Continuing our tour around
the Grand Place, we see at the angle of the rue Charles Buls a bronze statue representing
Everard ‘t Serclaes in lying position.
Rub his arm !!
He was executed because he led the
revolt in 1356 against the Count of Flanders. It is a long time tradition to
touch, or rub the arm of the statue and make a wish. You’ll notice how the arm
is worn out….Tradition says that the Brussels people besieged the castle where
the assassins of ‘t Serclaes fled to take revenge for their murdered
companion. As they expected the siege to last for a while they bought tons of
chickens with them. It’s therefore that the nickname for” Brusseleers” is
“Kiekefretters”, Brussels slang for chicken eaters. Grand
Place no.8, “L’ETOILE” (1695) is the smallest house of the square. Under
its arcade notice a beautiful Art Nouveau bas-relief dedicated to Charles Buls
and other architects of the Grand Place. It’s neighbour, no.9, “LE CYGNE”
(1698) was a private house before becoming in 1720 the Butcher’s guild house.
It’s today a high standard
restaurant, very expensive and not justified IMHO. It used to be a meeting place
for Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels who discussed and wrote their “Manifest of
the Communist party” there.
At no.10, “L’ARBRE D’OR “(Golden tree)(1698), guild hose of the brewers,
decorated with eloquent sculptures houses the MUSEE DE LA BIERE (Beer Museum),
Open every day from 10.00 to 17.00 and where a café of the 18th
century is reconstituted with a back room showing the techniques of contemporary
brewing. Interactive spots where you can explore the Belgian beer world and as a
supreme bonus to your visit…a free beer at the exit.
Nos.10 and 11 are respectively the “MAISON LA ROSE” (1702) and “MONT
never been guild house but private homes. We arrive at the southern side of the
Grand Place. From nos.13 to 19 it shows the “MAISONS DES DUCS DE BRABANT
(1698), six corporative houses reunited to form a palace. Italo-Flemish style,
the façade is enhanced by 19 busts of different dukes and duchesses, and 18
carat golden leaves decorated pilasters. Bas-reliefs ornate every door. Try to
find out which corporation they represent. Notice that a “MUSEE DU CHOCOLAT
opened recently at
no.13. Nothing very special for the moment. From nos.20 to 23 only private
homes. But at no.25 “”LA CHALOUPE D’OR” (1697), former tailors guild
house, became a superb tavern. A
bust of Sainte-Barbe, patron of the tailors, still ornate the front, and
Saint-Boniface, on the roof, blesses the tourists. Look at him with attention:
yes…...a very important piece of his clothes is missing. But the best blessing
is if you enter the “Godiva chocolate” shop just next to the tavern. It’s
now a “cavern “of Ali-Baba!:-U
Victor Hugo once lived at no. 26-27 “LE PIGEON”, old painter’s guild
We are now at the MAISON DU ROI nos 29-33, late gothic style from the beginning
of 16th century.
But that, plus an anecdote about the Grand Place, will be for next essay.
“Guide illustré de
Bruxelles “by D.des Marez (Brussels 1979), « Gids » voor
Vlaanderen (Vlaamse Toeristenbond), “Brussel, groei van een hoofdstad, by Jean
Stengers (Antwerp, 1979), Guides du Routard (ed.Hachette 1979)”Vlaanderen’s
roem”, by Guido Peeters (Brussels 1975), “Bruxelles au Moyen Age, by A.
Joris ( Paris 1987)