Brussels is a city full of surprises and possibilities, that are often hidden around corners, in luxurious galéries and old-fashioned alleys, and walking around the city is a good way of finding them out.
If you are in need of a bookstore – or you just want to enjoy the smell of a freshly-printed literary masterpiece – you will only need to look around you. Brussels in fact offers an almost endless choice of great bookstores, with various options for languages, topics and services. But if you are in need of an advice or a new idea for a lazy afternoon, here is a list of bookstores I love!
Let’s start with a classic -and my favorite spot: Piola Libri is an Italian bookstore situated close to the European Council. It gained popularity quite quickly, probably because of its relaxed environment, the good Italian food and wines and the great events hosted. It is a must among both the Italian expats and the bruxellois, who regularly meet there for an afterwork aperitivo or a concert.
At the second place there is the bookstore hidden in Galerie Bortier, close to Grand Place. The frame of this store is unusual: in fact, it is hosted in a shopping arcade designed by the Belgian architect Jean-Pierre Cluyseneart in 1847 and the façade is in pure Flemish baroque stile. The setting is impressive and so is the quantity of books inside: enter, sit on the steps with a book and enjoy the atmosphere, you won’t regret it!
Located close to the vibrant square of Flagey, Ptyx offers to its visitors an intriguing façade, made of portraits and bios of famous writers. The decorative theme is re-proposed on the inside too, on the walls and ceilings, making the environment more personal and appealing. Ptyx offers a good choice of books on human sciences, science-fiction and comic books, together with children’s books.
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Waterstones is another classic: if you need some good books and engaging events check it out. The bookstore is well furnished and the conferences it hosts always touch on interesting topics. For example, on the 6th of June 2017 Waterstone will host human rights activists and politicians from Europe, Israel and Palestine to talk about the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day-War and to discuss the situation in the Middle East.
“I have lived in the capital of Europe for more than 20 years and I could never understand why in such a cosmopolitan city, you weren’t able to find a bookshop reflecting its diversity. So I decided to carry out the Librebook project and few month ago I launched my own bookselling business” .
This is how Antonio Parodi, the founder of Librebook. Explains the reason for the birth of his “creature”.
Librebook, with its selection of contemporary fiction in some 20 European languages, is so far unique. The languages are mostly those of the EU Prize for Literature that covers up to 37 Countries. At Librebook you can find Serbian and Croatian novels, Belgian Flemish and French-speaking literature very close to each other, and even books in Maltese and Luxembourgish.