When visiting Brussels, a trip to the Vieux Marche on the Place du Jeu de Balle is a must-do. Whether you are a bargain hunter ready to discover a great find, or just out to stroll around and experience the bustling atmosphere of the market, there is something for everyone.
This popular flea market is the only market in the world open seven days a week, 365 days a year. With more than 500 stalls and shops, you can find a huge selection of bric-a-brac, vintage furniture and retro décor pieces. There is even a regular stall that sells spare chandelier parts. The traders are often the same and our favorite is the man situated near the church selling vintage hand bags, suitcases and typewriters.
If you are looking to buy from the market, you will need patience as there is so much stuff. If you can handle the challenge though, you could be greatly rewarded as there are some great treasures to be found. The market is the perfect place to pick up a unique souvenir from your trip instead of the usual kitsch tourist gifts. Be warned though, this market is not for the feint hearted!
If you can, the best day to visit the flea market is Monday to Friday as the market draws less people during the week and so you are more likely to find a really good bargain. Sellers however, do tend to keep specific and rare items until the weekend, but expect to pay higher prices (and battle the crowds) on Saturdays and Sundays. For early birds, the best time to go to the flea market is right after the sellers have set up at around 8 AM. This is the time you’re sure to find the best items! Also keep an eye out at the end of the market when all the sellers are packing away their things. You can sometimes find free objects left behind like mirrors, drawings, old photographs and small pieces of jewelry that have fallen in between the place’s cobblestones.
The Place du Jeu de Balle is situated in the historic Marolles district of Brussels. Once you have finished exploring the market, you can discover the other great antique dealers and second hand shops just a small walk away on the rue Haute, rue Blasé and place du Sablon. If you are in need of a refreshment after all your browsing, there are many traditional cafés around the square too. For a traditional Belgian experience, tuck in to a well-deserved brunch at Pin Pon and enjoy a great view of the market place from their beautiful top floor veranda, or soak up the great atmosphere at La Cléf d’Or while eating a pistolet (Belgian bread roll) and listening to the traditional accordion music.
Place du Jeu de Balle, Brussels. Mon-Fri: 6am-2pm, Sat & Sun: 6am-3pm