SPECIALTY & QUALITY SHOPPING
nice shops & smart boutiques, best buys & useful tips, exclusive gifts & typical souvenirs
The following is our selection of tips and advices concerning Quality and Specialty Shops and Boutiques in Brussels and, in some cases, in Belgium. The capital of Europe and of Art Nouveau has a unique selection of fine shops and boutiques.
Rue Antoine Dansaert, at a walking distance from the Sablon Area is the fashion quarter of Brussels full of gem-like boutiques selling one-of-a-kind creations. The best one-stop shopping for Belgian designers, such as Antwerp-based Dries Van Noten and Anne Demeulemeester, is at Stijl.
The Avenue Louise is one long catwalk with no surprises of famous fashion brands, including big international names like Chanel, Vuitton, Hermes, Giorgio Armani, Gianni Versace and Christian Dior. The first section is one of the most attractive shopping districts in the city, with prestigious as well as more affordable shops clustered around the large department store Innovation.
Built in 1847, the Galleries Royales St Hubert are 3 gorgeous, glass roofed arcades in the center of town, lined with cafes, theaters and luxury stores and has the distinction of being the first shopping arcade in Europe. You will find there Design shops, Italian gloves, old and fashion Jewelry boutiques, curiosa,...
The Sablon Area is the Antiques district of Brussels. The Place du Sablon every Saturday and Sunday is covered by the "Sablon Antique Market". For flea-market bargains, check the rue Haute and the rue Blaes.
Brussels is also vey strong on African and Tribal Arts, and we would recommend to visit the Gallery J. VISSER at 37 Rue Lebeau, as it is an Art Nouveau house by Victor HORTA. The Brussels Ancient Art Fair, BAAF is a must.
ART NOUVEAU GIFTS AND SOUVENIRS
Also in the Sablon Area, and as Brussels is the Capital of the Art Nouveau style, you will find typical and exclusive gift ideas at Senses Art Nouveau Shop (Rue Lebeau 31). This exclusive and smart shop specialises in reproductions of classics of Art Nouveau design: jewellery, candlesticks, decanters, silk scarves, cuff-links and the like.
Perfect for a stilish souvenir or a special gift for every occasion: wedding present, birthday, valentine, business ... or just because it is a nice and unusual piece of History.
The classic Belgian accessory for women is a Delvaux handbag: it will cost about €1,000 and will look great forever.
The original Delvaux shop on boulevard de Waterloo (just a at walking distance from the Sablon Area) has a not-for-sale collection of classics from past decades.
As for Antiques or Art Nouveau Souvenirs, make a pilgrimage to the Grand Sablon Area: here you will find the Big Belgian Names for Chocolate: try the "designer" Pierre Marcolini or cross the square to the slightly less chic Wittamer but more traditional family-run shop.
On the same square you will found also the two best Chocolate chain stores: Godiva and Neuhaus.
If you want a truly Belgian invention, go for the pralines rather than the truffles and
remember that Chocolate travels best in the cold seasons and that you should keep them in the fridge untill leaving...
LACE & TAPESTRY
Traditional but not very trendy as a gift idea, Lace as Tapestry have long been a typical product of Belgium. A small tradition survives, but be aware: very few item are still completly produced by hand in Belgium and their cost should be very high...
Beer is a less portable than other souvenirs (as bottle should be in glass), but Belgium is still a wonderful place to buy it. The country produces over 600 beers, most of them on too small a scale to distribute overseas even if the largest Beer Group in the World is the Belgian-Brazilian INBEV.
For a special taste, try the Mort Subite Kriek at the typical Belgian Café: La Mort Subite (Sudden Death) just the other site of the Galleries Royales St Hubert.
SOME OF THE BEST BELGIUM & BRUSSELS SHOPPING LINKS
-EUROSTAR: shopping destination Brussels a short description from the high speed train operators between Brussels, Paris and London.
-THE ECONOMIST citis guids of Brussels Wise Buys
-TRIPADVISOR: Activities in Brussels Created and updated all the time by real travelers.
-YAHOO Travel guide on Brussels shopping.
-VERGIN EXPRESS review of Cool districts Châtelain Chic, Dansaert Fashion, Historic Marolles.
-EUROSTAR: between Meetings good selection of nice and interesting shops and boutiques.
-WORLD66 Brussels ShoppingSpeciality shops by "the travel guide you write".
-BRUXELLES ARTNOUVEAU shopping selection of Art Nouveau related stores.
-The NEW YORK TIMES NYT Travel Section of Brussels shop listings from the Brussels Travel Guide.
-FODOR'S Online Travel Guide on Brussels Shopping overview.
-TIME OUT TRAVEL Shopping.
-VIRTUAL TOURIST ANTIQUE SHOPPING and flea markets.
-FROMMERS The best Shopping for the Capital of Europe.
-Ive been there Tips on Brussels Shopping by THE GUARDIAN Unlimited.
-Diane von Furstenberg
The official website of the famous Belgian born designer whose exclusive designs can be seen on the catwalks and red carpets around the world.
-ModobruxellaeEverything you want to know about Belgian fashion, stores, special events and more in Brussels.
-Shopping in Antwerp Guide
The official tourist office provides a shopping guide per zone of the city.
-Delvaux Leather BagsRetailers in Belgium and abroad.