The annual Lille brocante is the largest in Europe, featuring around 10,000 traders and attracting nearly 2.5m visitors last year. This year’s event scheduled for September 3-4 has been cancelled in light of continuing security concerns in France.
At a press conference on August 5, Lille’s mayor Martine Aubry announced that the city could not guarantee safety at an event of this scale. She said that the decision was one of “moral responsibility”.
“To have sharpshooters on roofs at the market, riot police on each street corner and helicopters and drones flying overhead would not be in the spirit of the market,” Aubrey added.
The annual flea market, as famous for its non-stop party atmosphere and piles of mussel shells as for its wealth of second-hand goods, traces its roots back to the Middles Ages.
Since the 12th century, the town’s residents have been permitted to set up a stall in the streets on the first weekend in September. What began as an opportunity for servants to sell their master’s cast-offs has evolved since the 1970s into an annual jamboree enjoyed by many members of the European antiques trade.
The fair was last suspended during the Second World War.
Following the recent terrorist attacks in Nice and near Rouen, concerns arose that a gathering of this size could attract further attacks.
The Braderie is one of several similar events to occur annually in France including La Grande Foir à tout des Andelys in Normandy (September 12-13) and Grande Braderie du Canal St Martin in Brittany (September 16-17). Both are currently planned to go ahead.
The Braderie is scheduled to return in 2017.