smurfs and more stuffed animals than I have ever seen in one place.

Braderie, Lille, 2017

Clearly, one man’s piece of toot is another man’s treasure.

One of the most imaginative displays we spotted was of showroom-dummy children being used to sell old-fashioned school desks. Full marks and a gold star to whoever came up with that idea.

Braderie, Lille, 2017

We spent the day making our way round the stalls – well, some of them. We couldn’t get to all of them, of course.

We fell in love with a pair of Art Deco cream leather armchairs but couldn’t quite justify the asking price. There was a trunk we liked too, but its price seemed to increase as we stood admiring it. No one likes to be taken for a mug, so we left it.

The high street shops don’t want to be left out in the cold, of course, so they all run sales during the braderie. Damon and I both bought macs for the autumn – for a whopping €20 each. Bargain!

“In the week we came to Lille, so did the rest of the world, it seems. More than 2 million people are expected”

Moule frites is the traditional dish of the braderie. This year, Lille is aiming to beat the world record for serving the most moules in a day – 500 tonnes of mussels in 8 hours. They could easily reach their target: everywhere is selling moules.

We even saw a print shop that had become a pop-up eatery for the weekend.

Live music and DJ sets kept the party atmosphere going well into the night. This morning, the city is quietly surfacing, ready for more of the same today.

If you haven’t been before, you should come. It’s full-on, it’s mad, it’s a carnival. What a way for us to start our new life in Lille. We’re loving it.

This entry was published on Sunday, 3 September 2017 at 09:57. It’s filed under Places and people and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

12 thoughts on “Market mayhem: at the braderie

  1. How joyous! It is has been on my wish list for a long time so I must make the effort sometime. What a way to start your new life …. as though the city put on a party tailor made for you! And those moules – I am boggled!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a perfect start to your new life – it is as if the whole city is celebrating with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. .am loving it …and I AM SOOOO jealous.. this sound awesome… book me in for next year… I have a shopping trolley..ha ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, brilliant

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s incredible how a street market can draw so many people! Can’t say I’d be queuing up for those stuffed animals though, taxidermy gives me the heebie jeebies.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Me neither, but the rest sounds like huge fun. Glad all is positive

    Liked by 1 person

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