Tours & Walks, Brussels
Fondest memory: I remember wandering around Brussels and seeing the pavement artists. Some of their work was incredible and seemed such a shame that people would eventually end up walking over their designs or rain would wash them away. There was always a crowd around them.
I WAS LUCKY to see this procession in town. I walked with the music that accompanied them to the GROTE MARKT, you know that wonderful place, so chic with its most wonderful GUILDHOUSES and then suddenly this group!
The went to the TOWN HALL and the Lord Mayor came to say some words and....send them "begging".
They then spread through town and as you can see here and in my TRAVELOGUE, the 3rd one, they carry a collecting box and hope to gather lots of money.
On the board the carry are the words:
OEUVRE ROYALE DESBERCEAUX PRINCESSE PAOLA which means in Dutch/Flemish: KONINKLIJK WERK DER WIEGJES PRINSES PAOLA and in English: ROYAL WORK FOR THE LITTLE COTS/CRIBS PRINCESS PAOLA.
Princess PAOLA is now QUEEN PAOLA, and she founded this group to gather money for the poor families with many children.
Their collecting boxes are dressed as babies....
Fondest memory: The clothing of the group is so recognisable and original that everybody will give money.....
Favorite thing: walk througt the city. Brussels must be discovered slowly. Don't miss the 'art nouveau' buildings, the 'sablon', the Woluwe parks, the Japanese tower and the Chinese house. En don't forget : 'Belgium where rain is typically'
Favorite thing: Our visit continues: we drive in front of the magnificent Palace of Justice and see the fashionable Louise Square. Passing the stately Royal Square, the Royal Palace and the Houses of Parliament we arrive in the Cinquantenaire district, the Triumphal Arch, exceptional museums and splendid Art Nouveau houses are the highlights of this part of Brussels.
Take a walk to the Poelaert square, named after the architect Poelaert, who's name you will find back regularly in my tips when it comes to the construction of buildings in Brussels late 1800, early 1900's.
On this square, you will not only find the impressive Court of Justice, but also the rememberance monument of war.
If you walk just to the end of the square, you will have a good view over the area called 'The Marollen', an area, down town of the commong people.
The Poelaert plein is Up town, litterary as it is much higher then the Marollen.
This is one of the reasons why the Court of Justice is build there: so that people from down town - the ragbags, thieves, criminals (that time about the synonyms for poorer people in the eyes of the bourgeoisie) - could look up in full respect to justice and authority.
The second reason why the Palace of Justice is built there is because out of historical reasons. This place used to be hanging hill, where people were executed by hanging.
At Rue des Riches Claires/Rijke Klaren straat, very near the Anspachlaan, you will find a quite inner court with a few establishments where you can stop for a drink.
It is so quiet, away from the busy crowded Anspachlaan.
It is here that if you walk to the end of the little square and you look in the corner, eventually you take the steps down, that you will witness a rare glimpse of what is left of the surface of the Senne, the river where Brussels was settled.
The rest of the river is covered up because I think of hygienic reasons.
Every time I look to the little bit of water floating here I wonder if this is really the Senne or if we are getting fooled `-)
There is a lot to see and do in this lovely city. the following is a list of suggestions. 1. See the Grand Place- one of Europe's best collections of buildings, this will ' knock your socks off' , as they say . Stunning 15th and 17 th Century guilded buildings. Have your photo taken ! 2. Cathedrale St. Michel- see this building from the outside, then enjoy the stunning interior. With it's Gothic towers, this a lovely sight. 3. Have a look at the Palais de Justice. 4. See the famous little boy ' Manneken pis ' - yes the little statue where the boy , er, well you know . ( think fountains ) ( Rue de L'Etuve ) 5. If you love food, check out 'restaraunt row ' - namely the Rue de Bouchers- a culinary paradise. ( not cheap but very good ) 6. Check out some of the chocolate shops ! Simply the best chocolate in the world . Try Neuhaus on rue de L'etuve. The taste of these chocolates, ...( not if you are on a diet ) 7. See some of the museums- Musee d'Art Ancien( Rue de la Regence ) Alternatively, Musee Gueze - family brewery - free samples too ! ( Rue Gheude 56 ) 8. Atomium- a Iron molecule several billion times bigger than real life. Built for 1958 World's Fair, this is worth seeing . You can go inside the molecule, with interesting exhibits on it's construction, plus a humorous cartoon strip display- something still popular with all ages in Belgium. 9. Take a stroll around Parc de Bruxelles, enjoy a beer or soft drink .
Fondest memory: Several. Grand Place is stunning. Rue de Bouchers enjoyable. Atomium fun and great for photos !
You must spend time around Grand Place (Grote Markt), many people around walking, looking at the beutiful buldings around...
Fondest memory: Well spending time among the crowd was great, but I loved the park in Heysel where you can see the famous Atomium and Mini Europe..
You feel as if you are far from all the problems..I felt lucky to feel the sprit of the coming spring..
When visiting Brussels, a must is to stroll around at night time. Everything is lit up well, making the buildings look absolutley stunning at night. People are all about at night, and we saw this one woman juggling flames in the middle of a street.
Fondest memory: My best memory of Brussels was when me and my girlfriend went to the National Park (Garden?). We got there, and it ended up raining really hard, so we were stuck underneath some trees for a while, seeking shelter (don't worry, Europe never really has lightening storms, it just drizzles or pours rain)After awhile, we got tired of waiting for the rain to calm down, so we ran like a kilometer to our hotel. It was a really romantic thing, being stuck in the rain in that beautiful park....i'm clueless as to why I took no pictures of the park. The park is across the street from the Royal Palace.
Visit the Grand Place, the Sablon, the Atomium and Mini Europe, these are all places you must see, and .... wait until I discover more, I have been here for only 2 weeks.
The picture you see here is for Mini Europe. Since Brussels has become the Capital of Europe, it was extremely befitting for the Belge to create a mini Europe, where you can find a mini replica of all the famous European monuments.
Fondest memory: Well, I am still in the stage of building memories, but I am sure they will all be nice ones. :-)
The city of Brussels is composed of 19 independent municipalities with very different personalities. This, however, should not lead you to think that Brussels is a sprawling collection of towns. These municipalities are rather like boroughs or districts of the city, which remains compact and dense, if a bit confusing and not very easily navigated (the lack of adequate public transportation does not help much in this sense).
There are sights of interest for the tourists scattered in almost all of the municipalities, but the bulk of the attractions is concentrated in the proper municipality of Brussels (locally referred to as Bruxelles ville), which includes the historic core of the city, known as the Pentagon for the shape given by the former city walls – today replaced by busy and mostly uninteresting boulevards.
From this historic area, the municipality of Brussels has grown tentacularly at the expenses of its neighbours. It also includes today the Quartier Léopold, where most of the European Institutions have their head quarters; the Laeken and Heyzel areas, where the Atomium and the infamous stadium are located; and the Avenue Louise, stretching as far as the Wood of Lacambre, one of the city's green lungs. The rest of the municipalities in the Brussels region differ in size and character, from working-class Anderlecht to BoBo Ixelles or posh Uccle, and they are generally a good place to take a jaunt off the traditional tourist path and to interact with the locals.
The city is built on several hills - some people they are seven, like any city who prizes itself to be built on hills, but I honestly have never cared to count them. This makes walking to some areas quite tiresome, but provides for panoramic views of the historic area of the city from several vantage points.
The extremely hard-to-resist Godiva can be found at the east corner of Grand Place. It was really tough not to be led into temptation cuz their chocolates taste extremely good when they melt in the mouth. From Rue de la Colline just beside Godiva, head straight and cross Grasmarket to arrive at Galeries St Hubert, Europe's oldest glass vaulted shopping arcade.
The district surrounding Grand Place boast a dense concentration of inexpensive restaurants. Especially along Rue des Bouchers/Beenhouwersstraat, a narrow alley where apparently every house has been converted into a restaurant of some kind. Colorful shell creatures, fruits and vegetables are used to decorate the ice-filled shelves laid in front of every restaurant to tempt passers-by. The line of waiters along the atmospheric passageway were often seen busy drumming up business.
From the east end of Rue des Bouchers/Beenhouwersstraat, head north to the Comic Museum (situated along Rue des Sables) to read Tintin & Snowy's adventures and many other comic characters' picture stories. Or if you're not at all interested in comics, go north-east to visit St Michael's Cathedral. This Gothic-style cathedral rises majestically on a hillside, conspicuous from a distance. Its stained-glass windows which portray important characters from European history, and the statues of the apostles which stands at the sides of the nave are undeniably impressive.
Not too far east is the Parliament Building (Palais der Natie & Palais de la Nation). Lying opposite the palazzi is the City Park (Parc de Bruxelles) which used to serve as the royal hunting grounds. Its immediate south is the Royal Palace (Palais Royale) which rich interior decorations are exposed to the public only for six weeks after the national day on 21 July. Today the Royal Family no longer resides here but that which lies in the outlying district of Laeken, to the north of the city.
Then there are the Palace of the Academies, Palace of Congres, Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Museum of Classical & Modern Art, and the Royal Park Theatre, which together border the park. Continue your tour south along Rue de la Regence, you'll see the magnificent Palace de Justice at the very end. Also the lovely garden - Jardin D'Egmont, and the Church of Notre Dame du Sablon can be seen on both sides of the street. There really are a lot to cover in this so-called Upper Town region. You might want to end this tour at Grand Place since it's only 10 mins walk away. And relax with a cup of hot chocolate at one of the many open cafes.
Favorite thing: Walking around Brussels you might be forgiven for thinking that you slipped and fallen into the funny pages. Larger than life size comics adorn many building walls in the central districts and sometimes even “come to life” in 3D statues. If you catch the fever, there are numerous comic book stores where you can start your collection and even a museum if you feel so inclined.