Welcome to Brussels, a lively multicultural city known for its art-nouveau architecture, delicious waffles and European institutions. The Grand-Place, with its historic buildings and numerous museums, makes Brussels a must-see destination for lovers of history, culture and, above all, good beer.
Are you planning a visit to Brussels and looking for insider tips? Look no further, as we've got you covered with some top recommendations straight from a local:
1. Explore la Grand Place
The Grand-Place is one of the most beautiful squares in the world. Try the Delirium Café to taste the best Belgium beer. La Louve (wolf), le Renard (fox), la Brouette (wheelbarrow), l'Arbre d'Or (gold tree), le Moulin à Vent (windmill) : these are the names of the houses in the main square.
Belgium language tip: Nonante-six (96) mètres de haut pour la tour ! Ninety-six (96) meters high for the tower!
2. Discover Les Galleries Royales Saint Hubert
It was in Les Galleries Royales that Paul Verlaine bought a pistol to try to kill Rimbaud. It was at the restaurant "Le Marmiton" that the famous French actor Jean Dujardin celebrated his 40th birthday. Stroll down the aisles and discover jewellery, chocolates, bookshops and even flats.
Belgium language tip: Il drache, allons nous abriter dans les galleries. It's pouring rain, let's take shelter in the galleries.
3. Sit next to the Manneken pis
Size doesn't matter... at least, not for this statue of a young boy urinating, one of Brussels' most popular attractions. Legend has it that this little boy extinguished the fuse that was going to set Brussels on fire by peeing on it. Did you know that Manneken Pis has more costumes than Barbie? Every year, he wears around 130 outfits. The collection boasts over 1,000 suits, making him a real fashion victim!
Belgium language tip: In brusseleir, you can say : Allez, viens manneke ! (Come on, little boy!)
4. Courthouse and its scaffolding
Placed around the courthouse in 1984, the scaffolding, intended for renovation and preventing stones from falling, has still not been removed. The surface area covered by the scaffolding around the courthouse is 10,000 m2. It's likely that the Belgians will dispose of them through auction! Displaying a piece of scaffolding in your own home is a truly classy touch!
Belgium language tip: Un probleme avec votre renon ! Heel leuk le palais de justice est là ! There's an issue with your notice! Good luck, the courthouse is there!
5. Discover the Cathedrale Saint Michel et Gudul
The Cathedral of St. Michael and St. Gudula is one of the most iconic landmarks in the city of Brussels. The church only gained the title of cathedral in 1961. Every year, the royal family gathers for the traditional Te Deum in the cathedral. Belgium is a hereditary constitutional monarchy. Unlike the Commonwealth, the Belgian king serves solely as the head of the army.
Belgium language tip: J'ai vu le roi en chemisette ! I saw the king in a short-sleeved shirt!
6. Explore the Greenhouse of Laeken
26,000 m², that's the glass surface area of the greenhouse. The construction dates back nearly 150 years under the guidance of Leopold. King Baudouin, on the other hand, particularly enjoys the very long alley. He walks along it every week alongside the Prime Minister to discuss various current affairs. Please note that the greenhouse is only open for 3 weeks a year!
Belgium language tip: Tire ton plan pour acheter des tickets pour les serres de Laeken! Figure it out yourself to buy tickets for the Laeken greenhouses!
7. Enjoy a picnic in the Royal park
Covering an area of 11 hectares, Brussels Park is one of the most beautiful gardens in Brussels. It houses rare trees, around sixty sculptures, an octagonal pond, as well as the Royal Theatre and the Waux-Hall. Did you know that beneath the park, there is a bunker designed to provide protection for the royal family in case of incidents?
Belgium language tip: Tu vas avoir des cloches à force de marcher dans le parc ! You're going to get blisters from walking in the park so much!
8. La frite c'est chic!
To make Belgian chips, you should use the "Bintje" variety of potatoes. For frying, you need to use unrefined beef fat, known as "beef tallow." Fry them twice, with an initial pre-cooking and a final fry. To savor the best chipd in Brussels, head to Fritland!
Belgium language tip: Learn how to order a fricadelle - J'aimerais commander une fricadelle, s'il vous plaît. Quelle sauce pour la fricadelle ? You can choose the 'andalouse' sauce.
9. Discover the famous Atomium
The Atomium represents an iron atom and features eight tubes connecting its spheres. Escalators and elevators inside the tubes allow visitors to move from one sphere to another. Similar to the Eiffel Tower, the Atomium was initially intended to be constructed only for 6 months for the World Expo, but it has endured and stands strong.
Belgium language tip: Va faire la file pour l'Atomium ! Go stand in line for the Atomium!
10. Experience the rich cultural heritage of comics
Belgium has the highest density of comic book authors per square kilometer. From Tintin to Spirou, Corto Maltese, Lucky Luke, Yoko Tsuno, Natacha, Astérix, and more, there are now over 60 characters that you can admire on the streets of Brussels. If you want to delve deeper into this world, visit the Comics Art Museum
Belgium language tip: Pendant ton heure de table, lis une BD ! During your lunch break, read a comic book!
Mathilde's tip: Winter delights or Les Plaisirs d'hiver
A superb Christmas market with a festive atmosphere. You can enjoy local specialties, ride carousels, and warm up with beers and peket. It takes place throughout the city, and don't forget to pass by the Grand-Place in the evening to watch the sound and light show.
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