Belgium

Belgium Travel Guide

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.

Established in 1839, this antiques store is one of the few still holding on to its spot on the Place du Grand Sablon. Its salons are filled with 18th-century furniture and objets - and sometimes with audiences for Baroque concerts - but the courtyard is what sets Costermans apart.

Rue Haute, like parallel Rue Blaes, traverses the Marolles district; both are dotted with antiquaries that grow more affordable the farther you travel away from the Place du Grand Sablon.

A building in two parts: the old wing, an 18th-century mansion that showcases re-creations of domestic life in that era; and next door, a modern extension with rotating exhibitions and a permanent collection that ranges from early-20th-century Art Nouveau cabinets by Henry van de Velde to whimsic

The sister-owned store stocks their paired-down women's line.

The antique-jewelry shop is just down the street from Dries Van Noten's fashion flagship.

What to Expect: Brussels' Christmas market has been around only since 2002, but it pulls off its Plaisirs d'Hiver/Winter Pret ("Pleasures of Winter") festival with elegant style.

To go antiquing in Brussels is to bask in civility and ease. Stay hard by the Gothic, gilded Grand Place - a square called on of the most beautiful in the world by no less than Victor Hugo.

The small museum's collection of vintage cameras and photgraphy equipment offers a comprehensive history of the craft. Don't miss the bookshop which has excellent monographs.