Northern France Tourism : official website

The atmosphere at Wazemmes’ market

A brief history of our markets

Selling, buying and exchanging takes place in all markets across the world. What could be more satisfying than grabbing your basket on a Sunday morning (or even on some other day in the week) and ‘going to the market’? This tradition dates back to the Middle Ages (traces have been found of 10th century fairs) when peasants and craftsmen gathered on village squares, drawing in the surrounding population. Markets are still very popular today. By daybreak, our squares and roads are decorated with colourful awnings, stalls of fragrant fruit and vegetables and food stands to help you choose the week’s provisions. It’s all about the atmosphere at a market - the medley of voices and meeting up on a café terrace - it’s a real community where making exchanges are the thing that matters.

A fruit stall at Wazemmes’ market
  • A fruit stall
  • © Terre des 2 Caps Tourisme - Wissant Cote d'Opale

Wazemmes - a market with an international flavour

Don’t miss the Wazemmes’ market, close to the centre of Lille, where the atmosphere is special (Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday mornings). With a cosmopolitan vibe due as much to the people as the stalls, Wazemmes’ market is to Lille what Belleville market is to Paris. Food from across the world is available there. You can find everything! Foodstuffs (masses of fruit and vegetables), clothes, flowers, books and a flea market. Enjoy some time on a café terrace relaxing to tunes played on the accordion - the classic instrument of Wazemmes. Want to know more? The market in ‘La Place du Concert’ (Vieux-Lille) has a different vibe, but you will find it very interesting. Selling practically just food, it takes place every Wednesday and Sunday morning. To whet your appetite, come and browse at around 11.00...

Wazemmes’ market
  • Wazemmes’ market
  • © Samuel Dhote

Wazemmes’ covered market

Wazemmes’ covered market was built by the architect Baltard between 1869 and 1873 and still remains a favourite place for lovers of good food today. It is even well-known beyond Pas-de-Calais and the north. It replaced ‘la Nouvelle Aventure’ open-air café and dance hall, which was equally well-known in its time. Market traders used to set up their stalls in the adjoining garden and sell their produce there.
Two bouts of renovation work in 1971 and 2002 have not changed the main structure (a brick base with a metal framework, cast-iron columns, candelabras and lanterns) but have just altered the interior. The building’s function remains the same. The people of Lille still come to fill their baskets with fish, fruit, cooked meats and local is indispensable!

The pediment entrance to Wazemmes’ covered market
  • Wazemmes’ covered market
  • © Ville de Lille

Vegetables - the stars of the show!

Another traditional Nord-Pas de Calais market takes place in Saint-Omer - a town famous for its legendary cauliflowers, the stars of the market. Find them next to carrots from Tilques, artichokes, pears and endives - which are so special to the North. Saint-Omer is right in the heart of the Audomarois marshes which are the only marshland still farmed in France. As a matter of course, market gardeners fill your basket with freshly picked local produce every Saturday morning, Place Foch.
Many other markets take place every Saturday throughout the region, for example in Arras, Valenciennes, Hazebrouck and Montreuil-sur-Mer, etc.

Saint-Omer market with its locally picked vegetables
  • Saint-Omer market every Saturday morning for filling up on vegetables picked in Audomarois
  • © Saint-Omer market with its locally picked vegetables
Each person has his own way to go to the market
Come and do your shopping on the water

Come and shop on the water 4 or 5 times a year on board the traditional St-Omer marshland boats at the mooring point in Clairmarais. Market gardeners and artisans sell their produce directly.

Markets for locavores

‘Organic’ markets are very popular and are flourishing throughout the region. Come and meet local organic producers on farms or on village squares.

Seafood and shellfish on ‘La Côte d'Opale’

Fish and seafood are traditional at markets in La Côte d'Opale’. The small town of Wissant, close to ‘Les Deux Caps’ has two markets. The Wednesday market takes place throughout the year. The one which you should not miss is semi-nocturnal, taking place on Friday from April to September. You can take your time choosing fish here to savour at home and talking to the local producers. This market only sells edible products and the atmosphere is warm and friendly. Another good location for buying fresh fish is from the fishermen’s stalls in Etaples’ harbour. They delight visitors early every morning. Fish which has just been landed is sold at a very reasonable price every day. Freshness and quality is guaranteed!

The character of fish stalls in Etaples’ harbour selling fresh fish
  • The character of fish stalls in Etaples’ harbour selling fresh fish
  • © M. Maillart - Ville d'Etaples

The fish auction in Boulogne - France’s top fishing port

At 4.30 every morning in the Capécure district, fishermen unload and sell 70 types of fish to those who work in the industry. Tours are sometimes available to experience this unique world.

The fish auction takes place every morning in Boulogne
  • The fish auction takes place every morning in Boulogne
  • © C. Gervais

Days and times


Saturday morning

Wazemmes’ market, Lille

Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday morning near the covered market in Wazemmes

Wissant market

Friday 6.00 pm to 9.00 pm from April to September