Brussels Things to Do Tips by tere1
Brussels Things to Do: 2,212 reviews and 3,955 photos
When entering the Market Place from one of the seven side-streets, one's eyes are drawn automatically to the gothic tower of the town hall pointing skywards. Up to this day the "Hotel de Ville", or "Stadhuis" is considered to rank among the most beautiful city halls in the Low Countries.
The construction of the building represents the growing power of Brussels as the capital of the Dukedom of Brabant
The town hall is still the seat of the Mayor of Brussels . The city administration is located elsewhere, on Boulevard Anspach. In the first half of the 1990's the tower has been completely restored. In the following years the facades of the building has been cleaned and restored where necessary.
2,48 € (Euro) per person and 1,98 € (Euro) per person for groups of minimum 12 persons
The town hall can be visited only with guided tours in Eng., French, German and Dutch. For the timings of the tours please consult the Town Hall or the Brussels Tourist Office in the right wing of the building.
Address: Grand-Place - Grote Markt 1000 Brussels
The present Rue des Bouchers is called "Vicus Carificum" in a document from the archives of Saint-Gudule Cathedral, dating from 1294. In 1364, it is mentioned in Flemish as "Vleeshouwersstrate". In the Middle Ages it was inhabited by pork butchers, sausage merchants, tripe butchers and maybe a few authorised "bouchers" (originally, the "bouchers" were allowed to sell only "bouc" (goat) and mutton, whilst only the "Grand Boucherie", located behind the "Maison du Roi", until its collapse in 1917, was allowed to sell beef).
The Rue des Bouchers still has lots of beautiful stepped gables and curls, and ancient doors mostly dating from the 17th century. At the end of the street, near number 58, a narrow passage leads to the "Résidence Centrale", an oasis of unexpected silence. The elegant bronze fountain named "La Cracheuse" is from Idel Ianchelevici.
At number 70 was settled the splendid little "Musée de la Serrurerie" (locksmith museum), where the late Guillaume Dehaen, the former treasurer of the Ilot Sacré, had gathered the most splendid objects of his collections. Number 53 still houses the shop that was established by Xavier Lauffer, a refugee from the Alsace, in 1871. The most famous restaurant of the Rue des Bouchers can be found on number 13, "Aux Armes de Bruxelles", an old tavern that was bought by Calixte Veulemans in 1921. From that date, the restaurant is managed by the same family.
The Flemish singer Jean de Baets made the Rue des Bouchers famous with his fifteen-stanza song "In de rue des Bouchers" in the 20's. This street also sheltered the "Stuart", an eclectic cinema that was inaugurated by Anna Neagle, the star of the film Queen Victoria, in 1930. Unfortunately, this building was demolished after the Second World War, to give way to the enlargement of a bank of the Rue d'Arenberg.
Between numbers 10 and 12, at the end of the "Impasse de la Fidélité", visitors can take a look at the statue of Jeanneke Pis, the female and more realistic equivalent of the famous Manneken Pis. The statue was made in 1985 on the initiative of a merchant of the Ilot Sacré to support charity work.
Address: Rue des Bouchers
Directions: Grand Place area
Manneken Pis: This statue of a little boy in a somewhat compromising position has since several centuries been a major tourist attraction in the city. When most people see our 'manneken', the first reaction is always one of amazement: "Look, how small he is ! Why does everybody want to see him ?" The people of Brussels, however, accept him the way he is. After all, it doesn't always have to be big to be beautiful. Imagine he would be the size of the Statue of Liberty : Brussels would be continuously flooded !
Nobody actually knows why the manneken is there. He is believed to be nothing more than a decoration on top of a fountain, where people in the Middle-Ages came to get fresh water. Already in the 15th century a fountain called 'manneken-pis' existed in the Stoofstraat/Rue de l'étuve. The official origin can be traced back to the 13th of August 1619 when the city ordered the sculptor Jerome Duquesnoy to make a new bronze statue of manneken-pis to replace an old and withered one. During the course of the centuriesthe little manneken has often been hidden to protect him against bombs of invading armies. He has also been stolen several times by plundering soldiers and even by the citizens of Geraardsbergen, a city in Flanders that claims to possess the oldest statue of a peeing boy in Belgium.
Lot of people do not know that the manneken-pis is very often dressed. At the moment he has a wardrobe of more than 600 costumes, which are all preserved in the King's House, or City Museum at the Grand-Place, the central market square of the city.
Address: Corner of Rue de l' Etuve and Rue du Chêne
Directions: On the corner of Stoofstraat/Rue de L'Etuve and the Eikstraat/Rue du Chêne (At the Grand-Place follow the street on the left side of the town hall)
This church is to be found at the Treurenberg hill on the edge between lower and upper town. Already at the beginning of the 11th century a church was situated here. In 1047 the Duke of Brabant, Lambert II, had the relics of Saint Gudula transferred from the Saint Gorik church in downtown Brussels to the new church at the Treurenberg hill.
From that moment on the Saint Gudula and Saint Michael church took the lead over all the other churches in Brussels. Lambert II also gave the church a chapter of 12 canons (= priests who took care of the services and possessions of the church).
All through the 20th century the Cathedral has almost continuously been renovated. The renovation was completed in December 1999 when the marriage of the Belgian Crown Prince Philippe with his bride Princess Mathilda took place here, on the 4th of December.
Address: Parvis de Sainte Gudule
Directions: Sint Goedele voorplein / Parvis Saint Gudule
Everywhere you walk in Brussels, you will pass by a "chocolaterie" and you will feel the wonderful smell of chocolate .Chocolate is one of the things Belgium is famous for and there are so many good chocolate brands in Brussels!!!
Belgian chocolate has been the food of champions, a lure for lovers, the indulgence of the rich and later, the favorite of the masses.
Belgium produces 172,000 tons of chocolate per year with more than 2,000 chocolate shops throughout the country.
Pralines in Belgium are sublime chocolate confections. A beautifully sculpted chocolate shell conceals a center of filling which explodes with a surprising texture and flavor in your mouth. Many chocolatiers still make their pralines by hand. Every town and even small villages have chocolate stores with luxurious pralines.
The fame and beauty of the Market Place ( Grand Place) do not lie only in the Town Hall and the King's House, but perhaps first of all in the presence of a remarkably beautiful set of elaborately decorated guild houses. The name "guild houses" is most commonly used for the entire set of houses, although in reality they did not all belong to the medieval guilds. Some of the houses were always privately owned.
During the Middle Ages and later every city in the Low Countries had guilds or corporations which always had a stake in the city administration. Because they were very wealthy and politically powerful , their importance had to show in their houses in which they regularly met to discuss new rules or regulations within their specific trade or commerce.
Address: Grand Place
Directions: City center
At the Market Place, opposite the Town Hall, stands another of the remarkable historical Buildings of Brussels. The beautiful neo-gothic building with its many decorative statues is the "Maison du Roi" in French or "Broodhuis" in Dutch. It now harbours the historical City Museum.
The Dutch name "Broodhuis" (i.e. bread house) clearly shows what the origins of this building were. In the beginning of the 13th century a wooden construction stood here. It was used by the bakers to sell their bread.
On June the 2nd 1887 the King's House became the City Museum of Brussels On exhibition are original statues of the town hall, paintings, wall tapestries and different artifacts which have a relation to the history of the city.
Tuesday to Friday : from 10 am till 5 pm
Weekends and holidays : from 10am till 1pm
Closed on Mondays.
2,48 € (Euro) per person, 1,98 € (Euro) per person for groups of min. 12 persons
Address: Grote Markt / Grand'Place - 1000 Brussels
Directions: Grand Place, in the city center.
Phone: +32(0)2-279 43 50
The Grand Place is probably the most beautiful thing I saw in Brussels. It's huge and full of character, surrounded by traditional restaurants.
French-speakers refer to it as the 'Grand-Place', whereas in Dutch it is called 'de grote Markt'.
There you can see the charm of the market square with its beautiful set of Guild houses dominated by the Town hall and the King's house.
Nowadays, the Grand-Place is the main tourist attraction of the City of Brussels. All through the year it is visited by thousands who like to spend some time wandering around and admiring the beautiful buildings, or sitting down on one of the many terraces having a good Belgian beer.
Concerts and musical happenings are organized all through the year on the square. The most famous events that take place here are the annual Ommegang (an historical procession at the beginning of July) and the biennial flower carpet
Address: In the city center
Directions: In the city center
The Galeries Saint Hubert are a heaven for shoppers who are willing to spend money.
Most of the shops are "chocolateries". You have several of them and the smell of chocolate fills the place.
But you can also find there upscale brand cloth , bags and shoes stores. A stop to have a coffee or tea in one of the coffee shop terraces while watching people go buy is a nice way of relaxing after a long walk.
Address: Between rue du Marché-aux-Herbes & rue de l'Ecuyer
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