Grand Place (Central Square)
The Grand Place is the heart of Brussels and has been since the Middle
Ages. One of Europe's more beautiful squares, it lies in the centre of
a confusion of small cobbled streets, and is surrounded by richly decorated
17th-century Baroque Guildhouses, various Neo-Gothic buildings and museums.
It is, however, the town hall, a magnificent Gothic building that dominates
the square. Markets, flower stalls and various events are held here and
this is the place to get to grips with the essence of Brussels, perhaps
over a local delicacy at a pavement café.
The distinctive statue has been described as the Eiffel Tower of Brussels
and tourists throng the streets in search of the tiny urinating urchin.
The bronze Manneken is thought to represent the 'irreverent spirit' of
Brussels, but there are numerous tales about its beginnings. Started by
Louis XV of France many years ago, it has been the custom of foreign countries,
companies, visiting dignitaries or charities to donate an outfit to the
Mannekis-Pis and the little boy is usually decked out in the latest costume;
previous costumes are displayed in the City of Brussels Museum.
Situated at the Heysel. (Metro station : Heysel). Here you find a reconstructed
Belgian village complete with café's and restaurants.
You can have a tropical beach experience at the indoor Océade Océade
swimming complex. Kinepolis: one of the largest movie complexes in Europe
with 24 cinema rooms and a giant IMAX movie screen.
See the major monuments of the memberstates of the European Union in miniature
(Eiffel tower, Houses of Parliament, Brandenburg Gate, Sacré Coeur,
Discover the symbol of the 1958 Brussels world fair from the inside.
Pub dating from 1696, with excellent choice of Belgian beers. On the first
floor is the famous Toone Puppet Theater. Beautiful 'marionettes' perform
classical opera's or Brussels folk stories in different languages (on
Open: every day from 12 am to 12 pm.
Location: Kleine Beenhouwersstraat / Petite rue des Bouchers , near Grand'
The Belgiam Comic Strip Centre
A famous Belgian art form in a beautiful Art Nouveau Setting. Discover
the history of Belgium's comic strip heroes (Tintin) and visit the beautiful
shop with its many books and comic strip gadgets.
Open from 10am till 6 pm, Zandstraat / Rue des Sables 20 1000 Brussel
The iguanodons of Bernissart
One of the most beautiful collections of Dinosaur skeletons can be seen
in the Museum of Natural Sciences. The skeletons of the Iguanodons were
found in the 19th century in the south-Belgian village of Bernissart.
Location Waversesteenweg / Chaussée de Wavre 260
Cathédrale des Sts Michel & Gudule
This splendid twin-towered cathedral at Parvis Sainte Gudule is named
after Brussels' male and female patron saints. After years of renovation,
it now sits gleaming on the hillside to the north of Gare Centrale. Begun
in 1226, the cathedral took some 300 years to build and consequently reveals
a blend of styles - from Romanesque through all the stages of Gothic and
right up to Renaissance. The interior is light and airy but almost bereft
of decoration due to plundering, first by Protestants in the 17th century
and later by the French army.
Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique
This museum houses Belgium's premier collections of ancient and modern
art and is particularly well endowed with works by Pieter Breugel the
Elder, Rubens and the Belgian Surrealists. Both sections are large and
you'll need a good day here if you want to do them justice.
Rue des Bouchers
Leading off from Galeries St Hubert in a lively little quarter known as
Ilôt Sacré is the famous Rue des Bouchers. Whether you decide
to eat at one of the many seafood restaurants here or not, this pedestrianised
cobbled street is a spectacle not to be missed.
Since 1958, when the city was chosen as the provisional seat of the European
Commission and Council of Ministers, Brussels has been the de facto 'capital
of Europe'. Today, the European Union (EU) is headquartered east of the
city center, where some 18,000 Eurocrats process red tape and try to keep
the planet's second-largest economy on track. The EU area is bordered
by the Petit Ring to the west and Parc du Cinquantenaire to the east.
The EU area provide a unique view of regular people making history without
shooting at each other.
Musée Bruxellois de la Gueuze
Anyone with even a vague interest in Belgian beer must not miss the excellent
family-run Cantillon brewery, where the owners still proudly use traditional
methods to make their fine lambic beers.