If I could choose on word to describe the nature of our trip, it would be “wander”. Before leaving, I created a list of places I wanted to see in each city and would put them on my Google Maps so I had a general idea of where they were. But other than that, wander we did! Some places we focused on more museums, others we focused more on figuring out the local streets. We had one day in Brussels, so naturally we focused on walking around the streets, peeking into churches and getting to know the city. And eating one of the best meals I’ve ever had in my life.
If you’re in Brussels, head to Fin de Siècle for some of the best food in the world. Like its name, it is designed in fin de siècle, art nouveau style, both on the exterior and interior. The menu is on a chalkboard on the wall (only in French) and the restaurant is packed full of tables. Be prepared to sit at the same table with strangers and arrive early as the restaurant gets crowded super fast! This wasn’t our first stop but I am talking about it first because it was so amazing. If you want a little more detail, check out my Yelp profile for the review. But definitely make a stop here if you are in Brussels.
Jambonneau moutarde à l’ancienne with salad and a jacket potato
aka Mega ham with delicious mustard and it was SO good.
Now back to semi-chronological order: we first hit up l’Eglise St. Gilles, a Catholic church built in the 19th century which was on the same street as our Airbnb.
We then hit up Paroisse Notre-Dame au Sablon, a Catholic church built in the 15th century.
We then wandered around a little more, seeing a pretty little park and some buildings and some pretty official buildings.
And this really cool clock….
One thing I loved about the street below, which was right by the town centre, was the fact that it looks nothing like the other streets we saw in Brussels. The red awnings and eclectic signage (not to mention the lack of tourists), made me smile. I also just love this picture for some reason too.
Once you walk by that little street you enter Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, a famous shopping arcade that predates the other famous arcades in Milan and St. Petersburg. The Galeries Royales St. Hubert were designed in 1836 and building commenced in 1846. It is made up of Galerie du Roi, Galerie de la Reine and Galerie du Prince. Something I found interesting was the motto displayed at the entrance when it was built was “omnibus omnia” (everything for everybody). Walking around them I definitely didn’t feel that way! Everything was so fancy and pretty and it made me want all the money!
Finally some might say, we made it to Grand-Place, the main square of Brussels. The Town Hall is the gorgeous building you see in the picture below. It was built between 1402 and 1420 and was completely gutted in 1695 after the bombardment of Brussels by the French army. Even though it was packed with tourists, it was still one of my favourite spots in Brussels. Such pretty architecture!!
Next on our list was Eglise Notre Dame de Bon Secours. It was built between 1664 and the end of the 17th cent. Interestingly enough, the church was named after a statue discovered on site thought to be miraculous. It has been reconstructed several times.
Our last stop was a mystery church (aka I didn’t make a note of the name) but it was really pretty and bright inside, unusual for European churches!
And now for a little street art/graffiti to end the tour. While we weren’t in Brussels for long enough to get a fantastic feel for the city, I liked it. It wasn’t my favourite on our trip but I’m glad I saw it. I’d love to go back and check out some of the museums there and maybe spend a little more time wandering around and relaxing. Next stop, Paris!