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If Brussels was a lady, she’d be a really clever one. For she knows how to keep her secrets intact for those clever admirers who see beneath the surface and discover her true beauty. As I’ve mentioned before on the blog, Brussels is full of hidden gems, so you really need to know where to look. The Tropismes Libraires is one of those places.

Located in the impressive Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, the oldest shopping arcades in Europe, not too far from the Grand Place (or Meert for that matter!), the Tropismes is one of the most beautiful bookstores in Europe and one of the best bookshops in Brussels. Aside from the arcades which remind me of my Parisian days, I really love the setting of this place. Formerly a dance school for Brussels’ elite and a famous jazz club later on in the ’60s, the building housing the Tropismes since 1984 is a true work of art with its high ornate ceilings, mirrored walls and elaborately gilded columns. The space is open, bright and so inviting that you can spend hours browsing through books.

The store spreads over three floors where you’ll find an extensive collection of French literature as well as books related to art, cooking, history, poetry, philosophy, music, architecture, a comics section and even a limited number of English publications. The books on offer are very well organized and beautifully displayed on shelves and tables, so be warned that it may be hard to leave empty-handed. Similarly to Ptyx, a few selected books have handwritten short comments posted on their cover – a lovely touch that makes the whole experience feel much more personal than at your typical bookstore. My favourite part of the shop is the children’s section on the upper floor which is basically a balcony overlooking the whole space. Apart from the impressive view, this part of Tropismes is full of colour and creative ideas – it’s always fun to see the world through the eyes of children. 

In case you need advice, feel free to ask the very knowledgeable staff who are always happy to help with a smile. If you’re keen on discovering a spot off the beaten path in Brussels, love reading or looking for a special way to spend a rainy afternoon, the Tropismes is a spot worth adding to your list.

Address: Galeries des Princes 11, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Telephone: +32 2 5128852

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Sandy (@smarksthespots)