Chronicle.lu recently had the opportunity to speak with Anne Darin, Director of the Luxembourg City Commercial Trade Union (Union Commerciale de la Ville de Luxembourg – UCVL) to learn more about the Grand Braderie, an annual street market traditionally held before the start of the school year.
This year, the Braderie will take place on Monday 5 September from 09:00 to 19:00 in Place d'Armes in Luxembourg City centre and Gare district; about 250 businesses in these districts will set up outdoor stands, including 27 food stands.
Chronicle.lu: When did the first Braderie take place in Luxembourg City? And what form did it take?
Anne Darin: The first Braderie took place in 1929. The context of the global economic crisis during the last century led some Luxembourg merchants to found the Union commerciale in 1906. The first Braderie was then organised in 1929 and has been held every year since then on the Monday of the fair (Kiermesméindeg).
Chronicle.lu: How has the Braderie format evolved over the years?
Anne Darin: Since 1929, the success of the Braderie never wavered. It has been able to evolve and follow the many changes in the habits and daily life of the traders and inhabitants of our capital. As you can see from the old photos kept in the photo library of the City of Luxembourg, all kinds of products and all sorts of products were sold, from cars and crockery in the 1960s, but also goldfish in the 1930s!
Over the years, more and more visitors stroll through the streets of the city in search of bargains, but also to find the best deals.
The Braderie has been transformed over the years into a moment of conviviality, a meeting place where everyone likes to meet after the summer holidays. It is also a time for families to shop for their back-to-school purchases and discover the new fashion collections and accessories.
Chronicle.lu: Following the health restrictions of the last two years, is this year's Braderie being held without any restrictions?
Anne Darin: Yes, the Braderie will return to its initial form. There are no longer any special restrictions, but there are still shops and restaurants where hydroalcoholic gel is offered.
We are also very happy to welcome back associations and clubs as well as food stalls and different animations throughout the city.
For example, in the Gare district, we will have entertainment for kids in the Rue [Jean] Origer, next to the Avenue de la Gare. It is also important to entertain kids at the Braderie.
Chronicle.lu: During the pandemic, many people and businesses became innovative: have any such innovations been retained for this year's Braderie?
Anne Darin: The Braderie is a traditional event and the goal is to sell former collections at a reduced price. Customers are looking forward to make the best deals and this is what the Braderie offers.
Since the pandemic, there are much more stores which are present online and on social media. They will for sure use these ways of communication to inform their customers. They may also organise giveaways through their social media [accounts].
But this only remains a way of communication. The Braderie is not an online event and customers are happy to keep this traditional event as it is in a physical form.
Since the pandemic, retailers have been selling their products during the whole weekend before the Braderie. This year too, customers will be able to enjoy the "Braderie prices" over the weekend. Some shops will be open on Sunday 4 September to ensure everyone can participate in the Braderie.
To help customers finding out which ones of their favourite shops are open on Sunday, they can have a look on our website www.cityshopping.lu in the "Sunday opening" section.
Chronicle.lu: Around how many people are you expecting to participate in this year's Braderie, both retail and hospitality operators, and consumers? Do you expect these to reach 2019 levels?
Anne Darin: For this edition, we are in a good dynamic as we have a good participation of merchants. Many restaurants will welcome visitors to the Braderie with all types of food, take-aways as well as daily specials.
We expect many people, more than in 2020 and 2021 when the pandemic hit us. We are still in a year of transition with teleworking which has also impacted customer habits.
In terms of tourism, we are happy to welcome back many tourists from the region and more and more international tourists since this summer. The Braderie is for them a nice surprise where they make good purchases!