Brussels’ classic souvenir is chocolate. Fresh creamy pralines are for sale at Wittamer, Place du Grand-Sablon, who have had almost a century to perfect their recipes. Beer is best bought at Bière Artisanale, Chaussée de Wavre 174 (website: www.users.skynet.be/beermania), which stocks over 400 types of beer and glasses to suit.
Designer clothes are clustered around the smart Avenue Louise and Avenue de la Toison d’Or.
Children’s and adults’ tastes alike are met at Brussels’ many comic book shops. Among these is centrally located La Boutique Tintin, Rue de la Colline 13. Brussels lace – on show at the Lace Museum, Rue de la Violette 6 – is for sale at F Rubbrecht, Grand-Place 23, or at the city’s largest lace maker, Manufacture Belge de Dentelle, Galerie de la Reine 6-8. Most of the souvenir lace shops around Grand-Place are less authentic.
Every day is market day in the different parts of Brussels. Among the best ot these is the flower market, open Tuesday-Sunday 0800-1800, at Grand-Place, also the site of Sunday morning’s bird market. Antiques are sold at the market on Place du Grand-Sablon, Saturday 0900-1800 and Sunday 0900-1300, while the flea market at Place du Jeu de Balle, in the Marolles district, is open daily 0700-1300, at its best on weekend mornings. A more high street experience, however, is at hand at City 2 shopping mall, in the shop-studded Rue Neuve, where shops stay open on Fridays until 2000.
Standard shopping hours are 10.00-18.00/19.00 but the Grand-Place area stays open until about 20.00.
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