Brussels Shopping and Districts
(Brussels, Brussels-Capital Region, Belgium)
A lively city with superb shopping is how Brussels instantly appears to many tourists as they begin to explore the many shops and markets around the city. The city's Sablon area is the premier place for antiques shopping, while if you are interested in purchasing an original piece of Belgian art, then the 'Art Brussels' leaflet will prove invaluable and is available from the national tourist office.
There really is nothing quite like authentic Belgian chocolate and the Planète Chocolat on the Rue du Lombard is a good place to find some of the best confectionary and also doubles as a popular cafe famed for its hot chocolate. Other good gift ideas include traditional Belgian speculoos biscuits and antique lace, both of which are readily available at the city's largest general Sunday market, held around the Gare du Midi train station.
When to Shop and Opening Hours
A general guide to the expected shopping hours is as follows:
- Monday to Saturday - 10:00 to 18:00, 19:00 or 20:00
- Sunday - many of the larger shops, department stores and shopping centres now open on Sundays, closing at around 16:00 or 17:00
- Markets - you will find market traders operating ever single day around Brussels and most markets start early in the morning, at around 07:00 or 08:00
Where to Shop
The most prominent shopping areas in Brussels are around the Old Centre, and in the Upper Town, along the Avenue Louise and around Sablon.
Particularly popular in the Old Centre of Brussels are the beautiful shopping arcades of the Galeria Bortier, and the Galeries St. Hubert (Sint Hubertusgalerijen), which lies along the Rue des Bouchers and is the oldest mall not only in Brussels, but in the whole of Europe, dating back as far as the late 1830s.
Contrasting greatly with Brussels' historic shopping arcades, the nearby Rue Neuve is a major thoroughfare and lined with modern shops, familiar modern-day brands and various department stores.
Head to the Upper Town area if money is no object, or if you simply fancy a spot of window shopping at some of the most upmarket shops in Brussels. Both the Avenue Louise and the Boulevard de Waterloo are known for their designer clothing and expensive jewellery stores. The stores around the Galerie d'Ixelles and the Avenue de la Toison d'Or are also worth exploring.