The website for the lovers of the french lifestyle Live in France like the French


PICTO CURIEUX Created with Sketch.

An annual tradition

Every year in Lille, La Grande Braderie takes place at the begining of September and is the occasion of a long weekend of festivities. A landmark event of the region, La Braderie announces the end of the summer, as well as the imminent "back to school" period with its bargain hunt.

A mythical event...

It is one of the biggest popular gatherings in France and the largest flea market in Europe with an average of between 2 to 3 million visitors who flock to it every year.

The city becomes a huge open-air garage sale with nearly 100km of stalls, the streets become pedestrian only, bargain-hunters arrive in large numbers to stroll around and to hunt, residents set up their stalls on the paths in front of their homes, and those who have a stand are free to sell what they want , used goods, as well as new goods for the local traders. Every year they are about 10 000 stall holders or "Bradeux" .

The origins of this gigantic flea market date back to the Middle Ages. In the 17th century, the foreign merchants had the right to come and sell their goods for a period of thirty days. Then it was the turn of the servants who were allowed to sell their masters' worn goods for a day. It's during the 1970's, a period of strong rejection of the consumer society, that the market as we know it today takes it's shape. With the exception of the 2016 edition, cancelled for security reasons following the Nice attack, and the editions prevented by the Covid-19 epidemic, the event has taken place every year since.

... with some very peculiar customs

If you are visiting Lille on this occasion, you won't be able to avoid the traditional mussels-chips-beer combo that characterizes the spirit of the event and will help you to regain a bit of strength after all that walking around the market.

The mussels consumed are counted in tons and quickly become part of the show. Each restaurant piles up the empty shells in front of their restaurant, in hope of being the one who sells the most.

The shells are then recycled to make tiles.

For the last thirty years, La Braderie traditionally opens with a semi-marathon that takes place on Saturday morning and to which thousands of runners participate. Then it's party time! The market is accompanied by numerous food stalls and amusements-especially for children at the Saint-Sauveur station, as well as concerts all around the city.

In short, whether you know what you are looking for, or not, let yourself be carried away by the atomosphere and you will surely have some nice surprises and a lot of unexpected ones during this unparalleled popular fair.


Aglaé Dancette from Comme des Français



Also not to be missed in Lille :