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Bookvillage: Redu July 6, 2007

Filed under: Book Shops,Communities — Kim @ 8:19 pm

Whilst on Honeymoon in the Ardennes in Belgium, I finally got the chance to visit Redu. This is the second largest book village on the planet, after Hay-on-Wye. So my fresh hubby and I drove for an hour to get there…

Only to find closed bookshops. The shops in this part of Belgium have some strange opening hours. In the Ardennes a lot of shops are only open during weekdays during holidays. And the holidays in Belgium started the day we left. I cannot tell you how disappointed I was…

It was interesting to visit the village anyway. I am definitely going back to embark on a giant shopping spree. I wrote an short article on the village, click on “More” to read it.

 

A closed book

You never would have thought that the mountains of Belgium would house such an amazing village. Moments before driving into it, you have no idea a village with the prime economy of books is near. That is, until you are welcomed by a giant book filled with flowers in a lawn. Soon a sign greets you. “Redu. Village du Livre”. Redu, village of books. The excitement rises…

Since 1984 the amount of bookstores grew in this tiny village of only 500 inhabitants. By now, it is the second largest book village in the world. Each year, over 300.000 book lusting tourists find their way to Redu. Hopefully they came during the summer season. If not, most stores will be closed. The best period to visit is in the months July and August. The village of Redu could be a book on its own. But the book is closed at the time I visit.

The bookstores are not open all the year, as I found out. Most of them are open Thursday thru Saturday outside the holidays. Note that most shops in this part of Belgium always close between 12 and 2 pm. The best time to visit Redu is July to September. Once a year, around Easter, there is a special day to celebrate the book. This festival is usually on the same day as the Hay-on-Wye festival, this to symbolise the partnership of the two cities.

Open or closed. Redu makes a book lover’s heart beat a little bit faster. Everywhere you look, you will see a book store. The pretty houses, common to this region, are homes and partly bookstores. Living with books is taken quite literally in this village. Most of the bookstores are specialised. Poetry, Literature, SciFi. Everyone’s taste is served with a different shop. Luckily, some of them sell books in other languages then French, which is the language in this region of Belgium.

I can recommend the Redu experience to everyone. I will be back. You can find more information on the village here or an interesting article on the town here.

 

4 Responses to “Bookvillage: Redu”

  1. Sounds like paradise. Must have been frustrating not being able to go inside the shops–sorry!

  2. Elizabeth Says:

    Sounds quite the place.

    Some place to revisit at a later date, having checked open hours first.

    Any other interesting spots on your honeymoon? I like to computer travel. *smile*

  3. phoenix Says:

    A little village where all they sell is books? I had no idea such a place existed! And to have such restrictive hours! How do they make a living?! I will have to visit one day…🙂

    Hope you had a great time on your honeymoon!

  4. Alan W Says:

    I did manage to go to Redu when the shops were open, a few years ago now so my memories are hazy. I had never heard of the book village but my wife, who had visited Luxembourg (the country, not the Belgian province that contains Redu) several times, insisted we go – and I was delighted we did. The bookshops are wonderful, and as to what you can find… wow! Also, although obviously most of the books are in Belgian/Dutch, French or German, you can find ones in English and other tongues.

    The place isn’t far off the motorway that runs down to Luxembourg (the country), plus of course it’s close to France and Germany, so fits in well with a tour (for instance, head south to the Moselle and sample a few wines – it really isn’t far).

    I hope you do get to go again, when the shops are open!


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