Brussels Brocanteurs


Here in Brussels we have a spacious apartment, in London, the inverse will be true. This necessitates getting rid of useless possessions and seldom-worn clothes (of which we have many), and turning them into other peoples treasures.

In Canada we would have a garage sale, or go to the flea market, but in Brussels, we were able to go to the alluring-sounding brocante, and become, for one fleeting 12 hour day, brocanteurs.

Defying the predictions of thunder and lightning we woke up before 7am Saturday morning, drove to the edge of town, and had just enough time to unload the car before rain started cascading down, soaking our possessions and the people who were rifling through them.

Fortunately, we undertook this endeavour with our friend Philippe. He is nice, and he is also French, which helped in those situations where a depth of language beyond shouting French numbers at looky-loos was required.


There were not alot of customers after that brief flurry, until we were able to peel back the plastic and reveal our treasures to the peoples.


A personal highlight came when the clouds parted and somebody played Axel F on an old stereo when I came back with cappucinos and croissants.


This lady spent all day hanging outside her window, watching the action.

In case you suspect that this event was not really an awesome festival of community fun and excitement for the whole family, I present to you two key pieces of evidence.

Street dancing

Fishing town: the funtruck


We didn’t spend much time soaking up the fishing and dancing: we were too focused on product liquidation. The constant haggling we were engaged in was complicated by the tendency of our clientele to be fixated on the price of ‘one euro’ – no matter the object or objects for sale. (Unless you originally suggested ‘one euro’ to be a fair price, in which case they would fixate on ’50 cents’).

We have now experienced the frustration of unsuccessfully trying to convince somebody that two euros is not an unreasonable price to ask for the forty euro shirt they are obviously keen on.

We have now experienced the joy of selling an old plastic lanyard for 10 cents.

It was a day of highs and lows.

Chiara has quite reasonably decided that this is something we never ever do again. The positives we gained: a lessening of our stuff-load, some euros, the experience; they are not enough to lure her back.

Perversely I am preparing myself to re-enter the ring, with more stuff, bigger bargains, greater salesmanship, and become a Capital ‘B’ Brocanteur.

And maybe, next time, I can walk the other side of the street blanket, and just possibly, I will be able to find that once-in-a-lifetime bargain: something on the same plane of awesome as this knee-high Bruce Lee ‘Enter the Dragon’ statue.

The guy paid 10 euro for this. He did not visit our stuff-station.

2017-09-14T08:44:00+00:00 June 29 2009|