[by Marjolein] Feeling like a kid on a school outing. The invitation for a press trip to the Namur region has my name written all over it. Namur – or Namen – is the capital of the province Wallonia, near the Belgian Ardennes.
Theme of the trip is antiques and brocante. As a collector (some would consider me a hoarder) this is just my kind of thing. After a comfortable Thalys train ride from Amsterdam we arrive at Namur Station. A brisk city walk shows some of the highlights, such as the Citadel and views on the rivers Meuse (aka Maas) and Samber. The pedestrian-only area has some lovely shops and cafés and the atmosphere is relaxed.
Château de Deulin
After the city sights of Namur, it’s castle time. Château de Deulin, 50 KM outside Namur. The well-kept château features classic white-painted bricks with grey doors and lots of lattice windows. Since 1760 in possession by the family De Harlez de Deulin. Originating from England, they made their fortune in the wine bizz. Charming Chevalier – or Count in English – Simon shows us around the courtyard and opens the doors to the central hall. Love the original mosaic floors and wood wall paneling. This is tasteful 2.0.
As it turns out, Simon deals in high-end Swedish and Italian antiques. Wandering through the different rooms on the ground floor I am inspired to relocate to a castle. The combination of ‘simple’ 18th century wooden furniture from Sweden, Chinese hand-painted wall paper, a 1950s leather chaise longue, Italian mirrors and alabaster vases is oh so chic. In the dining room, Simon tells us, the De Deulin family still gathers for their annual Christmas dinner.
Château de Deulin organizes about 4 events each year. To mention two: the ‘Salon des Antiquaires’ during the first two weekends in October or the annual three-day Christmas Fair with brocante, champagne, yummy foods and elegant Christmas presents (around the last weekend of November of every year). Double check the Deulin website to be certain you are there at the right time.
Château de la Poste
Tired after a long day, we head towards another castle. A sleeping castle. Correction: a cube. Confused? OK: I stayed in The Loft Cube on the vast terrain of the Château de la Poste. This ultra-modern design sleeps two people, but I had it all to myself. It is a surreal experience to stay in such a modern structure, but it suited me just fine. Good bed, no light or sound pollution and a perfect bathroom. My choice for a future visit too.
After a great sleep + buffet breakfast at the quiet Château de la Poste, we go to the village of Temploux. Once a year in mid-August, this village is flooded by collectors for the Brocante Festival Wallonia. Two days and nights, six kilometers – no typo – of stalls. Bring it on. Silverware, Barbie dolls, coins, rickety chairs, vintage furs, chandeliers, militaria, beer glasses and much more. Amidst all this, I manage to score a tiny mother-of-pearl box on ivory ball feet and as a memento a postcard of the main square of Namur in the 1950s.
Inspired by all this? Then a visit to the established Antica Namur fair from 10-18 November is an option. This is where you will find 130 high-end international art and antiques dealers. A ‘girls only’ option is their Ladies Day on 13 November in the afternoon. And don’t leave the area without a Belgium beer and fries. Noblesse oblige!
My visit to the region Namur in Wallonia was by invitation of België Toerisme Wallonië/Ardennen on behalf of Chapter Fifty. Chapter Fifty only accepts items or collaborations that answer positive to the question: “does it match our lifestyle?”. We will not promote anything that we would not wear, where we would not eat, sleep or see ourselves. Authenticity is very important to us. Words, photos and opinions are our own.