Grand Place, or Grote Markt (in Flemish) is the main square in Brussels.
This beautiful square was first laid out after the construction of the town hall (1402-1455). On august 13th 1695 it was bombed to ruins by the French. In the following four years the city guilds rebuilt it.
Today it is surrounded by several guild houses from the late 17th century, by the town hall and the Broodhuis (or Maison du Roy). Some guild houses house restaurants or cafes.
The Maison du Roy houses the City Museum. There you can see the collection of costumes of the Manneken Pis.
I would certainly take my...
I would certainly take my friends to the china house for its rare to see such type of building in europe. I love the china house, the grand platz both in morning and in night and tin tin in particular.
Brussels has a hell of a bad press. The most benevolent critics will describe it as a smaller and far less self-important version of Paris, but often it is referred as a dank and irritable city where you can really understand the concept of hideous carbuncles, so ugly and badly kept some of its more modern constructions appear.
Unlike in Bruges, where you wander through a homogeneous conglomerate of medieval lanes and canals, a walk in historical Brussels could not be more heterogeneous. One moment you pass a maze of shady cobblestones only to come across a beautiful square lined with baroque buildings. The next moment, all you see are derelict office blocks erected in the 1970s in a brutalist style competing in height with the spires of a Gothic church. But then, Bruges has been a dead city where not much has happened for many centuries, and what we see today is just a sanitized and disneyfied rendition of what it might have been in its heyday.
Dissimilarly, Brussels, like all successful cities, has had a need to expand and grow beyond its limits. When there was not much room available, even some old buildings need to be replaced by others with better facilities. More recently, though, the city rulers have been keen on granting permission for the construction of high rise developments that only with difficulty match their environment in the historic areas of the city. Most of the people tend to question the taste of these buildings and ultimately the term "Bruxellisation" has been coined to refer to the very wide-spread phenomenon of mutilation of historic urban areas.
A walk in the Marais district of Brussels will provide with multiple examples of bruxellisation, but this phenomenon is common all throughout the city. Notwithstanding this, there are also some very interesting modernist buildings around and, as usual, the sharp contrast between old and new makes for interesting perspectives (If only the city was not so dirty and untidy). After all, this co-existence of old and new is not but a sign that the city is alive and forward looking, a thriving organism essential to Europe's future.
Pure pleasure: Brussels warm waffles
In winter, just enjoy warm waffles in Brussels streets : near Grand-Place area, place de la Monnaie, in several metro stations... I love the smell of the burnt crispy sugar... Mmmmm Brussels waffle and chocolate are amongst things I miss when away from Brussels. Personnally, I prefer warm waffles, in winter, without any topping neither fruit in it: gauffres de Liège (Liège waffles), not gauffres de Bruxelles (with toppings and cream ).
This is Brussels too!
Commercials, neonlit signs on top of facades, you will see that too. This was taken on Place De Brouckère, our Time Square, the very busy area of the center.
Boulevard Anspach goes through it, packed with shops, cafés, hotels (sometimes 4-5*), fast-food, other snack, movie rooms (UGC rooms)... sex-shops too :). The Stock Exchange is on this Boulevard as well.
Parallel to this Boulevard Anspach lies the very Rue Neuve - Nieuwstraat. It is the temple of shopping in Brussels, not the luxury brands but the international chains (some Swedish H&M, some Dutch, some Italian Tintoretto, some French 123 and Etam, some German and some Spanish Zara and Mango to name a few.) When I arrived in Brussels, I found that the buildings were spoilt by those signs. Now, I am used to it. Just ignoring them, except when I want to know the temperature, the hour. When I am in the center, go on Place de la monnaie - Muntplein and you will find a building diplaying those infos on top of its facade.
Metro M station: De Brouckère