When thinking of Brussels, chocolate often springs to mind, but another local industry garnering worldwide attention is that of antiques dealing. Whether looking to spruce up your home with unique furnishings or surprise a loved one with a thoughtful gift, antiques make wonderful purchases. There’s no shortage of places to shop for ancient treasures and antiques in Brussels. Olga Polizzi, Deputy Chairman and Director of Design at Rocco Forte Hotels, says: “Brussels is a particularly good hunting ground for antiques. It has antiques from all over the world, whether looking for French art-nouveau pieces, German art, Italian sculpture, English pottery or African masks. There is a wonderful range. I will often buy something – a chair or table – and have it copied or scaled up.”
As Christmas approaches, Polizzi and Hotel Amigo take us on a tour of the best antiques stores, dealers and markets to visit in Brussels.
Located in the heart of Sablon, Michel Lambrecht is a premier antiques dealer in Brussels, and an essential stop on any shopping itinerary. While the bustling flea markets can feel overwhelming at times, Michel Lambrecht presents a carefully curated selection of quality furniture, lighting, art and decorative objects. Working with leading traders across Europe, the store brings together a diverse range of furnishings and curiosities from the past several decades. As well as the official store there's a hidden outlet that's open only to Lambrecht's best clients, including Olga Polizzi. Guests of Hotel Amigo can discover items from Michel Lambrecht throughout the hotel, such as pieces of furniture, bedside lamps and paintings in the lobby.
A busy square surrounded by narrow streets full of antiques stores, Place du Grand Sablon is a fantastic place for antiques experts to begin their shopping adventure. A highlight of the area is the Sablon Antiques Market, which has been running since 1960 and is widely considered the best in Europe. Located just a stone’s throw from Hotel Amigo, the market is open every Saturday and Sunday and is home to myriad vendors pedalling everything from art, ornaments and clocks, to china, silverware and furniture.
Place du Jeu de Balle Flea Market
Open each morning from 7am to 2pm, the Place du Jeu de Balle Flea Market (also known as Marolles Flea Market) is a bustling marketplace that’s popular with locals and visitors alike. Head down early to get your pick of the newest items available at the market’s hundreds of stalls, where a colourful variety of wares such as vintage clothing, rare household objects, antique furniture and crockery can be found.
Step away from the markets and browse antiques in a boutique setting at Via Antica. The large 2,000sqm space displays items sourced from more than 30 antiques dealers, with new arrivals delivered daily. Via Antica is one of the best places in the city to discover rare and interesting furniture and home accessories. Pop in to browse for a thoughtful gift and you may leave with an eye-catching focal piece for your own home.
An unusual workshop-meets-boutique in the centre of Brussels, Philippe Lange comprises a huge collection of antique art deco furnishings. The front of the store focuses predominantly on art nouveau furniture from the 20th century, presenting pieces from well-known designers and architects from the 1920s through to the 1940s. The rear, meanwhile, is dedicated to furniture from the 1950s and 1960s. At the very back of the store is a restoration workshop – each item brought in by the curators makes a trip to the workshop before finding a place on the shop floor.
After a busy day of shopping for antiques in Brussels, sit back and reflect on your purchases in the comfort and privacy of your suite at Hotel Amigo. Take advantage of special seasonal escape deals when you stay for two nights or longer this winter.
Image credits: Antique clocks © iStock/Rena Mansi, Michel Lambrecht store © Michel Lambrecht, Place du Jeu de Balle Flea Market © iStock/Flavio Vallenari, Flea market © iStock/ilbusca