Brussels Travel Blog› entry 27 of 35 › view all entries
August 29th, 2009 – by: Adrian_Liston
Avenue Louise is the Champs Elysées of Brussels. Actually just like the Champs Elysées it is too big a thoroughfair to be that pleasant to shop on and the stores contain more bored staff than (overpriced) items. The street was renamed after Princess Louise, daughter of Leopold II, after it became a major shopping destination. "That's nice", you might think, but it is actually quite a cruel name. Louise had an unhappy marriage with Prince Philip of Saxe-Coburg, and ran away with a lover in France. The husband chased them down and fought (and lost) a duel with her lover. She became a chronic shopaholic, to the extent where Leopold II published advertisements in France warning shopkeepers not to give her credit, but she became heavily in debt anyway. Her husband and father then colluded to offer her a deal - she could either return to her husband or be confined to an insane asylum. She refused to go back, her lover was sent to jail and she was sent to an insane asylum for six years. Reunited again after six years, Louise and her lover were sued by the old creditors and Leopold II managed to block her receiving any of her inheritance, such that poor Louise died penniless due to a cruel husband and father and an addiction to shopping when depressed. Kind of horrible to name the most expensive shopping street in Belgium after her, hey?
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