Brussels holds a special place in my heart. Since I was a child, I spent many holidays and weekends over there to visit friends. These were great opportunities to go beyond the first impression of a quiet and grey city.
Many people see Brussels as the capital of Eurocrats but it is so much more than that. From Paris, it is very easy to visit it for a weekend as it is only 1 hour and 30 minutes away by train with the Thalys.
When you visit Brussels for the first time, you will probably hear about the famous Grand Place and the Manneken Pis, this landmark bronze fountain picturing a little boy which remains the emblem of the rebellious spirit of the city.
Brussels is also the capital of Art Nouveau and comic strips. For the Art Nouveau amateurs, the Maison Horta is a must-see, as the museum is dedicated to the “father” of this architectural design.
Whenever you wander around the city, you will probably come across big wall paintings of comic book heroes. You can actually follow Brussels’ unique comic strip route to make the most of it and your trip should definitely include a visit to the famous Cartoon Museum.
Brussels is also renowned for its chocolates. For anyone who wants to try the delicious Marcolini chocolates or enjoy an afternoon tea at Wittamer, the best place to head to is the Place du Grand Sablon. You can also stop by the biscuiterie Dandoy on the way to buy one of their tasty traditional waffles or speculoos.
One place you might not have heard of, is the Theatre Toone, which is very popular among locals. The traditional puppet techniques have been maintained there since 1830, as well as the “bruxellois” dialect to host a variety of traditional and somewhat satirical shows in touch with current reality. Performances are also held in English, Dutch, French, or German. It is strongly recommended to book in advance as the show takes place in a small authentic tavern and attracts large crowds.
People from all over the world travel to and live in Brussels. Therefore, you will find so many different dining options. One of the highlights for me was eating at one of the best Ethiopian restaurants : KokoB. It serves traditional Ethiopian dishes with injera, the local bread which replaces the usual knife and fork. The place is also an exhibition and concert venue.
If you are looking for a Sunday brunch option, one of the nicest places to go to is Cook & Book. This library offers different sections to suit all tastes with a large and fresh brunch buffet. This is not a place you will easily come across as a tourist but you will notice, as soon as you enter it, that it is full of locals. Cook & Book is also close to the lovely Woluwe park, which is ideal for an afternoon walk.
Photo credits : Maud G
The addresses :
Cartoon Museum – Centre Belge de la Bande Dessinée – 20 rue des Sables – 1000 Bruxelles
Maison Horta – 25 rue Américaine – 1060 Bruxelles
Wittamer – Place du Grand Sablon – 1000 Bruxelles
Dandoy – 31 rue au Beurre – 1000 Bruxelles
Theatre Toone – 66 rue du Marché aux Herbes – 1000 Bruxelles
KokoB – 10 rue des Grands Carmes – 1000 Bruxelles
Cook & Book – 1 place du Temps Libre – 1200 Woluwe st Lambert