This shop sells handmade glassware, lamps, jewelry, and more gifts. Some of it with an Oriental / Middle Eastern touch. Cozy, funky little store.
What to buy: If you want a unique gift, you should stay off the main two shopping streets (Bondgenotenlaan and Diestsestraat) and take a walk in some of the sidestreets in the center. That's where you'll find little shops like this one.
What to pay: Oxin is moderately priced, no fancy boutique prices.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
This bookstore chain originates from Holland and has been around for a century. They have discounted (from publisher's overstocks) and second hand books on offer - including antiques, even.
What to buy: There's a wide selection of books available, neatly sorted by subject over a total of 5 floors (including ground level and basement). I like the art and architecture sections, and I've also seen a few interesting (photo-) books (including English ones) on Belgium/Flanders. Well worth a look before buying books elsewhere.
What to pay: De Slegte says their discounts on unused books are between 20 and 80%... As in most discount stores, quality varies greatly - but there are some great bargains to be had.
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.
Boeken Voordeel is a store that sells inexpensive books, videos/DVD's, greeting cards, calendars, stationary and other paper goods.
What to buy: It's a good place to pick up some Leuven postcards if you'd need any.
What to pay: Inexpensive. Especially for the postcards you'll certainly pay more elsewhere.
The Jewelry label "Twice As Nice" was founded 20 years ago, yet there are already over 40 stores throughout Belgium. The company prides itself in offering "fashionable, affordable yet classy jewelry for women of all ages".
note : they have a second address inside the INNO Department Store, which is located in Diestsestraat (shopping area parallel to Bondgenotenlaan) at n° 67-73 (phone : (0032) (0)16 / 22 90 11
What to buy: For pictures of the latest collection, check on : http://www.twiceasnice.be/Dutch/neglobal.htm
What to pay: Most of the available jewelry ranges from inexpensive to moderately priced - good value for money.
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".
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.
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.
Ok so we belgians are know for our chocolate. We have different known brands. Leonidas being one of the most famous and relatively cheap. When we have people visiting from other countries we usually buy them some and they just can't stop eating them. A japanese visitor even managed to finish a whole box in between dinner courses! But NOTHING prepares you for chocolate from this little store, they are just out of this world good. They are all house made and come in many different flavours, raspberry truffles anyone? It should say "Heaven" on the window!
What to buy: I like the white truffles most.
What to pay: 8 euros for 250 grams
For everyone who enjoys good cooking, good eating or just good living; you will always find just the right gift at Oil & Vinegar. They offer an extensive range of original, delicious culinary gifts, and many of these can be sampled in the shop. Almost all of their products can be specially wrapped, making a gift into a feast in itself.
Moreover, you can always have your special oil and vinegar containers (re-)filled at Oil & Vinegar with your favourite product.
What to buy: They have special olive oils (more than 25 varieties), different types of vinegar, dressings, olives, dried tomatoes, balsamic vinegar, various types of pesto, bruschetta, herbs and spices, chutneys, pasta in a wide range of colours, types and sizes, and so on. They also carry characteristic wines from South Africa.
As well as culinary products, you will find a range of associated articles at Oil & Vinegar. From authentic Spanish oil jars to handmade serviette rings, from decorative pasta dishes and inspirational cookbooks to candles and hand-decorated place-mats.
What to pay: Prices are moderate to expensive, but you get what you pay for.