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Grand Place intro

Grand place-Town hall and

Grand Place Guildhouses, sheer beauty

From Grand Place to Manneken Pis

Ilot sacré Galerie St.Hubert
Cathédrale Ste Gudule

Opera-Hotel Metropole-Comic strip museum

Belgian Comic Strip history, pioneer of this art.

Sablon antique market, petit Sablon, palais de Justice

Marolles-genuine, flea market-Porte Louise 

Brussels, European capital of Art Nouveau

Brussels main visit page

Main Belgium page

Main Brussels page


Belgian beer

Brussels in a nutshell

Belgian fries and pralines

Brussels, the city I love! 

Brussels, European capital of Art Nouveau

Restaurants (updated Feb 2004)


Ilot Sacré-Galeries St.Hubert-Cathédrale Sainte-Gudule

North and West of the Grand place, it's the area know as L'ILOT SACRE. Take the rue Marché aux Herbes upward and make a left turn in the Petite rue des Bouchers. Hundreds of standardized restaurants, of all possible nationalities, lined newt to each other, with terraces, winter (heated) and summer, Italian, Chinese, Turkish, Moroccan, Belgian, French, name it you have it. The particularity of these places is that they are all of very questionable quality, and I use a euphemism here! And tourists are trapped, like always. It's their own fault! They should have downloaded and printed Jack's recommendations ! :-):-)
But, but, but, it is a very surprising site and ambience. You could imagine you are in some part of a south of France little village street. Certainly worth to stroll along.
Towering above these all is the "Armes de Bruxelles" described in my restaurant recommendations section. 
For those loving ancient marionette theatres, take the very narrow alley "Schuddeveld" to the "Theatre Royal Toone". Museum and marionette theatre of a very old popular tradition, the shows are very often in "brusseleir", the Brussels slang, a mixture of Dutch and French with its special humour. But the visual spectacle is of such a quality that you don't have to know the language. You can assist a spectacle or just visit the museum and have a good Belgian beer among old posters.
Make a right in the rue des Bouchers and after a small detour in the Impasse de la Fidelité, where you can see "Jeanneken Pis", the female alter ego of Manneken Pis. Continue along the few remaining restaurants and take the wonderful GALERIES SAINT-HUBERT, Europe's first covered shopping mall. Designed by architect Cluysenaer in 1846, they were considered as very daring. Lined with elegant shops and cafes, between the marble pilasters, series of busts perched on cornices, it is a magnificent ensemble. In fact it are three galleys sharing this architectural beauty, the GALERIE DU ROI, GALERIE DE LA REINE, GALERIE DES PRINCES. More luxury shops, two libraries, cafés, restaurants. The upper floors are rented as apartments. And for the sweet tooth, its here that the famous chocolatier Neuhaus invented the praline. 
At the end of the rue des Bouchers, make a left in the rue de la Montagne, cross the boulevard de l'Imperatrice and we are in front of one of the most beautiful cathedrals in Belgium: CATHEDRALE DES SAINT MICHEL ET GUDULE. 
Beautiful huge façade of a Brabant Gothic cathedral, dating 13th to 15th century, built to replace a roman church of 1047 where the count Lambert II of Leuven had transferred the holy relics of Sainte Gudule. Recently refurbished, its white stone is splendour today. Two 69 meters high towers remain unfinished. It's here that in December 1999 the Belgian heir, prince Philip, married the baeutiful Mathilde, future queen of Belgium.You can have a look at her picture on the Belgian main page on my site. 
Inside is adorned by life-sized figures of the apostles and the spacious central nave is typically Belgian baroque. Superb stained glass windows that survived all the wars, particularly the window of the "Last judgment", dating 1528. The light comes mainly from these windows which light impedes into the transept and choir. Others, from Bernhaert van Orley are particularly impressive. 
The tomb of duke Jean de Brabant and other dignitaries, Bourgogne and Habsburg are to see in the choir.
Next we return into downtown to visit the Bourse, the Theatre Royal de la Monnaie, rue Neuve and its area.


"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), "Vlaanderen's roem", by Guido Peeters (Brussels 1975), "Bruxelles au Moyen Age", by A. Joris ( Paris 1987),"Brussels : Fin De Siecle", by Philippe Roberts-Jones(Evergreen Series),"Brussels : The Art of Living", by Piet Swimberghe(1998)