The 5 best arcades
1) Galeries Saint-Hubert
The beautiful Galeries Saint-Hubert was a sensation when it opened in 1847. It was the world’s first shopping arcade, with shops, a theatre, restaurants, cafes and apartments all under one roof. It is still an alluring place where specialised shops sell German cutlery, Italian gloves and Belgian chocolates.
2) Galerie Bortier
The Galerie Bortier is a romantic 19th- century arcade with wood-panelled walls and a glass roof. Never as successful as the Saint-Hubert arcade, it is mainly occupied by antique print shops and secondhand booksellers.
3) Passage du Nord
A 19th-century arcade decorated with iron statues of female caryatides. The shops include a cutlery shop and a tiny oyster bar.
4) Galerie de la Porte de Namur
This modern arcade next to the Porte de Namur metro station leads into the Matongé district. It is occupied by exotic shops selling bright African fabrics, hairdressers where women get braids and extensions, discount shipping firms and African music stores.
5) Galerie Ravenstein
This impressive modernist arcade was built in the 1950s to link Central Station with the Palais des Beaux Arts. It used to be a gloomy place lined with dark bars, but it now has bookshops, a branch of Exki and an architecture studio.
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