Bag a bargain at Europe's largest flea market, Braderie de Lille, where you can get some amazing goods for next-to-nothing prices.
- When: 2nd - 3rd September 2017
- Where? Lille, France
- Price: The market is free to enter but bring some money for hidden gems
We've all heard the expression 'shop til you drop' but at Braderie de Lille, shoppers should take it quite literally. Europe's historic flea market stretches over 100km and takes nearly 40 hours to walk. It will see around two million shopaholics fleeing to the north of France in search of hidden gems that put the va-va-voom into shopping.
Every year the charming city of Lille hosts the most anticipated flea market in Europe known as Braderie de Lille. The grand history of this event dates back to the 12th century when the Lille Fair was first documented. Come the 16th century, servants would pack the streets selling their masters' goods and old clothes. Every century since, the variety of merchandise has grown and today, around 10,000 vendors sell everything from artwork and antiques to quirky homewares and vintage clothing.
Given the scale of the event, areas are assigned to particular sellers so the flea market is easier to navigate. Maps can be downloaded or collected from the Lille Tourist Office so you know exactly where to go to get what you're looking for. Although the best bargaining is done on the Sunday when stalls drop prices further to sell their remaining stock, the very best items are snapped up shortly after the Braderie de Lille kicks off at 2 p.m., so perhaps it's wise to do a little window shopping beforehand.
However, the bargain-hunting isn't the only good thing about Braderie de Lille. The two-day event boasts a buzzing carnival atmosphere where local communities and tourists are showered in high spirits with the partying continuing on the streets after the market shuts down for the evening. Feeling hungry? It is traditional for Lille's restaurants to sell mussels and chips during the event and they compete to see who can build the highest tower of mussel shells. In 2014 it was estimated that 500 tons of the tasty shellfish were gobbled up by hungry shopaholics.
If you've got an eye for a bargain, Europe's best flea market is the only place to be this September. But out of everything you buy, a comfy bed might just be your best purchase of the weekend.
- Get there: Fly into Lille or take the Eurostar from some European destinations then use public transport to get around.
- Stay: Find somewhere to stay in the city centre so you can easily travel.
*We do our very best to verify the dates of our events but please check with the official event provider before booking your flights. We would hate for you to be disappointed!