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What you will do
Touring Brussels' city center may be quick, but you will barely get the feeling of boredom in such a lovely and welcoming european capital.
The Grand'Place is obviously a true gem, which is bound to trigger something in everybody. It is also the perfect starting point for discovering the city, for instance up to the charming quarter of Les Sablons, which forms like a little village around a big square. Here you will, maybe, have breakfast at the Pain Quotidien, stroll in Flamand shop for outstanding belgian design, or get a chocolate treat of high standard at Pierre Marcolini's.
Or you can head North, through the Royal Galleries of Saint-Hubert, towards the stimulating Belgian Comic Strip Center. Else you chose East, going down des Bouchers street perhaps, and its many restaurants, then entering the little asian quarter (more like a single street, really) up to Sainte-Catherine square and beyond...
But let's not forget the Cathedral, the Royal Buildings and Museums... And even the tinyest of all Belgian treasures (well, a little bigger than a plate of mussels, that's it) : the Manneken-Pis !
All this would be quite enough on its own, but to top it all, there are all the temptations to shop and eat and drink, knowing that in Brussels, the saying goes that it's simply impossible, in particular, not to get great food.
This itinerary aims at giving you a glimpse of most of what the center of Brussels has to offer. As usual, the given duration is only an indication : should you not make the visit of the 2 museums that we included as stops, or should you (by some extraordinary set of circumstances that is likely never to happen, but hey !) not choose to have a break somewhere, even for a waffle on-the-go, you can make the walk a lot shorter.
Enough said. Now have a great time in Brussels !
Step by step
- So we start here, among the highly and beautifully ornemented buildings of the Grand'Place. If it's Christmas time, there will most certainly be a large Christmas tree and a Christ Child's crib with living animals. Closest subway station is Bourse (Beurs). 1
- Heading West, take the little street on the left of the Town Hall, towards de l'Etuve street. You'll cross du Lombard street then you'll most likely see a small crowd around the landmark that would have been announced already by the many souvenir shops on the way. 2
- Now turn left (heading southeast) up to a small square from where de l'Escalier street goes up until de l'Empereur boulevard. On the other side of the latter, past the bowling, take the tiny, old and charming de Rollebeck street . Buy some biscuits (try the speculoos in particular) at Dandoy's, then find du Grand Sablon then du Petit Sablon squares, and the church. 3
- Follow then Regentschapstraat to the left (heading northeast) towards the Place Royale. You may also spot, downwards, in the direction of the Grand'Place, a beautiful Art Nouveau building now housing the museum of music instruments. 4
- Have a look at the Royal Palace and the Parc de Bruxelles, along Royale street, then head down towards the central station through Kanselarijstraat. The first street on your right will lead you to Sainte-Gudule square. 5
- Exiting the cathedral, follow de Berlaimont boulevard until you see a big Gaston Lagaffe, marking the proximity with the Comic Strip Center, a little downwards at des Sables street. 6
- Follow on des Sables street and turn left into du Marais street. This will lead to to a crossroad from where you'll be able to see La Mort Subite beer house, and the entrance of the Galleries a little further away. 7
- Des Bouchers street crosses the Galleries at their midst. Chez Léon and Aux Armes de Bruxelles remain very good places to eat lunch or dinner. 8
- Now why not getting back to the Grand'Place (turn left from des Bouchers street and essentially follow the crowd !) then heading towards Anspach Boulevard, leaving the Marriott Hotel on your left and entering Brussels'Chinatown before finally arriving at Sainte-Catherine square. From here you may head North towards the Quai aux Briques then the Quai à la Houille (where a ferris wheel stands in winter). 9