We visited Brussels in one weekend. By chance, it happened 1 month after the attacks and several months after all we heard in France about the Belgian capital… In short, it had passed us a little kiss on the neck but we were determined to go despite that. After all and as it seems, fire never burns twice in the same place, and what the hell, they are not going to prevent us from living our desires these little dizzy little bastards who make their crisis of adolescence at 30 years old! “Geef niet toe aan angst” (Don’t succumb to fear). In short, we visited Brussels in 2 days and everything went well (and almost even better than expected!).
The Main Square – La Grand-Place
❤ This is the first thing we went to see: ZE MUST-SEE OF BRUSSELS ! In fact, you can’t even miss it (all the more if you stay next door…) because, in one week-end, you will cross it more than 10 or 20 times ! Very concretely, I found that it was incontestably the most beautiful place in Brussels. The Grand-Place is a compendium of Gothic style buildings (typical of Northern European architecture) with the City Hall and its 96-meter tower at the top of which throne Saint-Michel terraces a demon (Raphael style), the King’s House and other buildings adorned with gilding: the House of the Dukes of Brabant, the King of Spain, the Golden Tree, the Rose, the Angel …
The Grand Place of Brussels (Grote Markt) by night : The King’s House, The Kite, Joseph and Anne, The Angel, The Golden Chaloupe, The Pigeon and the Golden Merchant.
The cobblestones of the Grote Markt by night: the Maison du Ro, the Maisonnées Ducs de Brabant and the City Hall.
If it is already sumptuous in broad daylight, it has gained in charm during the end of the day lightings, when the discreet light subtly activates the gilding on the facades. Then, at the time of the blue hour, it is… it is… how can I say it? It’s… just majestic !!!! The jagged reliefs of the gothic buildings enhanced by the lighting on a deep blue sky background are absolutely sumptuous.
The Manneken Pis
Well… that’s the stuff you’ve heard about that sounds sensational. So I will quickly kill the myth: to make a long story short, besides the little story of its origin, its sacralization is a tourist jerk-off! This little sculpture (55 cm) is a (if not the) symbol of Brussels but is completely uninteresting other than seeing hordes of touristy tourists clumping together in front of a little boy who pisses on their backs while they take themselves in selfie with: science of Belgian humor? No, in all honesty, go ahead and say you’ve seen it, but no more. The statue of the Mannneken Pis is regularly dressed according to the local festivals or animations. Namely that it has its feminine counterpart with Jeanneken Pis, a girl doing the same thing but in a less arrogant way in the street of Delirium, which is a kind of street (or dead end rather) of thirst. Link what cause and effect? Completely by chance, we also came across a canine version, the Zinneke Pis…
Place de la Bourse
This neo-classical colonnaded building was of no particular interest until people of all nationalities laid wreaths of flowers, lit candles, gathered on the steps… following the attacks in Brussels and the image went around the world and became a national and universally humanistic emblem. Its facades have been covered with multilingual chalk inscriptions declaring love, compassion and solidarity with Belgium and the world in the face of barbarism.
Les Halles Saint-Géry
❤Le first place where we landed to have our first beer (a few minutes after our arrival…). All around the halles, there are bars with sunny terraces. The inside of the Halles is very nice with its early XXth century style (like mini Grand-Palais) and the fountain in its heart. The central space is reserved for the bar’s “terrace” and the perimeters are exhibition areas.
Namely: the Halles are regularly invested by the Brussels Vintage Market which is, as its name suggests, a vintage market (a peculiarity of Brussels).
The Sablon District – Le Quartier Sablon
We didn’t really visit it, for real, we went through it instead. Starting from the Royal Square, going up the Rue de la Régence to pass in front of the Fine Arts Museum (I would have loved to see the Andres Serrano exhibition, seen in Vence, but no time 🙁 ) then the Church of Notre-Dame du Sablon that I found quite beautiful.
At the very end, the Palace of Justice imposes some. Serious! Unfortunately for us (and fortunately for him), it was under restoration and multiple scaffolding was on its facades. To its right, a clear square where I recognized the scene from Dikkenek where François Damiens gets his car pulled with Marion Cotillard in the trunk and then calls his mother in a cabin. Place Poelaert offers a panoramic view of Brussels. The Marolles elevator leaves from there to go down to the Marolles district.
The Ball Game Place
(Between us, it’s a good thing that the inhabitants of Brussels preferred to have fun there rather than digging on this square…) On the Place du Jeu de Balle so, there are cobblestones, vendors of grilled sausages on a plancha and… a huge flea market full of stalls of second-hand goods dealers of all kinds ! If the Marolles district is the vintage district, this place is the quintessence of the Brussels china ! You can find everything (mainly rags, old silver photographic equipment, books …) and anything (trinkets, furniture, engraved cd of Frank Michael and other objects of all kinds …). If you like antiques and “good” bargains, you should know that this flea market takes over the whole place every day of the week until 2pm (3pm on weekends). For others, this curiosity is part of the local life and, it seems to me, is to be seen when visiting Brussels.
Comic book murals
❤ Before going to Brussels, we had noticed that this neighborhood had the particularity of having many of the multiple murals on the walls of its buildings, in homage to the famous Belgian comic strip. There is indeed a map that lists them precisely but, in my opinion, the best thing is really to walk around, to get lost and to fall, at random in the streets, on one of them to savor each fortuitous discovery. And then, if you don’t see them all… it’s not so bad, is it?