The main shopping area in Brussels is along the Rue Neuve and it's here
that you'll find most of the large, international chains as well as Inno,
the wholly Belgian department store. The offerings along the Rue Neuve are quite
mainstream however and you'll have to look elsewhere for more unusual items.
Brussels's designer stores have made their home around Avenue Louise and Avenue
de la Toison d'Or. Though not super stylish, the area has a number of smart
shops selling a good mix of clothing and accessories. For contemporary Belgian
fashion you should take a stroll along the Rue Antoine Dansaert, although the
young Belgian designer stars here don't sell their wares cheaply. If you're looking
for a bargain you should probably retreat back to the Rue Neuve; if you're
looking for quality clothing however, there's nowhere better in the city.
Brussels is an educated place and bookshops abound, with English-language
books available in the larger ones.
The best - and most elegant - of Brussels's ever-increasing number of shopping
malls is Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert (Rue des Bouchers), allegedly Europe's
first covered shopping centre. The light, glass-roofed arcade dates back to the
19th century and has a more selective mix of shops than many European counterparts.
Largely eschewing the allure of multinational companies, Brussels remains a vibrant
market city. The Grand-Place is transformed into a brilliantly coloured flower market
every morning. The vibrant colours and sounds make it a popular place for a morning
Place du Grand Sablon is one of Europe's premier locations for quality
antique shopping. At the weekend, the area is taken over by an enormous antiques
market, which appeals as much to locals taking leisurely strolls as it does to
tourist shoppers in search of a bargain. The market runs Sat 09h00-17h00 and Sun
Just round the corner from Sablon is the Place de Marolles, where an
enormous junk market is held every weekend. The market is as fascinating for people-watching
as it's for trawling the eclectic range of merchandise.
The largest market appears at the Gare du Midi on Sunday mornings.
With an A-Z selection of clothes, household goods, souvenirs and foodstuffs, the
only downside is its limited time-span: most stallholders have gone by lunchtime.