Belgium Europe

Brussels: The city of Victor Horta, La-Grand Place, & chocolate

April 11, 2017

We used Brussels as our jumping off point for other day trips while in Belgium this spring break and spent a totally of an evening and a very full day in Brussels itself. My favorite part was actually the eclectic architecture, every street was different from the last and the buildings were so unique but it all worked together well. Of course we didn’t “see it all” but I was satisfied with our progress.

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La Grand-Place

This town square is a UNESCO Site and the location of the famous biennial flowered carpet. The most striking thing about it was the style and variety of the square-facing buildings. This felt like a cohesion of schizophrenic designs and I especially loved the gold decor on some of the exteriors. According to UNESCO, “it stands as an exceptional and highly successful example of an eclectic blending of architectural and artistic styles of Western culture, which illustrates the vitality of this important political and commercial centre.”

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Chocolate and Cocoa Museum

This museum is right off La Grand-Place and worth it if you like chocolate. It’s small but has a nice chocolate making demonstration with free samples!!! 🙂 Upstairs is a history of chocolate making.

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10:00am-4:30pm
Cost: 6€ per person
Address: Rue de la Tête d’or 9

Read more: Travel Style: Belgium & Amsterdam

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Manekin Pis

This little statue is known as a symbol of Brussels but I thought it was exceedingly stupid and it wasn’t so close I would have bypassed it completely. There are two stories behind the statue of a kid peeing into a fountain, one true and the other fantasy (let’s see if you can figure it out):

  1. This is the historic site where boys could sell their urine to tanners (people who worked with leather)
  2. A heroic little kid defused a bomb by peeing on it

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Victor Horta Museum & Houses around Brussels

Various houses designed by the famous Art Nouveau architect and designer Victor Horta are part of a city-wide UNESCO Site. We walked quiet far to find the houses (William was not impressed) and ended up around 4pm at his house-museum. The price was steep in my opinion but I really wanted to see inside, no photos allowed inside unfortunately. Thankfully Will remembered to bring his school ID so he got in for cheap.

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 2:00pm-5:30pm (you’ll probably wait outside they front door for a bit because they only allow a group in at a time)
Cost: 10€
Address: 25 Rue Américaine (FYI this place was nowhere to be found on any tourist map and we walked for days trying to find it. Plan accordingly ahead of time)

Atomium

Although we didn’t visit because it was a good 25-minutes via tram from the city and Will was too stubborn to buy tickets (and we actually had a decent view from our apartment), this is certainly a symbol of Brussels. The Atomium was the main pavilion and icon of the World Fair of Brussels in 1958. It expresses the idea of peace among all the nations, faith in progress and a vision of the future of a modern and technological world.

JMF

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