Belgium Travel Guide

The multitalented Muriel Bardinet (dealer, interior designer, painter, photographer) puts the chic back into shabby.

At the Desmet antiques gallery, nearly everything is of majestic scale and almost nothing is Belgian. Sarcophagus-like stone tubs come from France, boldly framed mirrors from the Netherlands and Italy, a pair of Georgian gateleg tables from Britain.

American decorators haunt this place for Michel Lambrecht's clever furnishings.

A clothing boutique with Martin Margiela sweaters and Veronique Branquinho heels.

Friday morning see an antiques auction in the Vrijdagmarkt (Friday Market).

These dealers in African art and relics as well as the adjacent Congo Basin Art History Research Center can be found on a charming lane off the Place du Grand Sablon.

Diamond House sits the heart of Antwerp's jewelry district.

A fuchsia-and-black jewel box filled with froth dresses and accessories.

An ormolu-mounted fruit-wood desk and a bench of thick rubber molded to resemble giant blocks of chocolate front a huge painting of African dancers.

If collections in black, off-black, and charcoal-blakc are your thing, Schneider's tiny atelier will please you. Skinny men's trousers, shirts, and pullovers come in unexpected felts, knits, and thick cottons; so do the demure dresses and skirts.

Midcentury Modern furniture by such legendary designers as Charles and Ray Eames and Jean Prouvé.

For years the Zuid district was considered up-and-coming, now this glamorous nexus is considered permanently chic.

Here, an exhaustive history of the diamond trade is offered but most come for the dark corridors that hold brightly lit cases filled with 19th-century regal diamond diadems, bravura tiaras, and other staggering works of art.