Once thought of as dull and grey, Brussels is fast shedding this image and gaining itself a reputation as one of Europe’s must-do destinations, with its small town charm, trendy barsand restaurants,fabulous food, great nightlife, fantastic shopping, numerousmuseums, and other attractionsincluding the diverse and interesting exhibitions and festivalsorganized there every year.
Brussels is also becoming known as a mecca of style, art, and design. While attracting more and more big names in international fashion to its growing shopping districts, homegrown Belgian designers are rapidly gaining global notoriety. The streets of Brussels feature artand architecturecreated from an unmistakably Belgian point of view that cannot be replicated. This beautiful city is a center for fashion, art, and Belgian culture.
Brussels Must Sees
Grand Place: A unique mix of beautiful 17th century architecture and modern social life
Town Hall: This Gothic-style tower remains one of Belgium’s finest civic buildings
The Royal Palace: A stunning palace in the heart of Brussels that is open for public visits
Manneken Pis: The infamous statue serves as an symbol of the spirit and humor of Brussels
Coudenberg: Archaeological remains of a prestigious palace dating back to the Middle Ages
On Place St. Pierre and Rue du Cygne. Sunday mornings.
Take a walk along Rue Antoine Dansaert Straat and the surrounding area to discover
the hub and heart of Brussels’ fashion and design world with the best concentration of
avant guard designers and fashion boutiques.
The Avenue Louise is one long catwalk 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.
If you are looking for bargains, then go shopping in the lower city around Rue Neuve in the city center. It is one of the most bustling of Brussels’ shopping areas that stretches all the way up to Rue des Fripiers.
Built in 1847, Gallerie St Hubert is a gorgeous, glass roofed arcade in the center of town, lined with cafes, theaters and luxury stores and has the distinction of being the first shopping arcade in Europe. It houses a number of well-known shops with wonderful window displays.
Founded in 1829 in Brussels, Delvaux is the oldest fine leather luxury goods company in the world
This website takes you on a virtual tour through Brussels, to discover the “art of living” through Brussels’ monuments, restaurants, designers, and most importantly – shopping. Great information and clickable maps for all the best shopping districts in Brussels.
What’s better than treating yourself to the wonderful pleasure of being swept away by a fine and growing collection of designer labels at the Ardennes Outlet Center in the French speaking region of Belgium? Go crazy!
Belgian Specialties: Tapestries, Lace & Chrystal
For over six centuries, Belgian tapestry has been a highly prized luxury craft. Tapestry designs involve weaver and artists working closely together. Painters including Rubens, produced drawings for a series of weavings of six or more on grand themes. Prized by the nobility, tapestries were portable and could be moved with the court as rulers traveled their estates. As trade grew, techniques were refined; real gold and silver were threaded into the fine wool, again increasing the value. Classical myths were popular themes for tapestry series.
The intricate lace patterns in Belgium are unmatched in any other country. Belgian lace is bought today mainly as a souvenir, but despite the rise in machine-made lace from other countries, the quality here still remains as fine as it was in the renaissance, during the peak of the lace trade.
Walking through the Crystal Company, alone or in-group, you can see the different crafts that are necessary for the production of crystal and the secret of their creation. Val Saint Lambert is the official supplier to H.M. the King of Belgium and they also supply 40 kingdoms and head of states. Located in Seraing near Liege.
This small village situated in the heart of the Ardennes welcomes you all year long! You can find numerous books on the most miscellaneous topics in the 22 bookshops of this picturesque village. The bookshops are usually open on weekends, holidays, and vacations.
Belgium is a genuine paradise for gourmet lovers. If you have ever had a chance to read Asterix and the Belgians, you would already know one of the most obvious truths of our weird and wonderful country: Belgian cuisine is as good as the French one, and as generous as the German one. At least we hope it is not the other way round!
And another fact about Belgium and food: you do not need to go to a 3 starred restaurant to really enjoy a delicious and original meal. The list enclosed on the right hand side sub-menu will tell you about some of the finest, oddest and most amazing places where you can enjoy something different, and so good, that you will not forget it for the rest of your life: from the internationally acclaimed restaurants to the most unlikely places.
When it is about Gastronomy, in Southern Belgium, just expect the unexpected and don’t be surprised to meet people who have travelled for miles to join the experience!
Sweet Leisure: Food, travel, entertaining and other pleasures of the good life – Belgium : food specialties by Susan Manlin Katzman
Belgian chocolate has been the food of champions, a lure for lovers, the indulgence of the rich and later, the favorite of the masses.
Visiting Belgium? Craving for quality chocolate? Unlike wine, beers and other fluids, Airlines have not yet regulated the amount of chocolate you wish to bring back state side.
The Sablon – Zavel Square was always famous for Antiques shopping, fancy florist, porcelain stores and great restaurants. In recent years, the Royal Household supplier House of Wittamer was joined by Haut Chocolatier Pierre Marcolini and by Belgium’s most famous and traditional chocolate shops: Neuhaus, Godiva and finally Cote d’Or celebrating 125 years of chocolate manufacturing in their first shop where you will find the entire collection.
Belgium produces 172,000 tons of chocolate per year with more than 2,000 chocolate shops throughout the country. Pralines in Belgium are sublime chocolate confections. A beautifully sculpted chocolate shell conceals a center of filling which explodes with a surprising texture and flavor in your mouth. Many chocolatiers still make their pralines by hand. Every town and even small villages have chocolate stores with luxurious pralines.
In Belgium, beer is more than just a frothy beverage – it is a culture. With over 450 different varieties, many Belgian beers have personalized beer glasses in which only that beer may be served. The shape of each glass enhances the flavor of the beer for which it is designed. This tradition may seem like behavior reserved for wine snobbery, but Belgians take their beer seriously – and with good reason. The country has enjoyed an unparalleled reputation for specialty beers since the Middle Ages. Connoisseurs favor Belgian beers for their variety, real flavor and character.
It is easy to see the depth to which beer has become one with Belgium’s culture. What other country has a driving tour through the countryside called the Beer Route? After a day of castle hopping, visitors can stop by one of the local cafés to enjoy some chocolate with their beer, as their worries melt away. Whether you were visiting a brewery, sitting in a café or attending a festival, visitors will remember the first time they tasted their favorite brew.
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