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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Love Lille (2)

Lille is famous for its 'Grande Braderie,' a vast flea market that takes over the town on a particular weekend each September. It attracts a million visitors apparently. Wow, you'd need pretty sharp elbows for that one! We were hopeful that we would find some second hand stuff, but it proved a bit harder than we thought. On Sunday morning we set off for the large market at Wazemmes. This is a mix of things and it really is huge. There were tulips, hydrangeas, roasting chickens, stalls full of radishes, fresh mint and artichokes. Cheeses, cheap clothes, fake much stuff. We were starting to wonder if we would ever stumble across the flea market, when there it was. Just about seven or eight stalls, but it was a very welcome sight. I just found a few small treasures:

Old French school books and a card of bone buttons. The sweetest vintage dolls' tea set (I have a thing about these). Tracey bought a wonderful enamel coffee pot, a really huge one with flowers embossed on it.

I loved this old travel poster.

An old tablecloth for two euros.

We did track down some vintage shops, but they were closed on Sundays and Mondays, which was exactly when we were there! This one was our favourite (love the fabric box): 

We'd promised ourselves that we would take it really easy, and so there were many cafe stops. We had pots of tea and home made chocolate brownies in this one, which was a bookshop, too. 

I got the impression that English-style tea is quite fashionable!

There were a few more purchases made. We found a fantastic fabric shop, very messy, just selling bolts and bolts of floral fabrics at reasonable prices. I couldn't resist these:

A couple of lengths of ribbon from a very pretty haberdashery shop with hundreds of sweetie jars full of buttons (they wouldn't let me take photo though, or maybe it was just my rusty French and I asked something else entirely!).

And I paid a quick visit to the beautiful Palais des Beaux Arts de Lille. It's a wonderful museum and gallery, with some famous Impressionist paintings. Vuillard is one of my favourites, and they had a few of his works. This one is gorgeous.

We finished our trip with lunch in a tiny traditional restaurant in this street:

Three courses, including homemade pate, with toasted country bread and salad, chicken in a delicate sauce with saute potatoes and a wicked creme brulee, for 10 Euros. A great ending to a lovely weekend away.

Plenty of inspiration to read through on the train home....


  1. I was transported to Lille reading your post. Lovely finds - I especially like the poster and buttons. What a shame the vintage shops were closed on your visit though. A trip back in September maybe?

  2. Yes, I am certainly thinking about it :) The French definitely don't have the 'open all hours' culture that we're getting here.

  3. I love the little dolls teaset. I collect these too but they are very hard to find these days. The fabric is beautiful and a teashop/bookshop is the perfect place to while away a few hours. Hope you had a lovely relaxing time. Karen X