When I first came to Brussels, in the mid-1980s, there were a lot of scruffy second-hand bookshops dotted about the city and most of them had either a backroom or a shelf with English books. Once in a while I would do a lunchtime trawl of these bookshops and, more often than not, I’d come across a modern first edition or an interesting title, and always at knock-down prices. One-by-one, those bookshops disappeared, and in those that remained there were decreasing numbers of finds to be had. A lot of the old book shop owners were old and simply retired. The buildings were demolished and rebuilt or refurbished. Groundfloor spaces could no longer be hired for peppercorn rents. I think also that a generation of anglophone and anglophile Belgians had passed away at around that time and the large numbers of English (and American) books in the shops were the results of house and attic clearances. Today, rushing out at lunchtime to get some medecine, I was very pleasantly surprised to come across a second-hand bookshop in the rue Froissart that seems to be flourishing and is reminiscent of all those bookshops that have disappeared. Moreover, it is bright and clean (not fusty and musty) and the shelves are well-arranged. There’s little chance of finding modern first at giveaway prices – the internet has seen to that, but the bookshop is well worth a visit (the English shelves are at the back on the right) and I am happy to provide it with some free publicity: Bouquinerie Thomas, 13 rue Froissart (between the rue Belliard and the Place Jourdan), open Monday to Friday, 11.00 till 18.30.