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Remembered Today:

Lille Braderie


ArmyOfficer
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I'm going to the Braderie; anyone else?

Does anyone have any experiences or advice? I know Williamson's book talks a lot about it but have never been before

Kevin

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I've never been, but have friends in the Nord who wouldn't miss it - apparently its the Olympics of Jumble/Car Boot/Mega Mussell Fest/Street Party in the world. Mind you, you'd have to be cautious about heading for anything that made the roads round Lille any busier!

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I have been a few times, but it is very well known now and much harder to get bargins; but with 60+km of stalls, there is always a chance.

My advice is not to drive in, but take the train and local underground. The parking is terrible during that weekend, and the thieves everywhere: we actually stopped basing our tours in central Lille because crime is such an issue there now.

Having said all that, it is well worth going to at least once!

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Absolutely agree, this will be my fifth year, it's a real experience. Takes a couple of trips to get your bearings and work out the areas to stick to, but well worth the trip. As to parking, I drive in and park about quarter of a mile out and have never had a problem (famous last words...). You also need a street map, when the roads are heaving with people and stalls, they all start to look the same - first time we went we spent a couple of hours on Saturday evening trying to figure out where we had parked the car... not an experience I would wish on any pals, believe me !!

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It depends what you want. If you are looking for WW1 memorabilia, then you will be disappointed - a bit of over-priced, poor quality trench art and that's it. Braderies were originally loft and cellar clearance sales with some interesting low price bric-à-brac on offer, but the big ones have become increasingly commercialised dominated by shops and direct selling outfits and I am afraid that is how Lille's has become. To find something of original spirit of the Lille braderie try the Esplenade or Aveune du Peuple Belge; these are away from the city centre. But go early to get there before the UK antique dealers arrive.

Paul's point about crime in the centre of Lille is well-made - if you go be on your guard. I would also say that the whole event is over-crowded, with too many people in a very confined space. I find the Saturday evening of the Lille braderie very frightening; massive crowds, near-darkness, no crowd circulation policy, booze - it's got all the ingredients for a major tragedy. And each year the crowds get bigger ... . There was a 'near miss' in December when the the opening of Lille 2004 City of Culture was celebrated. For me the whole event neatly typifies the difference between Latin and Anglo-Saxon attitudes to risk and health and safety management; in the UK it would not be managed like this - in fact it would not be allowed.

If you want to go to a good braderie, something much smaller in scale, but quite big enough with four rows of stalls, each over a mile long, and not dominated by commerical concerns, try La Madeleine braderie. It's held on the 3rd Sunday of May; La Madeleine is a 10-minute walk from the centre of Lille. This year I picked up a nice pair of 75mm shell cases fashioned into flower jars for a few euros

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