What could be better than a European Flea Market? A 2-day flea market in a non-touristy town like Ghent Belgium! This was the ultimate shopping experience, but I couldn't help but have feelings of anxiety as I couldn't canvas all of the tables fast enough. It's hard to linger at one table when you're worried about someone else buying your next favorite item two tables up. It's a competitive and well-timed shopping adventure.  

To increase my odds of getting the good stuff, I've come up with a strategy for efficient flea market shopping:

Upon arrival I do a QUICK SKIM of each table and purchase items that catch my eye right away. Once at the end, I turn around and go back through more thoroughly. Coffee or a sugary drink is needed midway to avoid getting the 'BLANK STARE'. You know you have this problem when you're staring at a table and someone behind you buys an incredible object for 1e. It was right in front of you the whole time, but you were unable to focus in on it. That is the dreaded 'blank stare' and it is a flea market killer.

SOME OF THE ITEMS I SAW (didn't purchase)

Great retro tv stand. This would also be great for holding accessories.

People just lay out their 'junk' and if you find an item you like, you simply ask how much. Most sellers will negotiate with you. See the awesome chandalier just laying on the ground? I only had a small bag with wheels to carry my all of my goodies in - so no bulky purchases on this trip.

Faux and real fur was EVERWHERE. Too bulky for my bag - moving on. 

Unique artwork and vintage luggage was also popular at this market. A random animal head right? Must have been brought in from South Africa. Actually there was a lot of African items, so they must be in demand for it in Northern Europe. Not my style - so I move on to the next table. 

Ok, now on the the items I purchased! Please ignore the bathroom backdrop (itwas the best lighting....). All of these items have already been packed up and are ready to ship back to Washington tomorrow:

Gorgeous French side table. The top is pearl, black and gold. The best part is that the legs come off easily - so it fit easily into my bag! The legs are bronzey brown, so I will paint them black.

Here is a closeup. Isn't it glamorous? 15e

Cool velvet tapestry table toppers. There is a term for this type of textile, but I can't think of it. Is it brocade? Anyways, at 1e each I bought these to resell. Except for that little butterscotch one, I'll find a place for that in my home since it matches my dining room curtains.

Incredible German Stein, Vintage Water Pitcher and two Dutch tea bag holders in pewter.

Vintage French Champagne buckets. All three were only 2euro (total)! The one on the right is high quality copper.

Vintage coal chucker (with coal remnants left on the bottom to dirty up everything in my bag -  yay for that big mess). This will look great filled with branches and twigs on my porch. Unique, right?

Vintage hardware to include a brass door knocker, classic wine key and french ashtray. All of these pieces combined with the coal chucker was only 10e. I couldn't have been more excited. This stuff was practically FREE!!!!

Vintage English bugle - for decoration purposes. 1e.

What do you think? Can you understand now why I fell in love with this city? Some pretty great deals, right? I don't think garage saling in the states will ever be the same again. Nothing beats a good-old-fashioned European flea market.

Do any of the larger American cities have a flea market? Do tell if you know of good one......I'll have to plan a trip!



Sarah Pearson said...

You have some fabulous stuff there - I adore that table :-)

Krista said...

Wow, what fun! I would go absolutely nuts!!! I totally dig your table it's gorgeous and all those table covers are lovely. Your house must be an eclectic mash up from all your travels, how wonderful!!!!

Heather, 29 Skirts said...

You found so many beautiful things! How cool that you can take the legs off that gorgeous table for easy transport =) My local flea market in Pasadena, California, is supposedly the largest in the United States. It's held on the second Sunday of every month, and it is amazing. It can't match flea marketing in Europe I'm sure, but there is a huge vintage and antiques section.

Heather, 29 Skirts said...

PS: It's called the Rose Bowl Flea Market.

Miss K said...

that table is crazy gorgeous. great buy!!!

Helga! said...

OMG I LOVE what you got,especially the table!!OOOOO!
O,the sadness of what you couldn't egt!That chandelier and retro cabinet are soooo amazing!And I must say I have a bit of a fancy for taxidermy,no idea why!! What an awesome market! GAWD how fab a time are you going to have setting all your goodies up at home!That'll keep you amused for some time!!

victoryvintageb said...

Your so funny..yup totally been the one who "bought" the item no body saw coming, and then been the "blank staring girl" realizing I just paid the price for not paying attention to detail. Oh girl..I loved the coats!! Now when I saw the photos of the goodies your brought back I was like HECK YA! The tapestries I eps. love! What great decorative hardwares...thanks for sharing!

Christianna said...

That table is sooooo epic! How much fun are flea markets?! You got some great finds, and those seem like some great deals. I went to the Hell's Kitchen Flea Market in NYC in June. I flew in, so I didn't have room for most of the stuff I would have bought, but it was fun to look anyways!

Anastasios said...

I love those markets too.
It's funny you know, in UK they call those car boot sales just because earlier people used to drive to the market area and put their merchandise on their car boot :)

Hey, that table is indeed glamorous and classy! I love its geometric designs and pearls.


Bibi said...

Awesome vintage Water Bottle! Great Finds, Michelle! I bet your house is decorated very pretty!
That vintage suitcase is neat, too. I'd like to have that one ;)

Lisa said...

What great finds! It looks like you'll have some redecorating to do when you get home. How fun! I love bringing things home from my travels too. Being surrounded by things that spark great memories is the best.