Naively, by launching a call for testimonials on the Braderie de Lille to find out if people lacked it, we thought that opinions would be much more divided. Between the world, the impossibility of circulating or almost, the mixed smells of fries, mussels but also of pee and the incessant noise of nightly drinking, we knew that the Braderie de Lille was not unanimous. And yet, after this second cancellation in a row for health reasons, the third in six years after another cancellation in 2016 for terrorist risk, it is a loud cry from the heart that the Lille have let out.
Because the largest garage sale in Europe, which normally attracts nearly two million people to Lille every first weekend in September, is greatly missed by Northerners. 95% of the responses received are there to say how much we want the rapid return of this unmissable event which marks the end of the holidays, as Cécile says: “The Braderie is a bit like the reunion of Lille after the summer. Lille emptied for a summer, back to school is approaching and it’s an opportunity to meet and celebrate all together under the last rays of the sun. Good deals, music, snacks, a big pot of mussels… In short, we have all our habits and rituals ”.
“The musical atmosphere, the colors, the languages of the whole world”
To explain all that the Braderie represents, some even embark on lyrical flights like Adeline. “The musical atmosphere, the colors, the smells, the languages of the whole world… An effervescence, a dizzy spell in the head as they crisscross the streets and alleys where, savagely, people settle down, for an hour or a day, fighting the meter of macadam, giving tragicomic airs in the grayness of a chilly morning ”. “The clearance sale is to Lille what the carnival is to Dunkirk, the feria to Nîmes, the fest-noz in Brittany! », Summarizes Greg.
A heritage and a Lille identity that have been passed down for generations. “The Braderie de Lille has been part of my life for forty years, I have always known it. My father took part then my brothers. This tradition must continue and I am sure that when it comes back the people of Lille will be very happy, ”Perrine hopes.
“It was my favorite day of the year”
Eating a mussels and fries, drinking beers, strolling in the middle of improbable stalls, partying a good part of the night, it’s all the special atmosphere of the Braderie that makes Lille residents nostalgic like Karl . “It was my favorite day of the year. It’s the day when we get together with family and friends that we rarely all see at the same time. La Braderie is a celebration, ours. What I particularly like is this euphoria on the Thursday and Friday preceding, we feel that the whole city begins to bubble for Saturday, finally, explode. My best celebrations were Braderie Saturdays. “
Same nostalgia that emerges from Joris’s side. “Two years is a long time… The long boulevards, black with people, the objects to find, the mussels on the terrace… And it continues at night. It’s a weekend where Lille doesn’t sleep. The only weekend of the year when individuals turn into second-hand dealers by bringing in friends from here or elsewhere.
“The Braderie is a wonderful event. When you do it with friends firmly established from Saturday to Sunday. At one time, you had to fight for your place, there were 20 of us or more, a real family. Parents and children are all amused by selling cheap before they simply go out and eat a mussel. I miss everything, ”said Colette.
“It is time to go back to the Braderie of yesteryear”
But if the nostalgic are largely in the majority, some discordant voices are also heard. For many, since the first cancellation in 2016, the Braderie has lost part of its soul. “There are no more street vendors, music, lights, the smell of kebab… nothing! Now they are antique shops all over the place with nothing to sell and streets very empty of stalls! It is time to go back to the Braderie of yesteryear, ”says Céline.
For her part, Christelle lives very well without this annual meeting. “Getting around in a compact crowd, the metro crowded with people, it’s teeming with everywhere…. I got bored of it. It’s even a weekend where I avoid Lille. For the second year in a row, she will not need to flee the capital of Flanders on this first weekend in September. Even if a Merchants’ Clearance Sale has been set up since last year to compensate (a little) for the cancellation of the great Clearance Sale, many of them hope for a return of the event from September 2022. History that Lille finally finds part of his soul.