The 5 best bookshops in Brussels

1) Tropismes

This beautiful bookshop occupies a former restaurant in a 19th-century arcade. The ornate ceilings and high mirrors are still in place, creating a spectacular setting for browsing. Most of the books are in French, but they have a small section of English books next to the staircase.

bookshop Tropismes

2) Waterstones

Originally a branch of WH Smith’s, this English-language bookshop was founded in 1921. Now owned by Waterstones, the shop has thick carpets, knowledgeable staff and an inspiring range of books, magazines and newspapers. The neighbourhood, unfortunately, is not as smart as it was back in 1921.

Waterstones book store in Brussels

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3) Librebook

Founded by Antonio Parodi in 2016, this quirky corner bookstore stocks books in 30 European languages. It’s a slightly chaotic place filled with old furniture salvaged from local offices. But Parodi has turned his space into a lively cultural hub with readings, book launches and jazz sessions.

shop interior of Librebook Brussels

4) Peinture Fraîche

This is a beautiful, calm art bookshop. The shelves are lined with gorgeous books on art, architecture and fashion, many of them in English. Students come here from the city’s art and design schools to pick up textbooks at reduced price. The shop also stocks international art magazines that are hard to find anywhere else in Brussels.

street front of Peinture Fraîche in Brussels

5) Passa Porta

A narrow passage off the fashionable Rue Dansaert leads to the international literature centre Passa Porta. Its small bookshop has an inspiring selection of world literature, including a small selection of modern English fiction in the back room. International writers regularly pass this way to give readings or reside in a luxurious writer’s at around the corner.

bookstore Passa Porta in Brussels

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