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For generations, Brussels has been the place to indulge a taste for some of the finer things in life: chocolate, beer, lace, and lead crystal. Brussels is also heaven for comic-book collectors, and there are lots of offbeat shops to tempt magpies. While the city may not be bursting with bargains, there are inexpensive items to be found in the markets. Value-added tax (TVA) inflates prices, but visitors from outside the EU can obtain refunds. Sales take place in January and July.