Antiques & Flea Markets, Brussels
The street markets in Brussels are a very colourful affair but really no different to street markets you can encounter anywhere in Europe. I was a bit disappointed to find the same bling bling jewellery and childrens' toys and puzzles we see here in the U.k. from continental Europe. Ah well we are also part of the European Union and you may find better markets in other locations
What to buy: If you like tat buy it if not go to a reputable shop
The Sablon district is the centre of Brussels antiques trade.
There is a really interesting antiques market on the weekends, which is well worth a browse, and plenty of cafe's nearby for refreshments.
Every Saturday (from 9.00 till 18.00) and every Sunday (from 9.00 till 14.00) there is an antiques market at the Zavel (Sablon), in the shadow of the Our Lady of Sablon Church.
There were several stands which were selling old stuff, books, and records.
What to buy: Someting old, you were looking for, for a long time, maybe you might find it here on this antiques market
What to pay: that depends on your budget and on your skill to bribe.
Held daily from 7 am-2pm, the Marche-aux-Puces is an open air market selling mostly second hand household goods, knicks knacks and clothing. It's located on the place du Jeu-de-Balle, a large square in the Marolles district. Like most flea markets, it's probably slightly more lively on the weekends.
We had just been to the huge flea market in Lille France a few days earlier so we just walked around the perimeter and headed off to our next stop.
I was a bit stumped when I had to select a "type" for this shop. Is it antique? Yes, undoubtedly. Is it bath and beauty? Bath certainly.. beauty being in the eye of the beholder. Is it home furninshing? Why of course, no home should be without one.
Yes Baden Baden is all this... and oh, so much more. This shop has been around as long as I've known the Marolles. In it you enter the most incredible voyage of discovery, all centering around the smallest room... but heavens, to plumb in some of what it offers for sale, I'd need to invest almost the entire floor space of my flat. The only aspect of the bathroom that a specialised museum coul ofer in addition to what you can find in Baden Baden, would probably be a Roman communal latrine!
Where on earth they have found their stock is a complete mystery. Over the years I've seen the perfect bathroom for the most demanding lounge lizard, enormous structures of chrome-covered pipes that at first look made me wonder just what kind of torture it might offer and ultimately tasteless but fantastic bathroom suites hewn entirely from marble.
Everything in this shop is restored to former glory and wonderfully presented. A museum could not do a better job!
What to buy: Noy only baths, showers and toilets, but also everything else: taps, plugs, soap-dishes, cabinets... you name it.
In recent years they've also been doing a new line in contemporary kitchens, but I find that much less interesting that its main line.
What to pay: Nothing, but nothing in this shop is cheap: I've found price tags in the past that reminded me of flat's I'd intended to buy in Edinburgh! But you don't come in here to buy. You come in here to be amazed.
In the mid 90s, Bussels observers could see that the Marolles was passing through a period of quiet contemplation of a new and vibrant future. As pupas sit there waiting for the moment to emerge as butterflies, many hoardings covered old warehouses unchanging except for the fly posters that covered the "no fly posting" signs.
One weekend with no fanfare whatsoever, a true butterfly emerged. Brussels had never seen anything like it. Rambagh, like its sanitary neighbour, Baden Baden, stood more like a museum than a shop.
The first surprise was the size - it its on two floors with the dimensions of a warehouse. Then the decor: imaginative lighting, industrial bare wall style, sturdy metal staricases combine to give you the sense that the owners of this shop KNEW from the outset that they would be successful. There was nothing that suggested a stealthy approach.
On closer investigation you see that the shop is organised thematically: upstairs, a Japanese area, downstairs, a fabrics corner, enormous Indian, Indonesian and Malaysian furniture, out the back and up the stairs and area devoted to spiritual objets d'art, and in the small courtyard, a wide range of fountains and garden furniture.
Rambagh makes much of the care that is taken in selecting and restoring items.
What to buy: You name it: everything from huge wooden swings, ancient doors and tables that can seat 20 people, all the way down to cushion covers, teas and books.
I do have reservations about stripping countries of their national treasures, and if I have a reservation about this shop it is that I am not entirely sure how they source their unrestored items. There is plenty of information about the restoration of ruined items which is done at source using local craftspeople.
What to pay: How long is a piece of string??? Rambag's prices are comparable to similar shops, but the choice here is much more extensive.
The Hoogstraat (Rue Haute) in the Marollen area (downtown) is a small but very popular street where you can find shops of different kinds of interests, going from antiques to small house hold equipment to grocery...
This is the real Brussels!
On the weekends, there is a fine antique market held on the place du Grand Sablon. It's a very small market and this seemed like a place for serious antique shoppers not casual browsers like us.
Open Saturday from 9am-6pm and Sunday 9 am-2pm
The flea market is held every morning on this nice square in a very popular part of the city.
It is here that ther real Bruxellois, the Ketjes live.
What to buy: Everything, from old books, to funiture from the 1950's, old LP-records, foreign currency, paintings, ...
Be early ! Because the best items go away first.
What to pay: Don' pay too much, always bargain !
Rue Blaes in Les Marolles is for you if you like to decorate your home. The whole street is full of shops selling furniture, african carvings, antiques, lamps and dinner assessoires. If you want more expensive antiques you should continue uphill to Grand Sablon but down here you will find nice things too. There is also a shop selling Moroccan lamps and tea services. My favourite is New De Wolf which is room after room of glasses, decorations for special seasons like Christmas/Halloween etc, bedspreads, candle holders, shelves...they also have a special "Aladdin" room with a huge bed, stars on the walls etc. Next to it is another shop with 50s stuff like American traffic lights, gas signs and the like, A great shopping street!
Thanks to my daughter's kindergarden teacher whose husband took this pic after I'd recommended him to visit during a trip -)))
What to pay: Anything!
This market happens daily from 7a.m. to 1p.m. You will find a large number of vendors selling secondhand household and antique items. While there we found an antique brass clock with matching candleabras...beautiful pieces and a great price. Antiques are few, old clothing, and dishes are there in abundance.
Around Place du Sablon, there are many antiques shops selling all sort of art pieces and antiques.
I guess brussels is a bit specialised in African art and antiques.
The pic is random ! many others similar shops around.
For antiques lovers or seekers, do not miss the flea market at Place du Jeu de balle.
What to buy: All sort of antiques and african (primitive) art.
What to pay: Beware, it is not that cheap !
The Sablon-district used to be the fancy district of Brussels and nowadays still is famous for its antique shops. You can find some nice ones on the Sablon-square and in the surrounding streets.
During the weekend, there's a big antique market on the Sablon square.
With Sablon area, les Marolles is, as I said earlier in another tip, the Mecca of antiques shopping. The whole area that comprehends le Sablon and les Marolles is so atmospheric.
Here and there, the small pubs with beer sippers sitting on the terraces, or even, on pedestrian lanes. Then, the main streets in Marolles: Rue Blaes and Rue Haute as far as antiques are concerned. Private galleries, simple outlets and the flea market on Place du jeu de balle.
In fact, I like seeing & examining antiques items. At same time, when you see monogrammed silver plate & cup & brush, you feel a pinch because you know that not everyone would accept to get rid of those items that use to be gifts from family members. So, what was there to make them put those personal effects on sale ? Financial troubles ? Fights in the families ? Who knows...
What to buy: * Antiques (trinkets, paintings, figurines, bijoux anciens and jewelry in general, the latter are my favourite...)
* Home furnishing (both the antiques & 2nd-hand shop and the Asian style at Rambaggh, rue Haute)
*Second-hand books (incl. comic strips)
As a huge music fan, I am always on the look out for interesting record shops when I travel abroad.
'The Collector' is a real treasure chest of vinyl from rock to pop, jazz and soul.
Prices are on the high side but the range is very wide. I found some rare albums that I have spent years looking for back in the UK.
For "vinylists", the place has that special glow that only a decent, good and honest record shop (one that is run by an enthusiast) can. Give yourself a good couple of hours for digging those crates!!
What to buy: 60s/70s/80s rock, pop, soul and jazz albums especially but there is a very eclectic range of vinyl including punk/new wave, old film soundtracks, european music etc
What to pay: 10 to 15 euros upwards