This is the old Yale CO-OP and old Harvard COOP all rolled into one! A great many books along with essential student supplies. Unlike the Library, I didn't need a special card to enter here. Specially good selection of foreign language manuals.
What to buy: Books, of course!
What to pay: About average
It's always a delight to browse through a kitchen and cooking shop. There are always items that I need and there we were, spoiled for choice.
What to buy: I bought a 'Molenmes' (knife) by Robert Herder (Solingen, Germany). Made by hand, is always sharp because of how it is sharpened. It's not rust free but that makes the steel much harder. The little vegetable knife kost me just under 8 euro.
I liked the hats in the window of this shop. Obviously, Marleen Gielen is a hat designer. However, it's a pity I can't find more of her on the internet!
Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 11-18 hrs
A supermarket is what you need. This one is right on the edge of Leuven.
Monday 09:00 - 20:00
Tuesday 09:00 - 20:00
Wednesday 09:00 - 20:00
Thursday 09:00 - 20:00
Friday 09:00 - 21:00
Saturday 09:00 - 20:00
What to buy: Everything you need for your daily requirements can be bought at Carrefour Hypermarché.
A lot of the products are more French oriented. Certain products that I like I can buy in Belgium instead of France, which is further away.
Whenever I am in Belgium I buy Devos Lemmens Mayonaise which is excellent, typically Belgian mayonaise. '
This time I also stocked up on Fleur de Sel, which is salt harvested by hand. Since I am having guests immediately upon my return, I bought a selection of cheeses, white wine, and some easy ready-made fresh pastry to make a frangipane tart and an onion tart for lunch.
Out of the many bookstores in Leuven, this one is my personal favorite. Nice and relaxt atmosphere, and the staff is super friendly and helpfull. Not only do they have a great range of literature (in Dutch), they also have English books (art, novels, second-hand). They will start selling (more) books in French/Spanish/Italian very soon, so please stop by if that is what you are looking for.
What to buy: Books, from art to novels to second hand, but also pretty postcards, nice gadgets, and much more.
What to pay: Boekcargo is quite cheap: prices range from as little as 5E (for a real book, that is) up to max. 30E.
This is a great shop near the citycenter of Leuven. They have the most original and rare retro style items. Most of the products are retro inspired (sixties and seventies) so with cheery colours and a great design.
What to buy: The retro lounge posters are really great and give your room an instant retro effect. But also the lighting is very cool: arc lamps and retro print lamp shades. You'll think you are back in the seventies! :-)
Living Lounge has a wide range of funny retro printed coasters, mugs and glasses, all priced between 2.90 and 9.00 euros.
For the ladies there are a lot of very nice handbags with retro print, but also other accessories like wallets, hip belts, ... !!
Last but not least: the most awesome retro wallpaper with circles and other seventies prints. I want to decorate my whole house like this ;-) (You can see most of the prints on the website)
What to pay: The prices at Living Lounge are very cool. You'll find some great present for less than 10 euros, there is even a 'gifts below 10 euros' category on the webshop! But also furniture and lighting are not that expensive.
Serena is probably the only store in Leuven that reminds me a bit of the more typical "tourist" stores in places like Bruges and Brussels - but that's mainly due to the selection of items - I wouldn't describe the store as cheesy or overly epxensive.
What to buy: The emphasis is on lace products (lace fans, umbrellas, porcelain dolls, antique bobbins, lace equipment, fine linen and batist, blouses, old and new lace) but they do have anything from medieval-looking tapestries to figurines, dolls, and other little nic-nacs - some of which are really very nice.
Worth a look if you want to find a genuinly "Flemish" (decorative) gift for someone.
I don't know the exact opening hours, but business hours here are usually mon-sat 10:00-18:00, closed on sundays.
You probably know this chain since Zara has 762 stores located in the main commercial areas of 55 countries in America, Europe, the Middle East and Asia - so chances are there is one near you. There are a dozen Zara stores in Belgium.
What to buy: hmm... how about ... fashion ? The web site has a good illustrated overview of their selection and catalogue.
What to pay: prices are moderate.
Wibra is a Dutch / Belgian chain of stores that sells inexpensive - if not to say dead cheap - products, which doesn't necessarily mean all their products (most of it is textile) are inferior - although some of them are of questionable quality or look a bit, well, tacky/shabby. But even if you're a discerning customer you can still pick up a few good bargains here.
What to buy: Wibra is good place to go to if you need certain items but don't want to spend too much on them, including :
-spare socks, underwear, t-shirts, pullovers, night gowns, children's clothing, etc ...
-kitchenware, glassware, utensils
-items for home decoration, bed linnens, towels, etc...
-a selection of drugstore / bodycare products
-toys, sweets, and little nic nacs to keep the kids happy (like sticker books, funky hairclips, etc...)
What to pay: Practically anything there is a bargain, but be selective and check the quality.
You can usually view their latest promotions -folder on the web site to get an idea of their selection.
Essenza is a small chain of bath / beauty & health products with a dozen shops throughout Belgium, the Leuven location - a nice store in a beautiful row house - only opened recently.
What to buy: Delicatessen, health products such as food supplements and herbal teas, a wide range of cosmetics and bath & beauty products, and gifts.
FNAC is somewhat of an entertainment-store institution in Belgium and can be found in the main cities. The stores are quite big and well organized. The Leuven location has only been around for a few years.
What to buy: The ground floor is all consumer electronics and related items - there's quite a selection but I do find them quite expensive in this department (more below) and would only recommend buying someting like a peripherial (cable, memory card, etc...) you can't find elsewhere immediately.
FNAC also specializes in ticket sales for various shows and events, check their ticketing desk if you need to get hold of some.
The books / music / movie department on the upper level is where the store really shines in terms of selection. I can't say too many things about the store clerks I've encountered so far, since I find them fairly uninterested / uninformed - which leads me to think that working at FNAC must be some sort of terrible punishment - but if you know what you're after and can do without bothering any of these disgruntled, lackluster individuals just when they're about to go on their coffee- or sanitary break - you'll love the store.
What to pay: I find FNAC to be a rather pricey store. I saw an item I wanted in the electronics department marked at EUR 225 and after shopping around I managed to get the exact same thing for EUR 180 a few days later ... do the math. I can only assume it must be terribly expensive to run this place if they charge an average of 15 to a whopping 25% more on electronics than most places. The price difference is less noticeable on books, music and movies, however - so don't let my whining put you off.
Rawette has been around for about 25 years, according to owner Mr. Paul Julèmont it was the first second hand clothing store in Leuven.
What to buy: Second hand men's/women's/children's clothing and jewelry. More recently, the focus is shifting more toward brand and designer clothes - most of which sell very fast. But there is quite a big selection to choose from in all price ranges.
What to pay: Most items are moderately priced, but not really "inexpensive".
A few years ago, WE came into being - a European merger of two other fashion retail chains - HIJ en ZIJ (he and she), and the Dutch-based label soon became an international brand name with over 200 store locations in 6 countries.
What to buy: The Leuven store is very spacious and offers a wide selection in men's, women's and children's clothing and accessories.
What to pay: Most items are moderately priced.
Caroline Biss has stores throughout Europe, of which a dozen or so in Belgium. I haven't seen any stores other than the Leuven location so it can't say how it compares to others - it's a spacious store, though.
What to buy: Modern, prêt-a-porter ladies fashion.
What to pay: Prices are moderate to expensive.
From the outside it looks like your average supermarket, and while Denon is actually a part of the AD Delhaize supermarkt group (there is at least one in every Belgian town) this particular shop has a longstanding reputation when it comes to wines and cheeses.
What to buy: Since it's a supermarket you can basically buy anything you need in terms of food / drink - including fresh produce or, better yet, a few bottles of those Belgian beers you've been craving for.
What to pay: Moderate prices. Delhaize is not the cheapest supermarket, but they carry mostly quality brands and have a wide selection.