For antiques bargain hunters, nothing beats an antique fair or market. With a little searching, some amazing treasures can be found at rock bottom prices. While London and Paris are considered Europe’s most important antique centers, markets can be found in cities large and small as well as in the countryside.
1) PORTOBELLO ROAD MARKET
The world’s largest antique market is the Portobello Road Market. Established in 1870, this Notting Hill, London market features a staggering variety of antiques and collectibles dating from Roman times to the 1960s, from antique silver, maps, crockery and fabrics. Antique hunters can feel confident when they shop here, as many vendors are certified by the Portobello Antique Dealers Association which requires traders to follow a strict code of conduct. Opening day is Saturdays.
2) MARCHÉ AUX PUCES ST-OUEN DE CLIGNANCOURT
With between 2500 and 3000 open stalls, this Paris market is the place to find everything from second hand clothing to the finest antiques. Some searching may be required but precious and rare items can be found amongst the typical flea market goods. Shoppers at this market will have the best luck if they make it clear they know what they’re doing and chat for a while with the vendor, preferable in French. Beware of pickpockets, take a break at one of the nearby cafes, and shop till you drop! Opening days are Saturday through Monday.
Located in the provincial village of the same name, this market features over 300 permanent dealers with the number doubling with the visiting dealers every weekend. An international antique fair is held twice a year, in August and Easter, with dealers from around the world. L’Isle-Sur-La-Sourge is considered Europe’s third most important antiques center after London and Paris. Open every day during summer and Thursdays and Sundays during autumn, winter, and spring.
Tongeren, the oldest town in Belgium, is also home to the largest market in the Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg region. Located near the German and Dutch border in south-eastern Belgium, this market is known for having the best prices on French antiques in all of Europe. Open Saturday from 7:00am till noon.
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