1/ Go to the ‘Grand Place’ with its magnificent City Hall and lavishly decorated guild houses. It’s a cliché – I know – but it’s true. The Grand Place is UNESCO World Heritage. Each edifice is listed monument. And what makes it truly special: each medieval guild house has its own name. The Rose, The Golden Tree, The Swan, The Star, The Samaritan, The Angel,… The City Hall actually consists of a group of buildings around an internal courtyard. The entire facade is decorated with statues. Described in the press as ‘the most magnificent city square in Europe’.
2/ Pay a visit to the ornamental ‘Galeries Royales Saint Hubert’. Nowadays, the glass vaulted shopping arcade receives 6 million visitors per year. In the old days, one had to pay to walk through the ‘Umbrella of Brussels’.
3/ Did you know Brussels has 2 ‘Little Peeing Man? There is of course the real one in the rue de l’Etuve/Stoofstraat but there is also a Street Art version one. Ask for the Comic Book – Urban Route in the tourist office and discover ‘Manneken Peace’, Tintin,…
4/ But wait, that’s not all! The Little Peeing Man also has a sister, Jeanneke Pis ! Jeanneke is a little girl with short pigtails urinating to her heart’s content. The fountain is symbol for loyalty. The legend says that if you throw a coin in the fountain that will ensure a loyal relationship with your loved one.
5/ Take the staircase of the ‘Mont des Arts’/‘Kunstberg’ and go to The Carillon clock. The star shaped clock is decorated with twelve characters, each representing a historical link to Belgium: Charles Quint, Peter Paul Rubens, Philip The Good, a tam tam player from Congo, a soldier from World War I,… On top, there is Jacquemart -a Brussels bourgeois gentleman in high top hat- with his tenor bell. He rings the 24 bells of which 11 are visible.
6/ Music and architecture lovers should go to the Museum of Musical Instruments. The MIM is a striking building combining Neo-Classic and Art Nouveau architecture. The museum houses a collection of more than 7000 instruments.
7/ Go to the charming Marolles District and stroll along the countless antique, bric-a-brac and vintage shops in the rue Haute –one of the oldest streets of Brussels- and the parallel rue Blaes. It is still one of the most lively neighbourhoods of Brussels. Here you will find the typical Brussels atmosphere as well as the real ‘Brussels’ dialect.
Jeanneke Pis, Impasse de la Fidelité/Getrouwheidsgang 10-12 (side street rue des Bouchers) – Museum of Musical Instruments, rue Montagne de la Cour/Hofberg 2 – Marolles District: rue Haute/Hoogstraat and rue Blaesstraat