Shopping and Campine
Shopping has become serious business ever since the Corona has been there. Strolling has lost its lightness when it comes to being locked in a shopping center. We took advantage of the summer days to test a certain shopping experience. We strolled, in observation mode, in the spicy alleys of Maasmechelen Village.
E-commerce king? no !
The village of a hundred brands provides answers to the way of consuming adopted by the general public since the beginning of the health crisis. Consumer attitudes have changed. According to Philippe Depautex, site manager, the crisis will have shown the development of new trends. ” When we were in confinement, the only way to consume was e-commerce. The products were reaching you. And we have seen a boom in this form of purchasing. These are undoubtedly structuring trends that will remain. It’s practical, we know the deadlines, it happens at home. But e-commerce remains a technology, a means of delivering a product as you requested, and it stops there. No discoveries, no exchanges, no memories either. Precisely, this is what people showed after confinement: “If I leave my home, it’s to experience something”. ”
And as we predicted, there is still some time, the conquest of practices such as e-commerce on more traditional forms of consumption, we realize that the digital experience is not close to stealing from the real world the excitement that that -Here we get.
And shopping is no exception, bringing together in Maasmechelen – something astonishing to observe -, the pyramid of ages, mingled, in its entirety: from generations of Millennials to retirees, quick to follow health instructions with civility. Good-natured atmosphere therefore. The village with a hundred shops gives a feeling of orderly order. There is, also, this feeling of an “augmented reality” that gives the village: ultra-pretty and quiet, as in the sets of the television series which paint the image of a society which seeks (again) serenity. .
What about brands?
To Philippe Depautex, director, we ask how he chooses the brands represented in the small streets of the village. Does it play into competition between brands? “It is necessary”, so that the customer can compare, weigh the purchase with peace of mind. As for the brands, “they range from luxury brands to premium, contemporary brands, but also sports and outdoor brands. We must in fact be able to meet the needs, which are numerous and high. ” The customer is demanding, so he must be able to find everything.
Luxury, in the form of Italian brands in particular, tempts the villagers for a day, because displayed at a lower price – which gives wings to potential customers of the newly installed Milanese brand, Prada. “We have among our audience Belgians, Dutch (the border is 10 km away, Editor’s note) and Germans (15 km away) but also, French people, people from England, and even Chinese.” Chinese residents who welcome their families visiting Belgium almost make an obligatory stop: the Atomium, the Grand-Place, then the Maasmechelen village. It is therefore natural that, at the luxury leather goods company Coach, the saleswomen switch from Mandarin to English, without batting an eyelid.
For our part, we will have yielded to the sirens of Belgian house brands, such as Sarah Pacini, which manufactures ethically, in Italy or in Europe. This is also one of our questions to the director who answers: communication on the origins of clothing is “a contemporary need.” A real consumption criterion for the current public who perceived that they were part of a large planetary whole in the coronavirus crisis.
Three good reasons to go to Maasmechelen?
reason n ° 1 Visit the surrounding countryside with a ranger
Maasmechelen is also the gateway to the Haute Campine national park, the only national park in Belgium. From the Connectera reception point, we cross an environment made of dunes and heather, where rare and protected species such as the curlew, the wood lark, or the goshawk hovering above are hidden. a landscape of sand and short-legged vegetation, dotted with marshes and bogs. A team of real rangers roam the national park with visitors who want to know everything about the specificities of this microcosm. There are a plethora of hiking trails, so book at least half a day. Info: www.nationaalpark.be and www.connecterra.be
reason n ° 2 to water ski
It is also possible! Then. You hadn’t seen it coming!… But yes, yes, at Cablepark, four kilometers from the village of Maasmechelen, you are surfing the wave. And for beginners, we teach you about the practices of wakeboarding and kneeboarding. At the end of the day, you only intentionally fall into the water. Info: https://terhills.be/en/terhills-cablepark/
reason n ° 3 See the foreigner up close
Maastricht is just 15 minutes from Maasmechelen, and crossing the border is always an experience. See, with his eyes, if the line that separates humans leaves traces in the landscape and human behavior…. And we are indeed elsewhere, when we are in Maastricht! The city of the European Treaty is an appreciable haven of peace where the atmosphere remains good-natured, despite the sanitary context not always conducive to tranquility. Built in Roman times, at the confluence of the Meuse and Geer rivers, the city is striking with its architectural dynamism, and in particular an urbanistic reflection which brings together the inhabitants of the city and the pleasant banks of the Meuse – the buildings of the The provincial administration are amazing, which seem to sting the bottom of the Dutch sky. Crossing the Pont Saint-Servais again, we will get lost in the historic district of Vrijthof.
Three addresses tested for you!
In Maasmechelen, the Terhills hotel. The Eisden mine was in operation until 1987, which is quite astonishing information, so difficult is it to imagine the industrial activity which animated this landscape three decades ago. The environment is now devoted to nature and serenity. In the old administrative buildings of the mining site, the Terhills Hotel – a name that tells visitors to its mining origin – has taken up residence for the past five years. The restoration which puts the mineral in the spotlight (in the furniture, and the living spaces), was taken care of by the Belgian architectural firm Simoni – which now works internationally. For the anecdote, the grandfather of the architect, responsible for the restoration, was already a regular at the place, tells us Christiaan van Kesteren, director of the hotel. Simoni’s father, who was a master ice-cream maker, used to park his ice cream van in front of the main building for minors after their day’s work. Highly developed concierge service: we organize a picnic to take away in two stages, a bicycle ride to the miners’ church or a transfer to the one Michelin star restaurant, Vivendum, five kilometers away .
And if we want to continue to learn about the heritage of the mine, we go to Beringen: the mine has become a museum.
Info: https://www.terhillshotel.com/en/ and https://www.visitlimburg.be/nl
At Maasmechelen Village, the chic brasserie Le Petit Belge. A decoration inspired by the spirit of Brussels breweries, belgitude infused in all its forms into the restaurant environment … The concept of the brewery was first thought to exist in Dubai, before a copy was repatriated in the heart of Limburg. The menu is overflowing with proposals. The whole butter, fried little sole meunière does its job, and the homemade American tartare doesn’t lie. Well balanced cocktails.
In Maastricht, the Lifestyle store. When you enter the store, you quickly feel concerned about everything. Elegant carpets, basketwork, ceramics. You will need a country house in Campine to store what you have acquired there. Caution.
Infos: Onze Lieve Vrouweplein 19, Maastricht. https://www.lifestyle94.com/