Scenes from My Favorite Pastime

Brocante!

Brocante!

Is there any finer word in the French language? (Pain au chocolat, maybe? Nope, that’s three.  Doesn’t count.)

As spring gets closer and brocante season approaches, I thought I’d do a mini recap of some brocantes we hit this winter, along with a few other pictures from previous markets that I haven’t shared before.  Because who doesn’t want to see pictures of other people’s old junk?

Waterloo.  The king of weekly markets, in my opinion.  Full of the stuff you really want to find at a brocante.  Good, old, grandmother’s attic type stuff.  No electronics or baby clothes.  No loom band bracelet supplies.  A bit more expensive than the markets that make you pick through gobs of true junk to find the gems, but that’s because they’ve done the digging for you.  Be warned, though.  The market is supposed to end at 2:00, but many sellers start packing up closer to 12:00.  If you’re a morning person, this one’s for you.  They advertise an opening time of 4:00 a.m.  Needless to say, we’ve never made it anywhere near that early.

Les Puces d’Hiver at Tour et Taxis.  This one is in Brussels.  It was well advertised and looked like it might be a good one from the ads, but it turned out to be much smaller than we had anticipated.  We found some good things to pick through and it had the added bonus of food trucks.  Good food trucks.  Nothing against the pain saucisse man from any number of other brocantes, but we had so much to choose from, including a guy selling espresso out of the back of his Fiat 500.

Mons Expo.  This one rolls around about twice a year.  It can be decent sized but they don’t often up fill completely.  The plus to this one is that it’s inside, which is always good planning during a Belgian winter.  Cold I don’t mind braving.  Rain?  No thank you.

Cora parking lot.  Another local brocante that I like, though it doesn’t look like it would promise much, is in the parking garage of a local “mall”.  This is one of those “be prepared to pick” markets.  Full of my favorite part of the less-nice brocantes… the banana box.  Brocanteurs who have lots of smalls that are not necessarily valuable, will haul their stuff in the fruit boxes that grocery stores get their produce in, usually bananas.  This is where I find all my little junky bits.  Chipped café au lait bowls, mismatched candlesticks, kitchen supplies no longer good for cooking… you’ll find all manner of things in the banana boxes.

And now here comes spring.  Warmer weather means the brocante sellers come out of hibernation and the local villages set up their once a year markets.  Whole town garage sales in the streets winding past centuries old homes, sprouting fields, medieval walls.  And don’t forget Temploux and Lille, the biggest markets in Belgium and Europe, respectively.  Brocante season is coming!  And I’m ready.

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