For quite some time now, I’ve heard a lot of great things about the city of Lille, in the north of France. On the first week-end of September is held the city’s annual Flea market, it’s too easy and too good of an occasion not to go there 😃 Let’s discover what it’s all about.
The flea market, known in french as the “Grande Braderie” originated in the 12th century, and is the largest event of its kind in Europe. It gathers over 10,000 sellers and a few million attendees from several countries, mostly from France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. In result, this 200 thousands inhabitants city quickly gets in a state of strong effervescence 😉
Xavier -my friend Camille’s brother- offered to host us and invited us both to party for the week-end. Lille counts almost 100 thousands students, and at this specific time of the year, a lot of them are taking advantage of the event to do housewarmings parties. Before fully getting into it, I take a few minutes to capture the view from Xavier’s shared flat. I love the view from up here, they’re located in the heart of the city!
If you also plan party during the Braderie, just know that during the daytime a lot of strolling awaits you. The whole city is taken over by “Bradeux” -sellers with stands- and buyers, it all becomes a huge mess where you can bargain-hunt basically anything, from electronics, to furniture, clothes, food, vintage and new, crap and valuable… While there, a good thing is that you have food everywhere. You can try the typical mussels and fries, and have a Belgian or French beer while enjoying music played in the open, by stands and bars. In some streets the crowd is even so thick that you can’t really go forward nor backward anymore, just a slow flow of human people.Try to avoid those streets when you see them, there’ll always be another (faster) way around.
The flea market also takes over Lille’s historical center –le vieux Lille– a district with a lot of paved streets which concentrates the city’s activity : bars, restaurants and shops mainly
At nighttime things get even more interesting. Music levels intensify, and DJs play at every corner now. It’s actually starting to look like a proper festival, with lots of techno and house music, gathering mostly young people, but also older generations. It’s good to have an event like this where everyone’s dancing together. We spend the night in le Vieux Lille on a public square between two great sound-systems.
On the Sunday, Lille is still crowded, the Braderie only ends at midnight. I go for a last walk around and try to find some old photo gear, but unfortunately I think I’m a bit late for good bargains I eventually end up chilling by the northern canal, and checking the place we were at, the night before.
Visiting Lille was definitely a good experience, it reminded me a lot of Rennes (Bretagne), where I did part of my studies : lots of students, lots of activities and an all around great mood 😏 The only thing is, now I’m more curious to see the city in its normal state, without the Braderie. I clearly will come back soon and check it out !