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Brussels - Shop till you drop

Luxury and Affordable Shopping

If it's more luxury that you're after, then the Sablon and Marolles districts are for the connoisseur in you. Treat yourself to fine chocolates or find that rare object from antique dealers, or simply browse in the many second-hand and decorative outlets that can be found here in abundance. Art lovers will certainly be able to find something in the many local art galleries.

Another area worth visiting is on and around rue Antoine Dansaert. This is an area of avant-garde designers and fashion boutiques, where established and up-and-coming Belgian designers show off their clothes and accessories. Its fame never ceases to grow with a list of modern designers including Jean-Paul Knott, Annemie Verbeke, Nicolas Wait and Azniv Afsar. More designer shops can be found on the rue de Namur and avenue Louise, with top quality shoes, clothes, accessories and home decorations. Avenue Louise is one of the oldest thoroughfares in the city, with prestigious shops clustered around the large department store “Innovation”. The nearby rue Jourdan is a pedestrianised street that also houses shops selling classic and tasteful collections for Haute Couture shopping, as does the Galerie Louise with its top names in Italian and American fashion. On the nearby rue Louise the “Pain Quotidien” offers a covered courtyard for a well-deserved rest!

You can then continue your walk towards rue du Bailli and rue de la Toison D'Or, where every boutique exudes luxury and quality with national and international styles that include Laura Ashley and Kenzo. The nearby tiny rue Pépin is where Isabelle Baines presents her simple and delicate knitwear, and the boulevard de Waterloo offers a mainly Italian and French line-up with such famous names as Gucci, Armani, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, and Ralph Lauren, in prestigious spaces and decorous interiors hidden behind discreet window displays. One shop not to be missed is “Maison Delvaux”, which creates fine leather goods for the Belgian Royal family and is one of the country's oldest and reputed fashion houses.

Trendy Shopping

A stroll along place Brugmann with its elegant architecture, has become very ‘trendy' with an array of eclectic shops, patisseries and restaurants. The small roads off the place du Châtelain also houses its mix of shops specialising in end-of-lines, and watch out for” Mademoiselle Lucien” in rue Campenhout that specialises in luxury ready-to-wear and couture in a neo-classic style. Another area not to miss is the lively area on and around the rue de Tongres near the Parc du Cinquantenaire that offers the full range of every thinkable kind of store and small shop, but with a rather upscale policy.

For more practical shopping, head for rue Neuve, one of the most bustling of Brussels' shopping streets, and rue des Fripiers (place de la Monnaie) to do your basic shopping here. Many department stores and branches of the major large stores are found in this area. The rue du Midi neighbourhood is also full of bargain shops, and is particularly popular amongst stamp or coin collectors or artists seeking professional brushes or paints.

Brussels is also well-known for its outdoor markets. The rue Haute and rue Blaes are thronged with the most unexpected bric-a-brac and decoration shops, carefully interspersed with typical cafés and restaurants. There is also a flea market held every morning on place du Jeu de Balle, and place d'Espagne holds a craft market on summer weekends. However, from 3rd December for a month every year is the most popular Christmas Market on the Grand Place. Hundreds of stalls are strung out along the side streets, offering gastronomic and craft specialities originating from every region of Europe, and this is accompanied by shops in the city centre staying open all weekend for shopping for the three weeks leading up to Christmas.

Window shopping

The Bruxellois love to window-shop around their city, and there is every reason that you should join them. You can use the Brussels Card that is valid for three days and offers free public transport, as well as discounts in shops, restaurants and museums. There are plenty of shopping opportunities, especially around the Grand Place, where you can buy typical souvenirs such as Belgian chocolates, “speculoos” (a type of brown sugar biscuit), lace, fine glassware, Tintin memorabilia, and Belgian beer. You can also admire the elegant window displays of the small specialist shops just off the square in the Galeries Saint-Hubert.

These quaint shopping arcades house a whole variety of boutiques, including the well-known “Tropismes” book shop, several jewellery shops including “Ciel Mes Bijoux!” and “Treize”. There is also a good choice of cafés and chocolatiers to whet your appetite!

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