LILLE IN EFFERVESCENCE...from 31st August to 1st September 2013
Two days of shopping madness takes place during the first weekend in September each year and draws over a million visitors to Lille. This is undoubtedly the biggest flea market in Europe
Imagine 100 kilometers of pavement space occupied by stallholders from the city and from all over Europe. Ever since medieval times, when valets obtained the right to hold an annual sale of their masters' cast-off clothes and belongings, everything has been to buy and sell here.
Other than bargain-hunting, another tradition has established itself here - that of a bowl of mussels and chips ("moules-frites") along with a glass of local beer.
A trip around town by minibus will allow you to visit Lille before or after the event. During the weekend of the sale, the city is transformed, the pedestrian is king and everyone joins in the celebration!
Lille Flea Market starts on Saturday at 2 pm and goes on until 11pm on Sunday.
Further information about the Flea Market can be found below!
History of the Flea Market
The origins of the flea market are not well-known. In the Middle Ages, valets obtained the right to sell their masters’ unwanted clothes and other items once a year. This custom allowed citizens of Lille as well as foreigners to sell off their merchandise.
During the 19th century, the flea market developed further, and nowadays the flea market is a place where it is possible to buy and sell everything and anything! Antiques, clothing, jewellery, decorative objects etc. The city, entirely transformed into a huge pedestrian area, offers both those keen to buy and visitors a large number of stalls and products in a good atmosphere. The tradition from the Middle Ages has continued and Lille’s flea market remains the most highly anticipated autumn event!
The Flea Market by area
On Saturday morning the half-marathon takes place, and around 5,000 people take part in the different categories: the half-marathon, the 10,000 metres and the baby marathon. Runners start at the boulevard de la Liberté and finish at the rue de Paris, which is opposite the town hall.
Not far from there, the place Simon Vollant (around the Porte de Paris) is transformed into a village of associations.
If the pedestrian streets (rue Neuve, rue de Béthune, rue du Sec-Arembault) offer more of an opportunity to resident stores to sell their summer collections at discount prices, other areas offer second-hand items.
A range of second-hand items (furniture, ornaments, crockery, collections of items etc.) are to be found on the Façade de l’Esplanade (this road runs along the length of the Deûle canal, opposite the Champ de Mars). In between two negotiations and to take a break from the crowd, nothing could be better than to take a walk in the Citadelle park or to visit the zoo (open from 9 am to 7 pm on Saturday and Sunday, free entry). At the Champ de Mars, the fun fair and its 200 attractions keep going throughout the night of Saturday to Sunday until 5 am!
The boulevard Jean-Baptists Lebas (part of which is an urban park of 3 hectares) is exclusively reserved for antique dealers, as are the boulevard Louis XIV and the rue Debierre and the rue du Réduit.
In Wazemmes, the atmosphere is incomparable on Sunday morning, when the flea market becomes part of the animation and colour of the place de la Noubelle Aventure.
In the small alleys of the Old Lille are stalls for boutiques and for distinctive products.
Finally, between the Porte de Roubaix and the Opera, the Arts quarter welcomes about 30 professional second-hand goods traders from England. The sectors involved in this involve the rue Léon Trulin, rue Anatole France, rue des Arts and rue de Roubaix.
The flea market will be open from Saturday 31st August at 2 pm to Sunday 1st September at 11 pm.
How do I get around?
During the flea market, the pedestrian is king! Access to the city center is impossible by car. It is therefore necessary to use the train and public transport. TER trains, metros, buses and trams will take you where you want to go.
The SNCF runs a special service throughout the duration of the flea market, day and night, with 83 extra TER trains (Regional Express Trains). In addition, users benefit from a 50% reduction on a return journey made during the day on Saturday 31st August and Sunday 1st September.
The metro works non-stop throughout the day of the flea market (including the night from Saturday to Sunday).
A “Pass’Braderie”, which allows you to use any form of public transport whenever you want during these 2 days is sold for 4.70 euros (tickets on sale from the end of August). For those visiting for one day, the normal “Pass’Journée” (Day Pass), available for 3.60 euros, allows travellers to travel when they wish throughout a one-day period.
You can park in the carparks situated at the main access points to the city. They are linked to the flea market by metro: the car parks are at Saint-Philibert in Lomme, Cité Scientifique and 4 Cantons in Villeneuve d’Ascq.