The reputation of this braderie is way beyond its merit. True, Lille is taken over by miles and miles of stalls and there is a very wide variety of old items on sale but the cliché that you can find anything here is completely untrue unless you are looking for a thousand varieties of tat.
Much of the periphery is taken over by cheap clothes/bags/belt stalls. In the centre, particularly the old town, much space is monopolized by shops simply displaying their wares al fresco. The vast majority of dealers selling 'old stuff' appear to be generalists so if you are a collector of, say, prints or kitchenalia or, in my case, Art Deco, you will find very few stalls devoted to your interest..... tho I do recall one stand devoted to miner's lamps! Equally prevalent is 'junk' as opposed to properly curated collectables. By this, I mean, too many stallholders chancing their arms that something they found in a skip and couldn't be bothered to polish, strip or clean has some value.
Though we spent the best part of a Saturday and, according to our pedometer, walked 14km trying to find something of interest, we ended up simply bored and tired and decidedly empty-handed. Add to this that you will need to park at the extremes of the city and the old town is intensely crowded, if you are truly interested in finding gallic treasure then try Saint Ouen in Paris but don't for one moment devote a weekend to this flea market with pretentions to be an antique fair as quantity clearly triumphs over quality.
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