September 3, 2012

La braderie de Lille

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I love La braderie de Lille, it is just such a mad, and very French, weekend. The whole of this elegant city is taken over by Europe’s largest annual flea market for 48 hours. There is an air of ‘anything goes’ and indeed not only are the streets taken over by stalls selling bric-a-brac of varying age and quality but there are bands everywhere, piles of moules outside the restaurants and of course, on the Saturday, a half marathon running through it all!!

This was my second visit and so we headed straight for Facade de l’Esplanade, the road circling the Citadel park where the more established brocanteurs set-up shop. Clearly the old school trend is showing no sign of letting up – it’s as if someone in France simply decreed ‘we’re making over the schools, take it all’ as there were desks, maps, books, lockers, clocks, science blocks and all sorts of classic school kit.

Bafflingly, to my mind at least, there were also heaps of branded glass stalls. Shot, beer, wine glasses, pitchers, ashtrays, ice buckets – you name it, if it was branded it was there.

Another tip learnt from the last visit: Take a Granny trolley! This year, we strolled about knowing we could make any purchase we liked (save large furniture) safe in the knowledge that we wouldn’t have to worry about how heavy it was or think about doing tedious relays to the car. A trolley is a must.

On leaving we walked past the Gare de Flandres Lille. In the area in front we counted no less than nine South American pan pipe style bands. Bizarrely, all were dressed not in traditional Peruvian / Mexican / Ecuadorian etc kit but rather in full native North American Indian dress complete with accompanying pictures of wolves everywhere. Very strange!

A fab trip, highly recommended for next September.


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