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    Largest flea market in Europe

    The Braderie de Lille, in northern France, is one of Europe’s biggest flea markets. “People really like the old chippy stuff, the true old pieces,” an American dealer said.  Photo Credit Owen Franken for The New York Times

    Although little known outside of Europe, the Grande Braderie de Lille (the "Grand Clearance Sale" of Lille) takes place on the weekend of the first Sunday of September in Lille, France.  The event dates back to the 12th century and claims to be the largest such event in Europe with over 10,000 sellers and several million attendees.  This year the event is scheduled for Saturday, August 31st and Sunday, September 1st.

    It's not too late to make plans for this year's market.  Lille is located on the Belgian border, about an hour north of Paris on the TGV (high speed train).  Lille is actually closer to Brussels than Paris, so there are multiple options in terms of flights to Europe and hotel accomodations.  As you can imagine, with over 2 million visitors expected it gets a little crowded and hectic in Lille itself.  You may want to consider staying outside of Lille and taking the train in during the market.

    Needless to say, anyone who attends the Grande Braderie needs to do a little advance prep work.  Below are a few links to help you get started:

    Lille Tourism & Convention Bureau

    Flea Market Insider

    In Search of "Shabby Chic" at the Braderie de Lille - New York Times article 

     *Photo courtesy of Owen Franken for The New York Times

    Welcome to our new Blog

    Hi, I'm Matt and this is my new blog.  I started European Country Living almost twenty years ago in Germany.  Since then I have been on hundreds of buying trips across Europe to flea markets, wholesalers and trade shows.  And in the process I have bought thousands of items for my store in Germany and have shipped dozens of containers to my store in the U.S. (all stores are now closed, but that's another story for a later time...).

    Over the years my customers have continually asked me about my buying trips, which markets I visit, how to remove the stain on a particular piece of furniture, what the original use was for some item, and on and on.  I therefore want to share some of what I have learned from buying and selling European antiques & accessories:

    • Recognizing "the real deal" (lots of reproductions out there these days)
    • Which countries, flea markets, and at what time of year to visit
    • Understanding the challenges of shipping your new treasures home
    • Restoring and/or caring for items
    • Decorating and design ideas
    • General tips on European food, travel, and cultural events

     There's a lot to explore, so stay tuned and thanks for visiting.