Last Thursday my friend Christina and I were able to sneak away for another day trip. This time we went to Redu, Belgium just 100 km away from Luxembourg City. Redu is a small, sleepy town nestled in the Ardennes forest. In 1984 Redu decided to position itself as a Book Town. Book Towns originated in Wales, UK. They are small rural towns where many used and specialty bookshops are located.
Redu has more than 20 book stores. Sellers have books in various languages - French, Dutch, and English being the most common. There are book stores that specialize in comics, science & nature, and even detective novels. There is a small antique printing press inside one of the book shops. Another business makes and sells artisan paper. For a nominal fee you can tour their paper making area. There are lots of charming little cafes and a chocolate shop.
Unfortunately for us the town only really wakes up on weekends and during the summer. Since it's business is built on tourism many of the shops can only afford to be open when there are lots of tourists. We did find a few book stores to poke around in. We spent most of our time in the shop of a cheerful, quirky man who sold vintage prints and paintings. He introduced us to French artist, Raymond Peynet who did charming drawings and also made dolls. The shop keeper shared his personal collection of books and prints of Peynet's with us. He radiated passion for art and for life. Before we left he insisted we try his organ grinder. He entertained us with a tune as well.
If you make it to Redu remember to go on a weekend, preferably in the summer. Bring cash, there isn't a bank in Redu and many of the sellers only accept cash. Oh, and make sure your car is full of gas as there isn't a gas station close by. Learned that one the hard way.