Along with the end of the Summer (might as well face up to it) come the sales and all the frantic bargain-hunting that goes along with it. During the first week of September, however, you could go on a cheeky bargain trip to Northern France, where over a million visitors haggle to their heart’s content at one of Europe’s largest flea market.
The Braderie de Lille is legendary for the huge number of stalls (more than 200km) and visitors (around 1m) it attracts every year. This year, the Braderie occurs on 3rd and 4th September. Lille is the capital of the Nord-Pas de Calais region and only a short drive away from Calais, P&O’s French port.
Among the city’s squares, pavements and the many Flemish buildings and cathedrals, there will be hundreds of stallholders offering their wares, and bargain hunters from all over the world to inspect items, haggle over them, and walk away either cursing themselves or whistling with the knowledge of having secured a gem in the shape of an antique rug, a handbag or a shirt.
Of course, there will also be a plethora of different foods available to sample, most notably the piles of mussel shells fresh from the sea, whose contents are served with chips (“moule frites”). There will also be live music as well as a half-marathon which takes place on Saturday morning.
Local shops will offer some serious discounts on their stocks, but other city districts will be filled with second-hand stalls where you’re guaranteed to find something to take home. Antiques, for example, are mainly traded on the Esplanade alongside the Deûle canal, whereas in the Old Lille district designer stores rub shoulders with private residents’ stalls.
The Braderie de Lille takes place on 3rd and 4th September, starting at 2pm on the Saturday and ending at 11pm on the Sunday. To get there, you can get a P&O Ferry to Calais, from where it is only an hour’s drive to Lille.
Image credit: vacation2