A market lovers guide to Brussels
From flea markets, to flower markets, and food markets, us Travelettes love markets, and we just can’t get enough! So imagine my surprise when reading “Top 10 European Flea Markets“, in The Guardian, and discovering that Brussels has some of the best markets (especially flea markets) in Europe! After receiving the official news about the greatness of my city’s markets I thought it was about time to write a quick guide to Brussels’ markets through the eyes of a local. Here are my favorite five:
Flea market in Waterloo
Held every Sunday morning in the car park of the Carrefour supermarket in Waterloo, the vendors at the flea market in Waterloo start to set up around 6 a.m. and shopping starts shortly after from 7 a.m. So the location is not exactly the most glamorous, but ladies we’re looking for cheap, amazing, one-of-a-kind vintage, we are not shopping for diamonds and designer goods. Unfortunately this shopping trip means an early rise as everything is packed up and over by midday, however, I promise you its worth it. I have made some phenomenal purchases at this market over the past few months. Waterloo is on the outskirts of Brussels but is really easy to get to via public transport – just take the W bus from Gare du Midi and you’ll be there in under 30 minutes.
Flea market at Place du Jeu de Balle
Also held on Sunday morning, this market is in the heart of Brussels and runs from 7 a.m. until 1 p.m. There is bargains galore, but you have to be prepared to barter with the local vendors to get the best prices. The square is surrounded by great cafes so you can sit and enjoy the morning sunshine with a coffee while listening to live jazz. When the market has finished take a stroll down the adjacent Rue Blaes and Rue Haute where there is a great selection of antique, vintage and brocante shops that are all open on Sundays.
Hub Sunday Store
The Hub Sunday Store is a monthly market held at the Hub Brussels featuring the best vintage and handmade clothes, furniture, accessories, vinyl and, not to mention, organic food and drinks. The market supports local, sustainable and organic producers to promote homemade and upcycled items. The next market is on the April 15, 2012.
Brussels Vintage Market at K-nal
This vintage & young creators market happens every first Sunday of the month at K-Nal (a cool club on the canal turned cafe/restaurant during the day). It features great local vintage vendors and jewelry makers that sell their handmade loot at competitive prices. This market starts at 12 p.m. and closes at 6 p.m. At least you can get your beauty rest before a long day of shopping.
Food Market at Gare du Midi
This is a great market to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables, plants, household goods, meat, and fish. Not usually something that is recommended on the tourist track of Brussels, but I think if you don’t visit you’re missing out on a real treat. It’s gigantic, and usually very busy, so it’s a great way of getting in to the hustle and bustle of Belgian life. You will always come across produce that you’ve never seen before and must to try. The market is also a great portrait of the diversity within our city.
In the middle of the fruit and vegetable sellers is a Moroccan stall which is going to blow your taste buds away. This place has become a bit of an institution and it’s not unusual to see people forming huge queues to get their hands on some yummy products. They serve freshly made Moroccan pancakes stuffed with cheese, honey, olives and a variety of vegetables like peppers, artichokes and dates for €1.50. There is no describing how amazingly good they are. Afterwards wash the yummy pancake down with a cup of hot, sweet mint tea and you will be ready to face anything! The food market is every Sunday from dawn until 2 p.m.
Let us know if you ever visit one of Brussels’ markets!