"If ever a city could claim a split personality, it's Brussels. French versus Flemish, historic versus hip, bizarre versus classical, rain versus ...ehm..rain ;) Full of contrasts, contradictions and intrigue, this is a multicultural equation that goes much deeper than just red tape and Eurocrats. An historic heirloom is closer to the mark. And in an age where so much has already been discovered, Belgium's capital seduces as one of Western Europe's unknowns." Dixit Lonely Planet. Read more here. For some tips on the nicest areas to visit, scroll down!
And it's also beautiful! Check out these panoramic pictures of some our most beautiful spots and heritage!
Down through the centuries, Brussels has always been a hub, and that applies in the field of jazz too. From the very beginning, with the minstrel shows about big bands and bebop to free jazz, and the latest tendencies, everything has always happened here, and still does. Read here why Jazz and Brussels have an inseparable bond. Adolphe Sax, Django, ... All there!
Brussels has many and quite different quarters. These are the ones we recommend to you: the historical centre and the area around the Grand Place, the area of Sainte-Catherine / Rue Dansaert / Saint-Géry, Flagey, Saint-Gilles and especially the area around the Marolles / Sablon.
Historical centre and Grand Place
If you didn't join our Saturday urban discovery trail - Historical centre, take the time to discover it at your own pace: it contains highlights such as the Grand Place (UNESCO Heritage Site) and Jeanneke Pis (the counterpart of Manneken Pis, one of Belgium's national symbols).
The Marolles and Sablon
One of the cosiest hang-outs is the Marolles. This is and has always been the beating, working-class heart of the city. Breughel lived here. Hunt for bargains and second-hand goods and create some nice, old, vintage or exotic memories for yourself. This neighbourhood is concentrated along two parallel streets (rue Haute and rue Blaes) and all the nearby alleyways with more than 250 shops in total. There is a daily flea market at Place du Jeu de Balle from 6:00 am to 2-3:00 pm. No surprise that this is truly a great place to stroll around. Take the elevator to the "Palais de Justice" in the rue Haute for a beautiful view over the whole city. The Marolles are just a stone's throw from the Sablon, which hosts a vast collection of antiquarians and renowned Belgian chocolatiers.
Saint-Géry / Dansaert / Place Sainte-Catherine
Close to 'La Bourse', you'll find the Saint-Géry/Dansaert area.This neighbourhood was the birthplace of Brussels in the 10th century. For the last decade, it has also been invaded by fashion and other designers so go there to see the trendiest place in Brussels! It is also the area in Brussels where Brussels' Flemish community tends to hang out, in bars like Walvis, Monk, Roskam, De Markten and the likes, close to the "Fish Market". You'll also find Madame Moustache on the Fishmarket, where we dance lindyhop every Tuesday. Close-by are the 'Place Saint-Géry' bars with terrasses. They're colourful, warm and welcoming and they serve drinks and cuisine from all over the world. There are also many Thai restaurants in this area.
Saint-Gilles is famous for its Art-Nouveau façades and beautiful townhouses around the Hotel de Ville in the upper part of the town as well as more gritty working class and immigrant neighborhoods in the lower section around Bruxelles-Midi train station. While is slowly but surely changing, this well-situated neighbourhood still feels like a community: home-spun, rich in variety and a little rough around the edges. Saint-Gilles' main square "the Parvis de Saint-Gilles" hosts a local market almost every day of the week and is a permanent home to a diverse selection of cafés and restaurants.
Flagey in Ixelles
Once upon a time there was a neighbourhood beloved by artists: whatever the era, Flagey has always had that style of trendy and friendly culture. In the area you have the nice Ixelles Ponds, plenty of fine Art Nouveau and Art Deco mansions, and – not to be missed – the Flagey 'Steamship' building. Today the building is used for cultural events. It also hosts café Belga. It once used to host the former National Institute for Radio Broadcasting (NIR). Come to this area for discovering the creative, multicultural, young and effervescent energy that emanates from this lively part of Brussels.
This 102m-tall monument was built for the 1958 World Fair. It respresents a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times and consists of 9 enormous metallic balls connected by steel tubes. It hosts exhibitions and has a panoramic restaurant in the highest ball that gives you a view on Brussels and even Antwerp on a clear day. To get to the Atomium (located on the outskirts of Brussels) take metro line 6 towards Koning Boudewijn/Roi Baudoin, and you hop off at Heizel/Heyzel.
Bar Beton (Rue Antoine Dansaert 114, 1000 Brussels)
Le Pain Quotidien (various locations, www.lepainquotidien.be)
Café Belga (Place Eugène Flagey 18, 1050 Ixelles)
Chicago (Rue de Flandre 45, 1000 Bruxelles)
Oma (Rue Jourdan 129, 1060 Saint-Gilles)
La Tricoterie (Rue Théodore Verhaegen 158, 1060 Saint-Gilles)
Lunch & Dinner
Divino (Rue des Chartreux 56, 1000 Brussels – Italian)
Plattesteen (Rue du Marché au Charbon 41, 1000 Brussels - Belgian)
Au Bon Bol (Rue Paul Devaux 9, 1000 Brussels - Chinese Noodles)
Mer du Nord (Rue Ste-Catherine 1, 1000 Brussels - Seafood)
Fin de Siècle (Rue des Chartreux 9, 1000 Bruxelles - Belgian)
Kokob (Rue des Grands Carmes 10, 1000 Brussels - Ethiopian)
L’Ultime Atome (Rue Saint-Boniface 14, 1050 Ixelles - Belgian)
Les Brassins (Rue Keyenveld 36, 1050 Ixelles - Belgian)
Pizzeria Posto Al Sole (Chaussée de Forest 122, 1060 Saint-Gilles - pizza by the meter)
Fritland (Rue Henri Maus 49, 1000 Bruxelles)
Friture de la Chapelle (Place de la Chapelle, 1000 Brussels)
Frit’ Flagey (Place Eugène Flagey, Ixelles)
Maison Antoine (Place Jourdan 1, 1040 Etterbeek – since 1948!)
Friterie de la Barrière (Avenue du Parc 5, 1060 Saint-Gilles)
Chez Moeder Lambic - very typical, helps you choose your beer (Place Fontainas 8, 1000 Brussels)
Delirium - more than 2400 beers! (Impasse de la Fidélité 4a, 1000 Brussels)
PoechenelleKelder - you could hear the Brusseler language while choosing between many beers like Vieil Orval (Rue du Chêne 5, 1000 Brussels)
Go to the Toone and order a Kwak (Rue du Marché aux Herbes 66, 1000 Brussel)
Le Cirio (Rue de la Bourse 18, 1000 Brussels - Art-Nouveau brasserie with the famous half & half!)
Monk (Rue Sainte-Catherine 42, 1000 Brussels)
Goupil Le Fol (Rue de la Violette 22, 1000 Brussels – just try it!)
L’Archiduc (Rue Antoine Dansaert 6,1000 Brussels)
Booze'n Blues (Rue des Riches Caires 20, 1000 Brussels)
Bravo BXL (Rue d’Alost 10-17, 1000 Brussels)
Café Bison (Rue Pont de la Carpe 7, 1000 Brussels)
Sounds Jazz Club (Rue de la tulipe, 28 - 1050 Bruxelles)
Jazz Station (Chaussée de Louvain, 193A - 1210 Saint-Josse)
Marolles daily flea market (Place du Jeu de Balle - 1000 Brussels)
Think Twice (Rue du vieux Marché aux Grains 57 - 1000 Brussels)
Gabriele Vintage (Rue des Chartreux 27 - 1000 Brussels)
Foxhole (Rue des Riches Claires 4 - 1000 Brussels)
Les Enfants d’Edouard (Avenue Louise 175 - 1050 Ixelles)
Episode (Rue de la Violette 28 - 1000 Brussels)
Melting Pot Kilo (Rue Haute 163-165 - 1000 Brussels)