A Scouting Trip to Belgium Yields Beautiful Treasures
I booked our initial scouting and buying trip to Belgium not fully knowing what to expect. On our other journeys to Europe, I had images in my mind of our destination. France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, England—they all have iconic features that you easily envision. But, Belgium? All my mind could muster was beer. Oh, and chocolate. I was in for a pleasant surprise.
After arriving in Brussels, we hopped in our Sixt rental car and headed for the small town of Maillen and the wonderfully dreamy (and hip) Chateau de la Poste. If you ever wanted to sleep in a castle, this is the place. Set in the rolling hills, this hotel is pin-drop quiet. Several mornings, I jogged on the surrounding country roads and only saw cows and sheep in the green pastures. Speaking of castles, did you know there are more per square mile in Belgium than any other European nation?
The first two days of our stay were spent in the nearby larger towns of Namur, Wipeon, and Dinant. The three towns are home to several small antique stores that we scoured for treasures—kitchen linens, crystal, and small silver serving pieces.
Later in the week, we returned to Brussels for several days of discovery and meetings with vendors.
For us, Brussels offers wonderful antique shopping at the small markets that pop up around the city on the weekends. These are fantastic sources for vintage homewares, paintings, linens, and bric-a-brac. At one market, we were able to secure an exquisite linen and lace tablecloth (with the matching napkins for 20) for one of our clients. The set (in perfect condition) had been in the family of one of the city’s chocolate manufacturers. An awesome find for our client.
During this stay, we also took the train to the town of Waregem (in the Dutch-speaking northern part of the country) for a meeting with one of our vendors, Rummeny, producers of fine linens. We offer their table runners, placemats, kitchen towels, and blankets (perfect for chasing winter’s chill).
And, yes, while in Belgium we feasted on crunchy waffles with syrup, crispy frites (with mayo, hold the ketchup), and plenty of smooth, dark chocolate. There’s always time for dieting when you get home, right? Since Belgium is tiny it’s relatively easy (and fast) to move around. If you go, I’d recommend side trips to Luxembourg (check out the royal palace and cathedral); Bruges, Belgium (A UNESCO world heritage city with delish chocolates and sightseeing on the canals); and a hop to Lille, France (delightful scenic old town with Flemish architecture).
Belgium is petite, but packed with art, architecture, fashion, and delicious food.
Our Belgian Picks
Belgium Tourism Office—visitbelgium.com
Brussels Tourism Office—visitbrussels.be
Bruges Tourism Office—bruges.be
Luxembourg Tourism Office—visitluxembourg.com
Lille Tourism Office— lilletourism.com
Stay—Chateau de la Poste —chateaudelaposte.be/Accueil