Shopping in Brussels is not just about lace, chocolates and Belgian beer. However, the craftsmanship and quality of the three certainly deserve your attention. At the city, you can explore the best boutique stores as well as diverse mix of souvenirs, art works and speculoos biscuits at Grand Place.
The locals usually shop on Saturdays. Most of the shops are closed on Sundays except the ones near Grand Place. Avoid shopping on Saturdays when the streets are crammed full.
If you are a luxury fashion maven, the Marolles and Sablon neighborhoods are perfect for shopping. The Grand Sablon square is surrounded by several boutiques, antiques stores, art galleries, restaurants, Belgian Chocolatiers, pastry shops and an auction house. On the weekend, the square plays host to the Sablon Antique and Books Market.
Another area where an array of fashion boutiques and avant-garde designers line the streets is Rue Antoine Dansaert. Many Belgian designers put their unique jewelry and clothes on display. Many modern designers including Azniv Afsar, Annemie Verbeke, Jean-Paul Knott and Nicolas Wait offer ritzy outfits for the fashionistas. Avenue Louise and Rue de Namur house numerous designer labels offering branded clothes, shoes, accessories, home décor and cosmetics. Avenue Louise is among the oldest pathways with famous shops huddled around the “Innovation”, a huge department store. Rue Jourdan is a street to be explored on foot, featuring some of the best Haute Couture shops. Galerie Louise also houses the top American and Italian labels in fashion.
Rue de La Toison D'Or and Rue du Bailli feature international brands where the boutiques display the most luxurious clothing of Kenzo and Laura Ashley. Rue Pépin is famous for delicate knitwear by Isabelle Baines. The Boulevard de Waterloo features the best French and Italian brands including Armani, Gucci, Chanel, Ralph Lauren and Yves Saint Laurent in discreet window displays. Maison Delvaux is hard to miss which is one of the most reputed and oldest fashion houses in Belgium. The store creates fine leather goods for the Royal family of Belgium.
Elegant architecture of Brugmann along with numerous patisseries, restaurants and diverse shops complete the shopping experience. Place du Châtelain is lined with end-of-line shops. Rue Campenhout features Mademoiselle Lucien which has neo-classic couture and ready-to-wear clothes. Rue de Tongres has all kinds of small shops.
Rue Neuve is one of the busiest shopping streets in the city and Rue des Fripiers (Place de La Monnaie) offers all your clothing essentials. Branches of major department stores and fashion stores are located in this area. The neighborhood of Rue du Midi is popular amongst professional artists looking for paints and brushes as well as coin or stamp collectors.
Outdoor markets are equally popular in Brussels. Rue Blaes and Rue Haute feature decoration and knick-knack shops alongside cafés and restaurants. Place d'Espagne has exclusive crafts market on summer weekends. The Christmas market held for a month starting from December 3 at Grand Place offers myriads of craft shops and food stalls from continental Europe on the side streets. Three weeks before Christmas, the city centre shops cater to the customers even on Sundays.
Windows shopping is a huge trend amongst the Bruxellois. A special Brussels Card which offers free public transportation and discounts at restaurants, shops and museums is valid for three days. Grand Place is great for exploring different shops and buying Belgian souvenirs like chocolates, lace, speculoos, glassware, Belgian beer and Tintin memorabilia. Galeries Saint-Hubert showcases beautiful window displays of specific shops.
These old fashioned shopping arcades house the popular Ciel Mes Bijoux and Treize jewelry shops and Tropismes book shop. You can also indulge in sweet treats including pralines and chocolates around this area.
In Brussels, there are many fashion tours and personal shoppers available. These expert fashionistas will help you explore every nook and cranny of the fashion districts in the city. They take you through the best of boutiques including Delvaux, Chine, Natan and Strelli as well as Dior, Gucci and Chanel. They particularly give advice on revamping your wardrobe by incorporating some of the unique elements of Belgium. Similarly, personal shoppers design a shopping tour suited to your needs and style. These shoppers provide tailor-made shopping experience for 3 hours.