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A perfect market town complete with lots of shopping for antiques, flowers, horses, seafood and more, Brussels has always been a luxurious destination. Understandable, considering the city is at the crossroads of northern Europe. Flemish and French art and architecture mix beautifully, and a unique and high-alcohol Belgian beer flows from the tap. Speaking of flowing, the world famous and charming statue "Manekken-Pis" continues to don the wardrobes of visiting heads of state during their stays; and with more than 160 embassies, visiting dignitaries are a common site. Brussels is a true melting pot of high European culture.
Bois de la Cambre
At 272 acres, Bois de la Cambre is Brussels's biggest park. This central spot is a delightful place to spend an afternoon strolling around its woodland paths. Highlights include a large lake with a small island at its center (reached by a cable-drawn ferry) which is popular for picnics. The ferry is currently closed for renovation until 2008, but the park is still well worth a visit.
Any trip to Brussels begins at its beautiful beating heart, the Grand-Place, also known as "de Grote Markt" in Dutch. It is a fine European example of a medieval square, where in the, 15th century, meetings and executions were held and visiting heads came together. Have a Belgian beer at one of the terraces or just wander around while imagining life here during the northern Renaissance.
Rue Americaine, 25
Victor Horta is sometimes known as the "Pope of Art Noveau." Visit this small museum and you will get a clear idea why this man was so instrumental in breaking the bourgeois mold of the late 19th century. Horta was a pioneer who brought industrial motifs into the home.
Rue du Chapotre 8
The sisters and widows, known as the Beguines, once lived here in an assortment of houses that are now open to the public. Take a stroll through their garden and get a sense of Belgium history.
Musees Royaux des Beaux-Arts de Belgique
Place Royal, 3
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium boast a collection of 20,000 or so paintings, sculptures, and drawings, while the Museum of Ancient Art houses a vast collection dating from the 15th to 18th century. See the finest in Flemish art from this time. For a works from the 19th century, visit the neo-classical building and the Museum of Modern Art. Among the work, are paintings and drawings by famous Belgian 19th century painters Antoine Wiertz, a Romantic, and Constantin Meunier, a pioneer in Realism.
Blvd. du Centenaire, Brussels, Belgium
Modeled after an iron molecule, Atomium was built for the 1958 World’s Fair and became one of Brussels’ landmarks. Reopening in 2006 after a renovation that included new exhibition areas, a new cafe and replacing the metal facade with stainless steel, Atomium is a perfect spot to view the city after taking an express elevator to the top of the building.
Aux Armes de Bruxelles
off the Grand-Place
"Mussels from Brussels" If you that is one of your're favorites then this restaurant is a must. Here mussels (the national dish) are served in every way conceivable and they are always excellent. The place has been busy since it opened.....80 years ago.
Mond des Arts 1
This restaurant highlights rich ingredients like truffle poached eggs, a wild Baltick smoked salmon and mussel casserole with truffle cream all served in a cathedral like dining room.
Rue du Fosse-aux-Loups, 32
Internationally known restaurateur Antoine Pinto picked a fantastic little 18th century townhouse for his newest restaurant creation. Regional fare and local food producers are emphasized, even to the point where he will only buy wines from Belgian winemakers around the world. The oyster bar is an excellent display. You can also try the cuckoo bird here.
Comme Chez Soi
Place Roupe, 23
If you’ve dined here, you have joined some exclusive company; this place attracts luminaries the world over since it opened in 1926. This is no accident, considering the beautiful warmth of the Horta-designed art noveau interior. Fillet of sole, King crab ravioli, sea bass fillet, slow roasted pigeon, back of crayfish and more delicious entrees adorn the menu. For desert, split the wild strawberries and almond cream and strawberry mousse with your companion.
Place du Jardin aux Fleurs, 1
Formerly a coach inn back in the 18th century, In’t Spinnekopke serves an authentic Belgium kitsch. Choose from about 100 artisan beers, and ask one of the friendly and witty staff to help you pair the right beer with your gigantic portion of authentic Belgian cuisine.
Bla Bla & Gallery
55 Rue des Capucins
Near the two Sablon squares and the flea market, this gallery-restaurant flaunts young Brussels. The eatery hosts bimonthly art events, live dinnertime jazz (or Cuban) on weekends, and just plain dinner.
Le Pain Quotidien
Rue des Sablons 11
Theres always a wait but the farmers’ bread is hot from the oven, coffee is served in large bowls and the cheese tartines are always fresh. It is one of the few places that has a brunch menu. Plus, on those rare Brussels days when the sun is out, the retractable roof lets in a slice of heaven
36 Rue Keyenveld
Tel. +32. 02.512.6999
This is a standout among the hundreds of traditional Belgian brasseries in Brussels. It serves 50 different brews along with Belgian classics like carbonnades flamandes (beef stew cooked with beer) and stoemp (puréed potatoes and vegetables served with meat or sausage, with a mustard sauce). The restaurant is at the end of a hard-to-find back street in Ixelles, a neighborhood popular with expatriates.
5 Place de la Chapelle
This is not a beer "joint" by any stretch of the imagination but many of the gourmet meals are prepared using beer. The belle epoque style restaurants chef Dirk Myny infuses beer into a number of the main dishes such as braised beef cheeks and cod. Even the desserts such as poached figs are made with a lambic base beer. It actually amplify's the fruitiness of the fig.
Boulevard de Waterloo,38
Tel. +32 2 504 13 33
At The Restaurant, three international guest chefs are invited by Pierre Balthazar to propose their interpretations of the same basic ingredients: Luigi Taglienti of restaurant Trussardi alla Scala in Milan, Michaël Fulci of Les Terraillers in Biot-Cannes, Oth Sombath, of the Thai restaurant Aux Trois Nagas in Paris 16ème. Each chef uses the same nine seasonal products to create two different variations: a ‘classic’ and a ‘creative’ interpretation. The results are outstanding and the restaurant is absolutely beautiful as well.
rue Royal 73
Brussels are noted for chocolate and especially pralines. This shop is one of the finast in the city. They supply chocolates to the Royal Court.
La Maison des Maitres Chocolatiers
Grand Place 4
Master chocolatiers present their styles. All are completely different and thats what make this shop so special. Laurent Gerbaud creates bonbons studded with whole pistachios and Persian red berries, while Jean-Phillippe Darcis makes almond hazelnut pralines with his name signed in pink.
Rue Antoine Dansaert, 74
The newest avant-garde Belgian designs are found at Stijl. Up-and-coming designers such as A.F. Vandevorst, Raf Simons, Veronique Branquinho and Tim Van Steebergen feature their designs among the established Antwerp names like Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester.
Place du Grand Sablon, 39
Starting as a humble chocolatier in 1995, Marcolini now has ten stores, four in Belgium.
The Antiques District is the area around Place du Grand Sablon.
Rue Joseph Stevens, 25
Near the Grand Sablon, Galeria Novecento has fantastic furniture from the early 10th century to the late 1800’s. Galerie Novecento also offers lots of fine Italian glass, in addition to the unique art from the 40’s through the 60’s.
Rue des Sablon, 1
This well-known antiques dealer has a reputation for fine silverware and furniture. He recently expanded the showroom to feature names like Poul Kjaerholm, Papio Wirkkala, Pimo Sarpaneva and more.
Galerie de la Reine 3
A Belgian glove store with Italian flare, Ganterie Italinne sells the most attractive hand wear.
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The Chambre Royale des Antiquaires de Belgique
The Royal Belgian Antiques Chamber lists certified antiques and objects d’art dealers. Also has helpful information for businesses in the trade.
Avenue P. Heger 22,
U.L.B. Service provides a roster of student babysitting.
Tourist Information Brussels TIB,
Hutel de Ville,
Offers tourist information for Belgium.
This website provides a list of activities and events occurring in Brussels.
City of Beer
Brussels is home to some of the most delicious and varied types of beer available, ranging from fruity lambics to smooth pilsner-style lagers. Check out this website for the best places to try out some the native beer during your visit.
Louise Gallery Galerie Louise,
Marble floors with oriental rugs and vast halls are the hallmarks of Louise Gallery. Knock yourself out at one of the elaborate theme nights such as cruises to Mexico and "Extreme Mousse Parties."
Av. du Globe 36
With acts like Bryan Adams and Beastie Boys performing, Forest National is the spot to catch a rock concert in Brussels.
Rue Antoine Dansaert, 6-8
One of the oldest and greatest jazz clubs of Europe, with music ranging from trip-hop to country and, of course, jazz, L’Archiduc is a relaxed venue for music lovers. After all, Miles Davis and many great performers played here since the doors opened in 1937.
Avenue de l’Atomium, 6
Built for the 1958 Brussels Universal Exhibition, this dome building is so comfortable you might want to take a nap with your sushi, foie gras ravioli, or bass before heading out to party.
Cafe de Bruxelles
Cafe de Bruxelles transforms from a quiet bistro to an energetic 1980’s music haven after dark, attracting those who want to dance the night away.