Brussels Things to Do Tips by belgianchocolate Top 5 Page for this destination
Brussels Things to Do: 2,250 reviews and 4,087 photos
You saw this tower in the 'Parc du Cinquantenaire'?
You wonder what it is? Was?
Remains of a medieval castle maybe?
Great story , but the truth is different.
The tower was erected by Henri Bayaert in order to
show off the technical possibilities of Tournai
The decorations shows the coat of arms
of the town 'Doornik , Tournai' which is located
in the Hainut region of Belgium.
Henri Beyaert lived from 1823 till 1894...
not medieval times. There used to be more
towers like this. Despite the beautiful
gargoyles - it is neogothic style. But with
19th century building skills.
Address: Parc du cinquantenaire , Jubelpark
Directions: Metro station: schumann or merode
Where shall I start?
When I was reading books about Belgian history ,
especially about my favorite period , I ran
into this artwork a couple of times.
There is a special story that comes along with it.
So , I'm glad to show you the pictures since
it is forbidden to take pictures inside.
BUT - it was a nice summer day , the guard
was enjoying the weather outside and left
me inside - ALONE - with a camera.
What could I do? (don't blame the guy...Belgian
summer only lasts 2 days)
Anyway. Horta the architect of the pavilion is
on the Unesco World Heritage list. But it wont be
for this building. This was his first official
building. I like 'PAVILION of the HUMAN PASSIONS' better.
It is the tittle of the big marble carrera work
by Jef Lambeaux.(1852-1908) Not a well know
name , but everybody knows work by him.
(Brabo on the Grote markt in Antwerp)
This work is the only one I know from him in
marble and it is of an amazing size.
For 3 years Jef Lambeaux worked dedicated
in big seclusion on this work. The Belgian state
bought it in 1990 and dicided to ad it at the
gardens of the cinquantenaire. The big parc
ment to celebrate Belgium.
Horta and Lambeaux had a big fight.... about some
architectural details. Controversy in the news papers..
more controversy about the nature of the
sculpture. Too much nude...etc etc.
After 3 days the pavilion closed down
A big wooden wall round it. Lambeaux never saw
Up till now it is hard to get in ,
and not too many people are interested.
Open from tuesday to Sunday
2,30 p.m. till 4,00 p.m.
Entrance fee : 2 euro
Address: Parc du cinquantenaire , Jubelpark
Directions: Neighbour of the 'Grand mosque'.
Watch the plans at the entrance of the parc.
%cb For the pigeons
This is a monument one can find on the
'Pantsertroepensquare , square des blindés'
The lady symbolizes Belgium , mother country.
It is a beautifull lady with naked breasts.
She has been there on that square true rain ,
cold and storm since 1931.
But the monument isn't on the lady ,
the monument is for the pigeons.
(isn't that quit unique).
The brave pigeons that did an excellent job
during world war I bringing messages
into the war zone.
Directions: Not far from the 'Eglise Saint-Cathérine'.
Rijke klaren kerk
The 'Clarissen' are a kind of nuns that lived
in Brussels since 1443. They had their
cloister near the 'Hallepoort'.
In 1578 their cloister dissapeared to enlarge
the city walls.
So they moved to a left monastery and they
even wanted to build a church. The architect
'Luc Faid'Herbe' had a very good reputation.
1665 is the date the first church was build.
Thirty years later the church got bombed
by the French and they had to rebuild it.
The French decomposed the community and
had two streets constructed on their property.
The church got enlarged and reopened.
In 1830 - when Belgium was born , this chuch
was used as an hospital.
Lately , 1989 , the church had a big fire to
deal with. Since then it got slowly restored.
Some parts are lost forever , like the organs.
Therefore it looks kind of sober from the inside.
But still worth a visit. The angels look like a
mature version of the ones I saw in Rome in
the 'San giovanni in Laterano'.
The brighten up the bows.
Archeologist are reveiling the remains of
the old cloister.
Address: Rue des Riches Claires / Rijke klarenstraat.
Directions: Not far from the Sint-Gorikshallen.
It is not really a grand café...but the café
of a realy special hotel.
I would never think of visiting an hotel
just to have a look around...but I was invited
for the presentation of a book with a
reception in one of the rooms.
This hotel is just stunning. It is completely
erected in overwhelming 'Belle epoque style.
Again it is 'king Leopold II' who
probably had an hand in this project.
For the world expo in 1910 he wanted to
have an hotel suitable for his guests.
It is build with the best materials...marble.
But also a lot of exotic wood from the congo.
The list of important persons is long ,
very long... Staying here might just not fit
into your budget. But I recommend having a
One thing is Leoplod II never saw it in it's full
glory. He died in 1909.
Address: Rue royale 103 , koningsstraat 103
Directions: Somewhere in the middle between the 'warandepark'
and the 'Jardin Botanique'.
The 'congresskolom is nearby.
One of those nice Brussels legends.
In 1477 Karel de Stoute (Charles the bold)
died near Nancy. He had a daughter , Maria
Van Bourgondië. Because of her inheritance
she married Maximiliaan van Oostenrijk.
In that time it was a local custom to treat the
plebs with wine. Not in a glass , for that special
occasion the 'fountain of the three virgins'
was squirting wine.
But a sailor drunk right at the nipples of one
of the virgins. The audience was shocked.
Afterwards he died at the corner of the
'kolenmarkt' and the 'steenstraat'.
His parents raised up a fountain at the place
where he died as a deed of atonement.
In 1695 a bombardment took place...
the fountain and the house 'den Boterpot'
(the butter pot) disappeared.
The ground got sold , the new owner promised
that he would repair the fountain.
And he did , sort of. The fountain became a
giant lions head.
In 1786 , Claude Fisco , replaced it by the
bust of a Triton. The name 'Den spauwer'
was given because there isn't a lot of water
'Spauwen' in dialect dutch means - vomiting.
Now he is standing with his back against the
'Homo erectus' , one of brussels gay pubs.
Address: corner 'kolenmarkt' and the 'steenstraat'
Directions: Behind the city hall , near 'grand place'
A fountain out of cathegory...
This marble fountain can be seen on one of
the stair of the 'museum for fine arts'
It got confiscated by the french republic and
afterwards givin to the starting collection of
This marble fountain was the masterpiece
of the 'grand sall' of the fish merchants.
'Gabriel de Grupello' made this
statues in 1675. 'Neptunus and Thetys' are
sitting in a giant shell while a sea horse and
Putti is watching them.
This fountain was designed to keep the wine cool.
Yes , it was a long time before the refrigerator was
invented. Can you imagine , having one of
these in your kitchen. ;-)
If you like fountains , don't miss these two.
In 1695 Brussels got bombed...and the target
had to be the town hall. For some reason the
town hall got hardly damaged. The surrounding
buildings had their fair share of bombs.
After the war they decided to enlarge the town hall.
In the center they chose to install a courtyard.
On the left and the right side two allegoric
fountains were designed. Symbolizing the
river Schelde and the river Maas.
The fountain was designed by Anneessens.
He chose blue stone for the basins ,
white marble for the old men symbolizing the rivers ,
and also marble for the two mythological
dolphins supporting the bassins.
The two puttii at each fountain steering there
dolphins were made of metal.
Two sculptors were in the run for this mission.
Pierre-Denis Plumier(Schelde) and Jean De
When the first sculpturs were finished , it seemed
that the Schelde was looking much better...
so mister Plumier had the honor to finish
this magnificent fountains.
(they already got restored in 1840)
Address: Town hall , Grand place.
Directions: It was remarcably silent here ,
when you can't get in ,
go round the back.
I love this grand café.
It was able to keep his style and atmosphere
in the middle of the tourist area of Brussels.
Grandma , the neighbours , me...
The interior only is worth a visit , sit down
have a coffee or order the house speciality
' half en half' '
A mixture of Champagne and white wine.
(I don't like either one of those ,
so give my portion to the cat please -
that is an expression I learned in Brussels-
geef mijn 'spose' maar aan de kat)
Don't forget to watch people...
the old ladies with their little dogs.
Address: Beursstraat , rue de la Bourse 18
Directions: Not far from the 'grote markt' , a neighbour of 'de beurs' , 'the stock exchange'
Brussels is a city where you can spend a
complete day walking from one great café
to another. Having a drink , watch the people ,
sniff the special atmosphere...and most of all
watch the stunning interiors.
I would like to add at least a few of them.
Some of them are just too obvious ,
easy to find , I'll add them anyway. Other...
It was the favorite café of 'René Magritte.
The great Belgian painter...
It is has hardly changed since it opened at
the end of the 19th century. It is a more sober
'Art Nouveauw' café.
Nicolas Paneritis , the greek owner , provides
chess-boards for the guest. From early in the
afternoon till late Brussels chess players
gather in this fantastic place.
Have a look in the corner , a telephone cell ,
and don't forget to go to the toilet.
I like to sit in a corner and watch the people ,
oder a coffee... The chess players don't seem
to hear any noise.
Address: Kartuizersstraat , rue des chartreux 9
Phone: 00 32-(0)2-511.41.67
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