Title Image


As I’ve mentioned time and again here on the blog, Brussels is full of hidden gems – you just need to know where to look! While the majority of visitors head to the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, which are arguably amongst the oldest shopping arcades in Europe, far fewer people know about Galerie Bortier, a much smaller but equally beautiful arcade just a stone’s throw off the Mont des Arts.

Designed by Nowadays Jean-Pierre Cluysenaer, the architect who’s also behind the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, Galerie Bortier was constructed in 1847 and opened just one year later. The arcade was named after Mr. Bortier who supported the creation of the Marché de la Madeleine / Magdalenamarkt, one of the first covered markets in Brussels which was partly housed there. The market eventually closed but Galerie Bortier retained its charm through the years.

Nowadays Galerie Bortier hosts second-hand bookshops and an art gallery where one can score great deals if they’re up for some treasure-hunting: rare books, vintage prints and drawings, superb engravings… the list goes on. Some of the bookshops located here include the Librairie Pierre Coumans, Librairie Van der Elst and La Crypte Tonique, a shop and magazine that focuses on comics and prints of all kinds. If you’re keen on contemporary art, pop by B-Gallery, a space that supports young artists.  

After coming across lovely images of Galerie Bortier on both Pinterest and Instagram, I decided to visit it and see whether it was as beautiful in real life. You know what? It was even better. I loved the smell of old books, the calmness and of course, all the pretty decorative details that shined through the light from the glass ceiling – it’s really hard not to fall in love with this place! A great spot for bookworms, romantic souls, architecture geeks or vintage lovers. After your literary pause, don’t forget to pass by Aksum Coffee House or Laurent Gerbaud‘s team room for a cup of hot chocolate afterwards!

Address: Rue de la Madeleine 55, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

galerie_bortier_bookstores_brussels_smarksthespots_blog_01 galerie_bortier_bookstores_brussels_smarksthespots_blog_02 galerie_bortier_bookstores_brussels_smarksthespots_blog_03 galerie_bortier_bookstores_brussels_smarksthespots_blog_04 galerie_bortier_bookstores_brussels_smarksthespots_blog_05 galerie_bortier_bookstores_brussels_smarksthespots_blog_06 galerie_bortier_bookstores_brussels_smarksthespots_blog_07 galerie_bortier_bookstores_brussels_smarksthespots_blog_08 galerie_bortier_bookstores_brussels_smarksthespots_blog_09 galerie_bortier_bookstores_brussels_smarksthespots_blog_10 galerie_bortier_bookstores_brussels_smarksthespots_blog_11

Sandy (@smarksthespots)