A centre for international politics, Brussels is home to both NATO and the European Union (EU). These international institutions have brought with them post modern architecture and a thriving social scene which slots in surprisingly well with its Art Nouveau and Medieval constructions.
Officially bilingual, the city is split between the French and Flemish (Dutch) languages, evident by the street signs and choice in schools.
With so many different international visitors you could easily spend your days (and nights) indulging in the cities thriving food culture but there is so much more to Brussels. Take your time exploring its rich art history and architecture styles; acquaint yourself with all its quirks and you’re sure to fall in love.
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Due to the high concentration of international political folk, Brussels boasts a great selection of restaurants, cafes and bars serving some of the best cuisine in Europe. Comme Chez Soi which loosely translates to ‘as at home’ is the perfect example of Belgium gastronomy at it’s best. With a main dining room, private function rooms and tables by the kitchen it easily manages to maintain it homey charm and the 70, 000 plus cellar all but guarantees the perfect wine match to your meal. If you’re hoping to book a table on a Friday or Saturday night make sure to get in touch at least two months in advance. Located at 9 Place Rouppe.
The dramatic dining space featured at Belga Queen, hints at some serious old world glamour. Sky high marble columns lead up to a beautiful stained-glass ceiling and a downstairs vault houses plenty of Havana cigars and classic cocktails. Back upstairs a sophisticated white marble bar serves a selection of more than 500 beers. The menu focuses on hearty meat and fish dishes like roasted royal cod, loin of lamb and pan-fried veal chops - the oyster bar firmly cementing the restaurant as one of Brussels best seafood restaurants. Located at 32 Rue Fosse aux Loups.
For a sweet treat head to Brussels’ most famous patisserie Wittamer. Centrally located at the Grand Place, its deep pink walls, polished floors and sparkling chandelier continues to attract the crowds. As does its creamy Pralines, delicate macaroons and Belgium chocolates – resistance is futile.
If you’re after a designer fix, look no further than Avenue Louise. All of Europe’s latest and greatest can be found housed in the specialty boutiques in this area – Gucci, Chanel and Yves Saint Lauren are as home here as they are in Italy or France.
Spend a weekend morning walking through the antiques market held in Sablon Square or visit the Vieux Marche. This popular flea market has been in operation since the 17th century and is a great place to search for that special something to take home.
Likewise Senses Art Nouveau Shop has a great range of gifts and souvenirs as well as silk scarves, jewellery and perfumes and convincing Art Nouveau reproductions. Located at 31 rue Lebeau.