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Brussels

galeries royales saint hubert shopping brussels belgiumBrussels is the birthplace of Godiva chocolates, and there are numerous outposts throughout the city where you can pick up a sampler of Belgium's signature sweets. Another popular souvenir to bring home is lace, which is available in many locations but particularly near Grand Place. Goods are fairly pricey here, as they are in many big Western European capitals, but keep an eye out for the city's twice-a-year sale periods, running throughout January and July.

The first stop for shoppers should be the popular Rue Neuve, home to big-name boutiques and department stores as well as several malls. You can stroll to your heart's delight, as it's a pedestrian-only street.

In Ilot Sacre, shoppers should head for the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert (between Rue du Marche-aux-Herbes and Rue de l'Ecuyer), a grand neo-Renaissance gallery filled with jewelry stores, upscale cafes, chocolatiers, clothing boutiques and bookstores.

The city's finest antique stores can be found in the neighborhood surrounding Place du Grand Sablon -- and if you're in town on a weekend, don't miss the antique market held on the square in front of Notre Dame du Sablon for unique and reasonably priced finds.

If you're looking to take home a little piece of Belgian haute couture, head for Avenue Louise, a major shopping artery packed with high-end department stores and chic boutiques such as Cartier and Louis Vuitton.

Flea market fans shouldn't miss the fun at the Vieux Marche, held daily until 1 p.m. on Place du Jeu de Balle. The 500 stalls offer a little bit of everything, including clothes, furniture, decorative items, paintings and postcards.
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