Place du Jeu de Balle

The most famous flea market in Brussels, and a great starting point to go antiques shopping in the rue Rue Blaes

The flea market at Place du Jeu de Balle, also known as the “Old Market” (the “Vieux Marché” in French), is located in the heart of the Marolles district in Brussels, and is certainly the most famous flea market in Belgium’s capital city: 450 merchants work there every day of the year – this flea market is for professional sellers only.

Built in 1853, along with the nearby rue Blaes, the Place du Jeu de Balle or “Old Market” was originally intended to serve as a playing field for “balle pelote” players (a former version of tennis), a highly prized game in Brussels in the nineteenth century. In 1873 the town council decided to transfer there the “junk and old clothes market” (“den â met”, which means “old market” in Brussels’ dialect), which then occupied the Anneessens square and, in the words of a local councilor, “had a negative impact on the appearance of new central boulevards”.

Today, the “old market” has lost none of its charm of yesteryear, and there is always any and all prizes: antiques, second-hand clothes, and bric-a-brac in a friendly and cosmopolitan atmosphere. Moreover you will have to haggle a bit, because it’s part of the game; but note that there is no market anyhow: we haggle a little, yes, but the prices are the price because you will often find quality items.

Regular visitors of the place will tell you that the best days to go to the flea market in Place du Jeu de Balle, are Thursdays and Fridays. On Saturday and Sunday, however, you might discover some more “specific” or rare items, which usually only come out on the weekend. And whatever the day you choose to go to the flea market of the Place du Jeu de Balle, remember that if you want to put the odds in your favor to find that hidden gem, go early in the morning when dealers unpack their boxes (about 5 pm-5.30 pm).

At the end of your trip to the Place du Jeu de Balle flea market, do not miss to also explore the antique and second-hand shops located nearby, such as in the Grande Rue, Rue Blaes and Sablon Square. You should find there what you are looking for… And if you also go until the Place Saint Catherine, do not forget to make a stop at Stef Antiek, one of the most surprising junk dealer in the Belgian capital.

5 reviews

  1. Très tôt le matin et, en particulier le mardi et le jeudi, vous pouvez faire de magnifiques découvertes. En plein quartier de marolles, la place du jeu de balle est le rendez-vous des brocanteurs professionnels.

    Là, se côtoient brocanteurs et antiquaires en quête d’une bonne affaire.
    Les vendeurs sont tous des professionnels de la brocante et des vides-greniers.
    Bien discuter les prix. Attention aux arnaques. Beaucoup de copies vendues comme des originaux. Néanmoins, un oeil averti peut découvrir de belles choses.

    Ouvert tous les jours, mais je recommande d’éviter d’y aller les samedis et dimanches.

  2. The Place du Jeu de Balle is a daily event, starting about 6am and running to lunchtime. It is a kaleidoscope of junk and stuff, from piles of clothes, scarves, to books, yesterdays and tomorrows antiques with very colorful characters doing the bidding.

    Be prepared to haggle or die, and go during the week (prices are lower than on the weekend where there is the tourist premium). Caveat Emptor is the rule: so have a good look before you part with your money; It maybe the last you see of it. Also around are some great antique shops, reasonably priced compared to Paris.

  3. If you enjoy flea markets, this is one for you. People there were open and very diverse! Saw people from lots of different cultures and they’re were all selling personal stuff which printed a nice atmosphere in the place.

  4. This is a fantastic flea market. The best day to visit it is Sunday morning. The rest of the week is not as lively. The square is large and surrounded by red brick buildings including a church. On Sundays the bars and cafes around it liven up and there is good jazz music live, Belgian beer and simple food.

  5. There are over 100 stall laid out on the ground and tables. Haggling is suggested for the prices. Small restaurants are along the edge of the place. Things for sale change every day – so go back.

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