It’s official: amid sanitary concerns linked to the threat of the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus, the French city of Lille has canceled La Grande Braderie – the largest flea market in Europe. The huge annual event, which was to take place on Saturday, September 4, 2021, and Sunday, September 5, 2021., will no longer go ahead due to the threat of new COVID-19 variants.
Making the announcement at a press conference, Lille’s mayor Martine Aubry, said that “the necessary continuation of the vaccination which has not yet reached a sufficient level, as well as the arrival of new variants, lead to many uncertainties and have led us to consider by precaution not to organize the Braderie. So for the third time in its history, the Braderie de Lille will not take place. It is a heartbreak for us, as for all the regulars of our great Braderie. But the fight against the pandemic must remain the priority. “
For thousands of flea market enthusiasts from abroad, the cancellation of this highly awaited event (which attracts each year nearly 2.5 million visitors and features more than 100 km of stalls and hosts 10,000 exhibitors) is nonetheless, a heavy disappointment. And even though our own security is absolutely paramount, many visitors are left with no other alternative than to simply cancel their trip to Lille.
For the less fortunate who cannot make new travel arrangement and will travel anyway to France, be aware that some of the best flea markets in Belgium are less than a hundred miles from Lille! Belgium is known for being a true paradise for flea market enthusiasts and bargain hunters, and some places like Tongeren, Brussels, Waterloo and Temploux have already made history.
Here is a list of 5 flea markets within a 120 miles radius from Lille, which are worth visiting in September.
Brocante Les Bastions
One of the most attended flea markets in Belgium, that brings together 200 sellers from all over the country and beyond the border. Every Sunday @ 04:00 -13:00. 28 km / 17 miles from Lille.
The most famous flea market in Brussels, and a great starting point to go antiques shopping in the rue Rue Blaes. Located in the heart of the Marolles district in Brussels, it is certainly the most famous flea market in Belgium’s capital city. The flea market at Place du Jeu de Balle welcomes every day of the year, more than 450 professional sellers. Every Monday – Friday @ 06:00 – 14:00 / Saturday – Sunday @ 06:00 – 15:00. 120 km / 74 miles from Lille.
Broc’ Antik Market Belgium (formerly Waterloo Flea Market)
Once a week, around 120 flea market vendors and antique dealers gather on the parking of the Carrefour supermarket in Waterloo, to sell a little bit of everything from antiques and retro items to junk and just the plain bizarre. Every Sunday @ 06:00 – 13:00. 115 km / 71 miles from Lille.
For more than 30 years, Tongeren has seen a crowd of more than 350 exhibitors and about 40 antique shops gather once a week to display their best merchandise to the numerous visitors, in one of the largest weekly flea market in Belgium. Every Sunday @ 06:00 -13:00. 200 km / 124 miles from Lille.
A true “Champs Elysee flea market” run both by Liegeois and other citizens of the Euroregion, The Saint Pholien flea market is located just a few steps away from the city center of Liege and gather every week around 200 sellers (mostly professional merchants). Every Friday @ 05:00 – 13:00. 200 km / 124 miles from Lille.