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Brussels

Country
Belgium
State
Brussels Region
City
Brussels
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

Brussels is full of magnificent architecture and superb museums, not to mention some great theme parks. The city is roughly divided into the Lower Town and Upper Town. The Lower Town was historically more of a working class region, filled with lively squares and mazes of narrow cobblestone lanes, while the Upper Town was the home of the wealthy and aristocratic communities. To this day, there is a stark contrast in atmospheres between the two main city districts.



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How to Reach

By Air

Brussels International Airport is extremely busy and has a very convenient international flight schedule to main cities worldwide. The airport is modern and spacious, with a full range of facilities and amenities. All major airlines are served by the airport, which has regular and reliable ground transportation links to the city centre.

By Rail

There are plenty of excellent rail options to Brussels. The city is on the Thalys high-speed train network, which links the Belgian capital with Paris, Amsterdam and Cologne. Visitors from the UK can take the Eurostar directly to Brussels via the Channel Tunnel.

By Bus

Long-distance buses arrive from across Europe at the Bruxelles-Nord bus terminal. Most long-distance routes are operated by Eurolines including UK services, which depart from London’s Victoria Coach Station three times a day and use the Channel Tunnel.

Key places to visit
Grand Place, Town Hall, Manneken Pis, Place Ste Catherine, Quartier de lIlot Sacre


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Places to Visit

Grand Place

A magical old city square, the Grand Place is a treasure trove of magnificent buildings and entertaining performing arts. Lined by ancient guild houses, this ancient square is considered one of Europe’s finest in terms of decorative façades and a variety of architectural styles. Most of the buildings date from the 17th century, when the square was rebuilt after being devastated by war. Highlights include Le Roy d’Espagne, Le Sac, Le Cornet, Le Renard and Le Cygne, all of which were famous guild houses in their time.

Town Hall

The Place is dominated by the Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall), one of the biggest and finest buildings of its kind in Belgium. It was begun in 1402 with the intention of upstaging the Stadhuis in the rival city of Bruges. At first the plan was to build only what is now the left wing (1402-10); but in 1444 the right wing was also completed, followed in 1455 by Jan van Ruysbroek's 96m/315ft high belfry surmounted by the figure of St Michael. Although the French bombardment of 1695 left only the walls and tower standing, rebuilding started almost at once. Both wings are embellished with very fine Gothic sculptures beneath which, under the arcades on the right, are the signs of inns previously demolished to make way for the town hall.

Manneken Pis

Along the Rue de l'Etuve from the Musée de Costume is by far the best-known landmark in Brussels, the Manneken Pis, usually besieged by a throng of tourists. Although he can be traced back to at least 1388, nothing much is known about the origin of the figure of a little boy urinating, popularly referred to as "the oldest citizen of Brussels". The Manneken is however surrounded by various legends. According to one the fountain is a memorial to a courageous infant who averted a conflagration, according to another it commemorates the son of a count who succumbed to a pressing urge while taking part in a procession. The present statue was made in 1619 by Jérôme Duquesnoy the Elder and has been stolen on several occasions though always
recovered. During the War of Austrian Succession (1741-48) it was removed and smashed. Found in pieces it was restored and replaced. Even in recent times attempts have been made to steal it. During major Brussels festivals 70liters/15gal of water spurts from the fountain, per hour. The Manneken has been presented with more than 450 costumes, which he wears on certain appointed days.

Place Ste Catherine

Much more down to earth than the glittering Grand Place, Place Ste Catherine is none-the-less very popular for its more authentic atmosphere and less crowded square and lanes. This district still has traditional markets (most famously, fishmongers) and is perfect for people-watching from one of the many quaint street cafés. There is a string of ponds, which once formed an unbroken canal and which today are lined with some great seafood restaurants that make fantastic evening dining destinations.

Quartier de lIlot Sacre

This wonderfully eclectic district features a network of tiny lanes filled with all manner of shops, cafés, pubs, restaurants and street entertainment. The action is mostly outdoors, with most establishments setting up tables on the sidewalks and even on the streets themselves. The mood is always very festive and good natured although, as with many popular, crowded places attract thieves, which can put a sour note on proceedings, so take care of your belongings.

Right Time to Visit

Information not available

Temperature

January - February -> 0(°C) - Winter
July - August -> 23(°C) - Summer


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