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 Tongeren Flea Market 


When: Sundays, 6am-noon.

The comparative advantages - to deploy some market economics - of this big Belgian brocante meet lie in its location and its range. Tongeren may be only an hour’s drive south from Brussels but the town is not a tourist magnet like Paris or Rome, and so the competition and the prices are reduced. The market (which begins 500 metres to the east of the central square, spread along Leopoldwal and Middeleeuwsewallen) also handsomely represents the spectrum of fleamarket finds: the 350 dealers offering everything from just junk, through interesting junk, to fine antiques (but at interesting prices).

Tongeren is the oldest established town in the country and has more attractions than just the market, making an overnight stay an easy proposition. There is a fine Gallo-Roman museum, its artefacts organised by theme to represent everyday life in Roman Atuatuca Tungrorum (hero: the Asterixian rebel Ambiorix) and you can watch ongoing excavations in the 13th-century basilica. Sadly, anything available at the fleamarket from either of these historical periods is probably not.

Best buys: Trunks and chests (are the Belgians running out of excess?) and stained glass are among covetable Tongeren commodities. Also look for art deco objects, crystalware, oil lamps, clocks, exotic statuary and ex-attic photographs and paintings.