giant flea market in Lille

LILLE BRADERIE - septembre 2014 051

Rain or shine, the market takes place every year, always on the first weekend of September. The center of Lille turns into a giant pedestrian zone and nearly one million visitors come to buy, sell, barter, stroll, chat with strangers, drink beer and have a good time.  Called La Grande Braderie, (braderie comes from the verb “brader” which means “to dispose of” or “to sell off cheaply”), it’s a festive tradition in this northern city.

LILLE BRADERIE - septembre 2014 009LILLE BRADERIE - septembre 2014 025LILLE BRADERIE - septembre 2014 022The sky was leaden on Saturday and the atmosphere slightly subdued. But the sun came out on Sunday.LILLE BRADERIE - septembre 2014 042LILLE BRADERIE - septembre 2014 010“How much for the dog?”, I asked.  He was sitting on a large postcard collection.LILLE BRADERIE - septembre 2014 057Alpha males.LILLE BRADERIE - septembre 2014 059This is the only item I bought for 8 euros. Its purpose is to drain rinsed strawberries, radishes, grapes, etc.  Not very exciting, I’m afraid.LILLE BRADERIE - septembre 2014 072Here’s Martine Aubry, the Socialist mayor of Lille since 2001, much-loved by the Lillois citizens (in the middle wearing a red jacket.)LILLE BRADERIE - septembre 2014 033And here’s the Socialist Party booth where beer and “moules-frites” are served, a speciality of the region (mussels and fries).  Up until the end of the 1970s, the major industries in Lille were coal, mining and textiles.LILLE BRADERIE - septembre 2014 065LILLE BRADERIE - septembre 2014 066Every year the local Communist Party puts up their booth called La Lutte Ouvrière (The Workers’ Struggle).  An anachronism.  I’m amazed that the party still survives.LILLE BRADERIE - septembre 2014 037

I walked past the booth and took a photograph.  

“Journalist?” a man asked.

“Capitalist!” I replied with a thumbs-up sign, and walked on.

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