Lille Flea Market - La Braderie

This weekend saw the massive flea market that takes place every year in Lille. 

Known as "La Braderie", it is quite simply a monumental event - I have never seen or experienced anything quite like it! Street upon street is literally dripping in vendors offering everything from the bathroom sink to a can of baked beans. 

Having just got back, here are some pictures from La Braderie 2010!
(for some reason, my photos are in reverse order, but enjoy them anyway!)

There is one menu this weekend - piles and piles of them!

As you can tell - I like signs!

Early Sunday morning - about 7am. Only way to beat the crowds.

Looking for a tailors dummy? I've got five!

Surely worth buying simply to get about - its so huge!

When in Rome... ;)

Photo was taken about 9.30pm - selling still goes on.

Taken about 9pm - the market almost becomes a carnival

Spot the word!

Spot of site seeing!

So busy - it was quite hard to see the stands!

This photo was taken on a quiet street!

This button seller had travelled from Paris.

Happy memories!

Typical market items for sale

Breakfast comes in many forms!

Early Saturday morning - we're off and running!

La Braderie, Lille. Europes biggest Flea Market!

Every first weekend of September, Lille is the capital of bargain-hunting!

The Braderie de Lille is Europe’s largest flea market, and certainly one of the most well-known events in France and abroad. Between one and two million visitors stroll up and down the city streets, entertained by music and the numerous performances that take place from 2 pm on Saturday to 11 pm on Sunday.

Enjoying a dish of “Moules - Frites” (mussels served with chips) has become a deeply-rooted tradition and is the subject of a contest between the town’s restaurants to see who can build the highest mountain of empty mussel shells!

The Lille flea market in figures:

33 continuous hours of treasure hunting, bargaining and fun
100 km of stalls
10,000 exhibitors
1 to 2 million visitors
500 tons of mussels consumed
5,000 participants in the semi-marathon race, on average
The history of the flea market

The flea market’s origins remain a bit of a mystery. In the Middle Ages, servants obtained the right to sell their masters’ old possessions once a year. This custom soon combined with Lille’s fair, where the town’s inhabitants, as well as foreigners, could freely sell their goods.

Moreover, in the 15th century, two poultry merchants had the great idea to “provide meat” for the fair-goers. They obtained the right to sell their products to the passers-by and the buyers who were already numerous at that time. Braden, Flemish for roast, may be the term that gave the flea market its name.

Of course, in French, “brader” also means “to sell at a low price” and it is well known that you can sell and buy anything at the Lille flea market: antiques, clothes, jewellery, decorative objects etc!

Transformed into one gigantic pedestrian zone, the city offers treasure hunters and visitors alike a vast number of stalls and buying opportunities in a friendly atmosphere governed by the rhythm of the swarming crowd. Ever since the Middle Ages, the tradition has lived on, and today, the Lille flea market remains the most awaited event of the fall season.
The flea market by district

Whereas the local shops on the pedestrian streets (rue Neuve, rue de Béthune, rue Sec-Arembault) offer bargain prices on their summer collections, other districts are entirely dedicated to second-hand goods.
Antiques (furniture, bibelots, crockery, collections, etc.) can be found on the Esplanade (alongside the Deûle canal, in front of the Champ de Mars). To take a break between bargaining sessions and escape the crowd, there is nothing better than a walk in the Parc de la Citadelle or in the zoo (open from 9 am to 7 pm on Saturday and Sunday, free entry). On the Champ de Mars, the fun fair and its 200 attractions run non-stop on Saturday night, until 5 am Sunday morning!
In addition to Boulevard Louis XIV, rue Debierre and rue du Réduit, Boulevard Jean-Baptiste Lebas is exclusively reserved for antiquarians.
Nothing compares to the Sunday morning atmosphere in Wazemmes when the flea market blends with the lively, colourful market of the Place de la Nouvelle Aventure.
Along Boulevard Victor Hugo and in the Moulins district (rue d’Arras, rue de Douai, rue de Cambrai et rue de Maubeuge), the inhabitants hold a true garage sale.
The narrow streets of Old Lille are divided between the stalls of designer shops and those of private residents.
Finally, between the Porte de Roubaix and the Opera, the Arts district welcomes about thirty professional antique dealers from England and Burgundy. You will recognize them by their flags flying on rue Léon Trulin, rue Anatole France, rue des Arts and rue de Roubaix.
Practical information
The flea market is held from 2 pm on Saturday 6 September, to 11 pm on Sunday 7 September.
Getting around Lille
During the flea market, the pedestrian is king! Access to the heart of the town is impossible by car. Therefore, it is best to take the train and use public transportation. Regional trains, the subway, buses, and trams will get you where you want to go.


Some photos from the Paris Flea Market

Some quick photos from the Paris flea market!

Vintage buttons:

Vintage tins...

Old Bobbins

What a great stand for old flower pots!

Covent Garden Antiques Market, London

Every Monday morning - throughout the year - Covent Garden in London, is a bustling antiques market. Thankfully, its undercover too!

A variety of stall holders appear from goodness knows where, empty their cars and spread their wares across tables for us all to gaze upon with delight. You will find all sorts here - glassware, silverware, ceramics, furniture, collectables of every kind, vintage clothing, paintings, leather luggage - its all here!

Being a central London market, prices are not the cheapest, but there is always a bargain to be had and most dealers are very friendly and prepared to haggle to a fair price. Get there early!

Its easy peasy to get to - Covent Garden tube station is a stones throw and every time I go, I always manage to find a parking space for the car either in Tavistock St. or neighbouring roads.

Covent Garden itself is home to an abundance of cafes and bistro's so you won't go wanting in the nourishment department either!

So, well worth a look if you are in London on a Monday morning - or to be honest, its worth travelling to anyway. Some real characters and always lots of fresh stock to view. And... with the atractions of London on its doorstep, what are you waiting for?!

Orleans Flea Market, France

The city of Orleans is a delight and so is its flea market.

Held every Saturday morning in a car park on the busy Boulevard Alexandre Martin, its only a stones throw (well, a couple of hundred yards) from the city's amazing and impressive cathedral and vibrant array of shops and attractions.

The 80-120 or so vendors who appear early in the morning, display their wares in boxes or heaped on blankets and table tops. Their goodies will appeal to bargain hunters and collectors of all pockets. Rustic items, linked to the agricultural and fishing heritage of the surrounding region, are very much in evidence – tools, buckets, jugs, wine-making implements, planters, baskets, fishing rods, glass domes (used to protect young plants), etc. You will also see finer ceramics and porcelain, and good-quality linens, alongside crates of kitchenware and utensils.

I have always found prices to be generally reasonable and vendors are keen to sell. One great thing about this market is that even if you attend each week, there is plenty of new and fresh stock to scour through.

There is plenty of parking available - its generally free on a Saturday around the market but check with the meters before parking. Orleans is well placed and accessible from Paris and with the fabulous TGV, it is easily accessible as a day trip from Paris - you can be back in time for a lovely supper by the Seine!
Lastly, just across the road from the market is the fabulous Cafe Vincent - perfect for a morning croissant and espresso. Mmmnnn....!

Nice Flea Market

Nice Flea Market is one of the finest places on earth - sun, sea, great food and a buzzing, vibrant weekly antiques market - what more could you want!?

Every Monday, come rain or shine, from early morning to mid-afternoon, Nice's old town thats dripping in character is filled with around 300 flea market vendors selling their wares. Situated in the Cours Saleya, this is a moderately high-quality market; however, bargain hunters can also hunt for a cracking find, particularly in the adjacent place Pierre Gauthier, where odds and ends are piled on the ground and goods are more of a 'flea market' or house clearance nature.

A large variety of collectables is on offer from silver, glassware, paintings, vintage clothing, posters, travel items, ceramics, local paintings, toys, rustic wooden items, jewellery, etc. Some sellers pile their wares on the floor - some on smarter tables. The more expensive items are often priced and the cheaper items generally are not - expect some brisk haggling as this is a market where people come to buy!

One of the highlights of this market for the general visitor, is its fabulous location. The Cours Saleya itself is surrounded by cafes and restaurants to suit all budgets and tastes. The glistening blue sea beckons you just 50 metres from the market - surely a place where all senses can be titillated!

Parking is easy and a huge underground car park rests right underneath the market itself. My advice - get there before 10am as it tends to fill up after mid morning. The rest of Nice lays a few hundred yards behind the market and a superb day is guaranteed for one and all!