Tourist Guide

Brussels

There is much more to Brussels than just being the European capital and the site of NATO headquarters: Brussels is a relaxed, multilingual and cosmopolitan city with a provincial feel. With its higgledy-piggledy squares, its fountains, mediaeval streets and parks and green spaces galore, such as the Bois de la Cambre/Ter Kamerenbos park or the vast Sonian Forest (Forêt de Soignes/Zoniënwoud), Brussels is a treat just waiting to be discovered.

The City Centre - La Grand-Place/Grote Markt ­ Mont des Arts/Kunstberg and Place Royale/Koningsplein

 La Grand-Place/Grote Markt ­-the Brussels Stock Exchange (Bourse/Beurs) ­ 1200 m
Brussels City Centre offers a spectacular kaleidoscope of architecture, from the 16th century right up to contemporary buildings.You will find delightful little shops around every corner, where you can leaf through vinyl records or browse round second-hand bookshops, pop in to comics shops, take in performing arts, or perhaps buy a musical instrument.And of course there are always the famous Belgian chocolates and beers to sample...

It is a short walk from here to find "Manneken Pis", the statue of a cheery little chap (sometimes clothed by his own official dresser) peeing into a fountain, who has become an icon of Brussels. The statue is an unmissable symbol of Belgian-style surrealism, made famous by artists such as René Magritte, Knopf and Paul Delvaux.

The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula, the jewel in the crown of Brussels’s Gothic architecture, looks down from on top of the Treurenberg hill.

You can find another fine example of Art­Nouveau architecture at the Waucquez Textile Store (Magasins Waucquez/Warenhuis Waucquez), designed by world-famous architect Victor Horta, which now houses the Belgian Comic Strip Centre, in the Rue des Sables/Zandstraat.

If you are a fan of world-famous singer-songwriter Jacques Brel, then you shouldn’t miss the "Fondation Jacques Brel’ archive centre and museum in the square Place de la vieille Halle aux Blés/Oud Korenhuis.

Shopping fans will find their mecca in the Rue Neuve/Nieuwstraat and the "City 2" shopping centre or in the Rue des Fripiers/Kleerkopersstraat, or they can always try the delightful little boutiques in the glazed shopping arcade at Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert/Koninklijke Sint-Hubertusgalerijen.

 Mont des Arts/Kunstberg and Place Royale/Koningsplein ­ 1800 m
The Royal Museums of Fine Arts (Musées Royaux des Beaux­Arts/Koninklijke Musea voor Schone Kunsten) in Rue de la Régence/Regentschapsstraat house important works by Van Dyck, Hieronymus Bosch, Rubens and Brueghel.

The next-door Magritte Museum (Musée Magritte/Magritte Museum) on Place Royale/Koningsplein and the Musical Instruments Museum (Musée des Instruments de

Dansaert - Saint Géry - Ste Cathérine

Dansaert 1,000 m

This trendy district, located between Rue Antoine Dansaert/Antoine Dansaertstraat, Rue Leon Lepage/Léon Lepagestraat and Rue des Chartreux/Karthuizersstraat, is the home of Belgian fashion.

It is full of vintage boutiques, designer furniture stores and modern art galleries.

Place Saint­Géry/Sint-Goriksplein ­ 800 m

This district starts at Rue Pletinckx/Pletinckxstraat and centres around the covered market at Halles Saint Géry/Sint-Gorikshallen.

Whenever the sun comes out the pavements are awash with people sitting outside. Meanwhile the district turns into a hotspot for nightlife in the evenings, with people of all ages descending on its restaurants and trendy bars.

Sainte Cathérine/Sint Katelijne ­ 1200 m

Rue Sainte-Cathérine/Sint-Katelijnestraat ­ Place Sainte Cathérine/ Sint-Katelijneplein ­ Quai aux Briques/Baksteenkaai ­ Quai au Bois à Brûler/Brandhoutkaai ­ Rue de Flandre/Vlaamsesteenweg

A wide range of restaurants to suit every budget, often with a lovely terrace where you can sit out.

Follow your taste buds! Sometimes you may find that you will have to grab a bite to eat propped up on a counter, but even then those Belgian seafood specialities, washed down with a delicious glass of Cava or chilled white wine, will still taste fantastic.

Les Marolles/Marollen and Le Sablon/Zavel

 
The Place du Jeu de Balle/Vossenplein with its flea market, particularly lively in the mornings, is located in the heart of the Marolles/Marollen district, between the Rue Haute/Hoogstraat and Rue Blaes/Blaesstraat, leading into the Le Sablon/Zavel district.
Bargain-hunters gather here to show off their finds, in this eclectic mix of the bric-a-brac and beautiful antiques, the designer and the rustic, bistros and pastry shops, biscuit-makers and world-famous chocolate-shops such as Pierre Marcolini, Wittamer, Godiva, Dandoy or Neuhaus...
At the top of Place du Sablon/Zavel Plein you will find a Late Gothic gem: the church Notre­Dame­du­Sablon/Onze-Lieve-Vrouw ten Zavel.
Or you can always go and have a look at the hats on display in the windows of the highly fashionable milliner Elvis Pompilo, at 67 Rue Lebeau/Lebeaustraat.

Other points of interest close to the hotel

The WIELS contemporary arts centre

­The Cantillon brewery, a living museum where you can see how spontaneously fermenting "gueuze" beer is produced, Rue Gheude/Gheudestraat

­The agro-food markets and listed buildings at the "Abattoirs and Markets of Anderlecht" (Abattoirs et Marchés d’ Anderlecht/De slachthuizen en Markten van Anderlecht)

­The Cureghem Cellars (Caves de Cureghem/Kelders van Cureghem): 10,000 m2 of vaulted cellars converted into a site for exhibitions and events, Rue Ropsy Chaudron/Ropsy-Chaudronstraat

­The Sewer Museum (Musée des Égouts/Riolenmuseum), Porte d’Anderlecht/Anderlechtsepoort

Hotel Van Belle | Chaussée de Mons 39, 1070 Brussels | Tel: +32.2 521 35 16 | Fax: +32.2 527 00 02 |