Louvain-la-Neuve is a Belgian college town, situated in the ‘Brabant Wallon’ province. Over the past few years several new shops, places to eat and bars have been added to this small city.
One of the pleasant features of Louvain-la-Neuve, or ‘Louve’ as the kids call it, is the mix of students and people from outside the university community that can be found strolling around the centre to spend a relaxed day.
Time for sweetness
A cupcake shop that charms me is Les Cup’Inn! in the Grand Rue nr 27. This small and cosy parlour is integrated in the same building as the Superbien interior design store. So technically, if you get really hungry after buying a new lamp all you have to do is walk a few metres and order a cupcake. I ordered a milk chocolate one with passion fruit and chocolate frosting. They also have mojito cupcakes on the menu, amongst other varieties you can see listed in the picture on the left. Everything you order (including coffee) is take away. My advice is to check it out before 2 pm (although it’s open until 6pm) because those cupcakes are sold out fast!
The Ooak shop is a wonderful green oasis that stores interior design, jewelry, and… they sell sandwiches. What I found most remarkable is the plants hanging from the ceiling and the ‘plant wall’ that is attached to the counter. Ooak is also home to a huge banana plant. Whether you want to surprise someone with a Cluse watch, treat yourself to a new ring or bracelet, purchase a snazzy lamp or plant, this cabinet of wonders has it all.
Ooak – Passage de l’Ergot 34
Sunny weather asks for a southern lunch. We opted for ‘ Brasserie espagnole Belgicanos’. This tavern offers both Belgian and Spanish dishes. I had a dish of lovely potatoes with grilled zucchini and balsamico vinegar dressing. My guest had anchovies, olives, grilled onion and grilled peppers on toast, accompanied by a small rucola salad. I don’t know about you but I’m getting really hungry (again) while writing this.
You might be looking for a new pair of sneakers, a cooking shop or a new book, then do visit the esplanade or The ‘grand place’ square and its surrounding streets. L’esplanade is a shopping mall which is located very close to the train station.
When travelling by train from Brussels, you can take the direct line to Ottignies, which ensures a quick transfer to Louvain-la- Neuve. Pay attention: Louvain (Leuven in Dutch) is not the same city as Louvain-La Neuve!
If you prefer to travel by bus: check the TEC website for the correct timetable.
The car is also an option,the city is about 33km away from Brussels, but keep in mind that finding free parking space might not be easy and that the shopping streets are car free. There is a paid underground parking near the cinema though.