Unique Places in Brussels

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Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Brussels

  • melissa_bel's Profile Photo

    The Albertine Cafeteria

    by melissa_bel Updated Aug 23, 2004

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    It's hard to believe but the drab building of the Royal Library Albert 1st (AKA l'Albertine), located on the Mont-des-Arts, hides a secret: its cafeteria which boast one of the best view of the city through an almost floor-to-ceiling window. If the weather's good, you can see the Atomium! If you feel hungry, the cafeteria has a good menu, and it's cheap. Or you can just enjoy a coffee while looking at the view.
    The Cafeteria is opened from Monday to Friday from 9 AM to 4:15 PM.

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    Art at the Flemish Parliament

    by irisbe Updated Oct 29, 2004

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    There are a lot of pieces of art all over the different rooms and halls and walls of the Flemish Parliament.
    One very well recognizable are the manequins made out of whings of bugs and of dried bugs and made by Jan Fabre.
    He also has decorated the ceiling of one of the rooms at the Royal Palace with green bug whings and in October 2004 has placed a artificial artistic bug on the Ladeuze square in Leuven.

    If you want to have a look at the complete inventarisation of art at the Flemish Parliament you can check this list.

    If you like to see more pictures then you are free to check them on my Fotki album.

    Jan Fabre's bugs art in the Flemish Parliament
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    Flemish Parliament

    by irisbe Updated Oct 29, 2004

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    The Flemish Parliament is one of the parliaments that originated out of the federalisation of Belgium.
    Here decisions and laws are made concerning the Flemish part of Belgium.

    The Belgium Federalisation is quite a complex thing. We have regions (based on locations: Flanders; Wallonia and Brussels) and we have communities (based on language: Dutch, French and German).

    Flanders decided that there could only be one government that would cover and the Flemish region and the Flemish Community and that is the Flemish Parliament.

    Flemish Parliament
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    The crypt

    by belgianchocolate Updated Apr 11, 2004

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    Even members of the royal family
    die one day. We in Belgium are lucky , we got
    some stories about mysterious accidents
    in misty circumstances.
    Some scandals and bastard children ,
    an heroic queen....Belgians in the congo.

    Our royal family is rather sober in showing off.
    It is true that they are rather poor compared to
    other royal families.
    I think that is a shame....They should build
    palaces in gold and diamonds...have large
    parcs and at least 10 coaches. :-)

    It also shows in their crypt. No overwhelming
    architecture or ornaments.
    Very sober , white natural stone.
    One can see that the royal family is very loved
    by some people. They bring flowers or...

    Anyway , even the crypt is only open sunday
    afternoon between 14-17h it never
    gets crowded.
    You can find the krypt
    ' Onze Lieve Vrouw Voorplein
    Parvis Notre Dame
    in Laken, Laeken , 1020 Brussels
    It is under ' THE NOTRE DAME CHURCH

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  • belgianchocolate's Profile Photo

    Laken - Brasserie 'Le royal'

    by belgianchocolate Written May 30, 2004

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    When you visit the cemetary of laken and
    the royal cript you should also visit this

    It used to be an old Bakery and the 'new'
    owner refreshed the interior and shows off
    his portraits of the royal family. The place has
    a stunning interior. Mirrors , gold....
    Take your time to have a look in the book on
    the royal green houses one can find in a
    corner of the café.

    The hot chocolate has nothing royal ,
    just a bottle warmed up. Just to taste the
    atmosphere and watch people.

    Brasserie 'Le Royal'
    Onze-Lieve-Vrouwvoorplein 11
    Parvis Notre-Dame
    Laken 1020 Laeken

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  • GillianMcLaughlin's Profile Photo

    A must for cinema buffs - the birthplace of Audrey

    by GillianMcLaughlin Updated Feb 19, 2004

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    OK, there's nothing to see in this dark street other than a modest plaque.. but what a modest plaque. Hidden away just behind the hustle and bustle of the Porte de Namur, you can pose in your best Chanel in front of the house in which Audrey Hepburn was born. Go on, get out that hat that will never be worn, touch up that elegant eye make up and get down there.

    Alternatively, grab an old guitar, dress up in casual loose clothing, perch on the stair and sing...

    Moon river wider than a mile
    I'm crossing you in style someday
    Dream maker, you heart breaker
    Wherever you're going, I'm going your way
    Two drifters off to see the world,
    There's such a lot of world to see
    We're after the same Rainbow's end
    And waiting round the bend,
    My huckleberry friend
    Moon river and me

    Throw the cat out of the car in the rain, and head down to Les Brassins, four doors down for a plate of Chicken chasseur. Not quite Tiffany's, but almost as good! (see restaurant tips)

    Plaque to a legend
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  • Christophe_Ons's Profile Photo

    Impasse St-Petronille / Theatre du Toone

    by Christophe_Ons Written Apr 19, 2004

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    The Theatre du Toone is a cafe / marionette theatre located in a small alley or "Impasse", right off Petite Rue des Bouchers. The alley itself is worth a stroll - it's hard to believe you're only 100 metres away from the Grand'Place.
    The Theatre has been in the Toone family for 7 generations and is, believe it or not, world renowned in its genre. Productions are in the Bruxellois dialect.

    Box Office : noon-midnight daily, tickets are 10 Euro.

    Yes, this is the centre of Brussels.
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    Ixelles, one of most diverse "communes"

    by Norali Updated May 21, 2004

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    Ixelles is, for me, one of most diverse communes we have. It has gained and kept many facets that distinguish an Ixelles area from another one.

    For instance, you have Ixelles l'Africaine. Matongé is the name of the African community HQ in Brussels. It is named after a corner in Kinshasa (Congo). The main street there is Chaussée de Wavre, packed with shops selling tropical food items, hair and cosmetic products for Black beauties. Also there is a mall with shops, pub(s), hair salons for black people.

    Then, Ixelles l'Etudiante. This is another area, around ULB-VUB campuses, where lies the Ixelles cemetary. It is a microcosm in itself with the often cheap eateries, special shops, pubs welcoming the students in summer. It drives you till Place Flagey near the ponds. A way different from the African area but not that far.

    There is also Ixelles la Bohème: home of genuine Art-Nouveau houses in Brussels. Those are classified houses, inhabited and jealously kept by the initial owners. Ixelles also saw many artists, intellectuals, architects (Horta) having lived - living on its territory. Of course, the students provide it with this boheme touch as well. To think, not only University but also design & architecture schools Institut des Arts décoratifs for instance) are in Ixelles. Students live there and also in Saint-Gilles area.

    You feel, while strolling in there, the identity of the area: confident with the cultural, architectural richness of its past and bathing in our times. Here and there, some picturesque quartiers (Fernand Coq, St-Boniface, Flagey... ). All of that is genuinely Ixelles (Elsene, in Flemish).

    I advise strolling there, not only for the shopping on main avenues such as Av. de la Toison d'or, Bd de Waterloo and Av. Louise. There are many hidden shops, pubs, eateries in this area: Flagey, Place Fernand Cocq, St-Boniface area, University area with this weird church... So many places of interest that I think it may even deserve a page out of Brussels page...

    Ixelles: not only a shopping & snacks area
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    Espace Speculoos

    by Muya Written Aug 30, 2004

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    This summer I discovered this event animating the streets of Brussels in July, August and September. This project consists in giving the opportunity to artists, jugglers, clowns, musicians, etc... to freely express themselves in some spots of the city, delimited by painted circles on the ground. So look for the 5 areas Place de la Monnaie (where you will find the meeting point, a little colorful caravan), rue Neuve, Petite rue au Beurre, Place Saint-Géry and Recyclart.
    I actually came across this thanks to my friend Sarah, who was performing tango with her friend Charles, and I really enjoyed it ;-)

    Sarah and Charles dancing tango

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  • Muya's Profile Photo

    Cows invading the streets of Brussels !

    by Muya Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    From June 21st until september 21st 2003, Art on Cows, the Cow Parade open-air exhibition, took place in the streets of Brussels. Around 185 decorated cows scattered all over Brussels, quite an event ! The cows were bought by sponsors who asked personnalities (artists, politicians, etc...) to decorate the cows.
    In October the cows were sold for the benefit of charities.
    The picture was taken in the Parc Royal, I loved that one, with the butterflies (difficult to see on the picture though) flying all around :-)

    Me and my favourite cow in the Royal Park

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    A buddhist temple next door

    by Bigjones Written Jul 22, 2004

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    Writing about the synagogue reminded me of an off-the-beaten-path experience I had last month. I was coming back home when a lady asked me the way to the Buddhist temple. I didn't know about that but when she gave me the address, it happened to be just a few houses further than my appartment. So I decided to go with her to see what it was. I didn't intend to go inside but when we arrived in front of the door, a guy opened it and welcomed us inside. From the street, you wouldn't tell that there is a temple there, the house looks very "normal" but when you enter it, you find yourself in Tibet ! The decoration, the lama, the people praying ... This is how I found myself attending a buddhist meditation during one hour. We sat on cushions on the floor and listened to the lama. I didn't understand a word but a guy gave me a booklet with the original text and the translation. Even so, I didn't understand much because I don't know anything about Buddhism. But I really liked the decoration and enjoyed this atmosphere of peace after a tough day at work. Once the meditation was over, the lama invited us for a tea with cookies and I talked a bit with him and the other people. I was striken to see how welcoming, friendly and open they were with me. I had a very interesting and pleasant time that evening ;-)

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  • irisbe's Profile Photo

    Art at the metro Stuyvenberg

    by irisbe Updated Oct 12, 2007

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    At Metro station Stuyvenberg (Line 1A) you can admire a very nice work of art by Yves Bosquet (born in Uccle in 1939); studied at the Higher Institute of Ter Kameren) in Realism style.
    Thank you so much Norali to kick us get out of the metro so we could witness this in total suprise.
    It is a whole collection of 25 terracotta sculptures of people representing the royal family of Queen Elisabeth, her befriended artists and scientists. They are made along photographic material.
    They date from 1985.

    It is dedicated for the late art loving Queen Elisabeth and refers to the last location she has been living at: the Castle of Stuyvenberg. Those who have ever visited Laeken during the open doors in April/early May, might have had a glimpse into her own atelier where she too practiced art.

    You can see Queen Elisabeth during different stages of her life: as a mother; as a grandmother; as a friend of famous people like Albert Einstein, Emile Verhaeren or Jules Bordet.

    Are you curious for a few more pictures? Have a look at my Fokti album.

    Art at the Brussels metro
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  • melissa_bel's Profile Photo

    Art in the Metro

    by melissa_bel Updated Feb 17, 2006

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    The Metro is not only a convenient and effeciient way to travel through Brussels, it's also a big museum. In the 1960's, when the Metro line was being built, it was decided that, to avoid the blandness of an underground station, every stops would be made different and the project was to involve artists and architects to make of every stations an open and original space. And now, the Metro can be visited like a giant museum where art comes to you and where some people would take the metro just to have a look at a piece-of-work. And Brussels really did do a great job getting many artists from different background to collaborate. Because the lines and their extension where built at different times (from the '60'ies to late '90'ies), you'll find a great variety of style. Amongst my favourite: Paul Delvaux's fresco at the Bourse Station. When you know that trams are a recurring figure of this surrealist master, you can imagine that he was really happy to do this. Look up: Pol Bury's scupture is also quite worth a look. Comic strips is big in Belgium that's why one of Belgium's most famous son is immortalized in the Stockel station. I am talking about Herge's Tintin. Yes, the young reporter, his dog Snowy, Captain Haddock and the rest is in the metro, Sadly, Herge died before the completion of the work. He had the time to draw the plan before though. Another big name is Francois Schuytten whose love for architecture is quite well-known. His books are often depicting a Brussels caught in the twillight zone. Familiar but at the same time creepy. Mixing the old Brussels and futuristic elements (read Brussel). His mold of an old tram that seems like appearing out of nowhere at the Porte de Hal station is a must-see.
    Vic Gentils's "Aequs Nox"at the Thieffry station is quite spectacular and you won't be surprised to know it's been made in 70ies. It represents a rising sun and it sure is shiny ;o).

    Schuytten's Passage Inconnu at Porte de Hal.
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    Hamman - Turkish Bath - Peeling!

    by sean65 Written Dec 29, 2003

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    Brussels has a large ethnic population. These baths are Moroccan. The couple that run it are very helpful and friendly.

    Entry fee for Steam room is 7 euros.
    Peeling (that's what he translated it to in english!, thought exfoliation is probably closer) is 5 euros.

    This is a 15 minute rub down with a cloth, kind of like a glove that goalkeepers in football wear. A male on male days, a female on female days, no funny stuff, totally legit!

    You definitely come out shiny :-), and it's to be avoided if you have sunburn.

    Ladies - 9:30 - 16:00
    Men - 17:00 23:00

    Clothing required - Bathing suit

    Address: Rue Piers 108, Brussels 1080

    Metro: Etangs Noirs /Ribeaucourt
    Bus: 20, 89, 129, 190

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    Saint Catherine's Church

    by Imbi Updated May 12, 2004

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    Saint Catherine's Church was designed in 1854 by famous architecture Joseph Poelaer, who is well known for his design of Palce de Justice. You can still see the church’s original tower whose history goes back to sixteenth century.

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