VILLE DE BRUXELLES, BRUSSELS CITY SPECIAL: Spring break in Brussels
TEXT: PAOLA WESTBEEK
From exquisite medieval architecture to iconic culinary delights, there are plenty of reasons to love Brussels. Belgium’s bustling capital is not only the headquarters of the European Union and a major hub for politics and international affairs, but it is also a culturally rich city that impresses at every turn.
Still wondering where to go for a well-deserved spring break this month? Welcoming 10 million visitors per year on average, Brussels is a favourite destination for people from every corner of the globe. Just go for a walk around the lively Grand Place and you’ll see why. Brussels wears its history well and boasts some of the most stunning architecture in Europe.
The city’s main square, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1998, is the ultimate place to really experience its history and grandeur. Though it has served many purposes throughout the centuries – including being a market hub as well as a place for celebrations and even public executions – today it is the city’s main tourist attraction. And rightly so. The beautiful buildings keeping guard over the square are a sight to behold. Among the most noteworthy is the Gothic town hall, which towers at a height of 96 metres and was built between 1401 and 1455. Equally awe-inspiring is the building that has been home to the Brussels City Museum since 1887, the flamboyant Maison du Roi (also known as the Bread House).
Architecture isn’t the only thing to draw crowds, however. The Grand Place is lined with animated terraces and restaurants where you can sample some of the city’s traditional fare, including ‘moules-frites’ (succulent mussels served with chips), ‘waterzooi’ (a thick fish soup with vegetables), ‘carbonade’ (a hearty and aromatic stew of beef cooked in beer) and crisp prawn croquettes. All washed down with the city’s hearty brews, of course.
Strolling through the pretty side streets – with a Belgian waffle in hand – promises even more delicious addresses and cultural encounters. Brussels is home to more than 4,000 restaurants, 1,600 bars, 80 museums and 30 public parks. And did we mention Brussels is also the world’s chocolate capital and a true shopping paradise?
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