The spire of the Hotel de Ville – you an see this over most of Brussels. A useful navigation aid. Dates back to the 13th Century, and the needle like spire is over 100 metres high and topped by the Archangel St Michael. 

 

The geographical and spiritual heart of Brussels is Grand Place. With its ornate baroque and gothis guild houses, the area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one ofthe most beautiful squares in Europe. Built as a marchant’s market in the 13th Century, it serves as the City Centre and a great place to enjoy Belgian hospitality at one ofthe many cafes and restaurants.

Warning! Prices are high, and nothing higher than bottled water! A new trick from a waiter – “Belgian law prevents us serving a carafe of tap water – you must buy the bottled water.” A few beers, carafes of wine and bottled water will set you back €50, no problem.

A temple to beer. The Guild of Brewers have their office in the Grand Place. Beer is BIG business in Brussels!

Another view of the Hotel de Ville

 

 

In the warmer months, there is a flower market in the Grand Place. Off the square is something that everyone should see once in  lifetime, but probably try and not to sample the wares – Rue de Bouchers. This is narrow street crammed with restaurants, massive ice displays of fish, a huge variety of restaurants at various price points but each one has one or two touts outside trying to drag you in. During the dy, in particular, it is gloriously seedy and trashy. Tiny lanes bleed off from the main street revealing bars and night clubs.

As they say, once bitten, twice shy.

 

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