Brussels Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Belgium > Brussels > History

Brussels is quite a unique city. A world city divided into 19 districts and two languages Brussels is really unlike anywhere else. The hub of Brussels is the Grand Place, which can be reached by tram or bus. This wonderful city square was once the place to find all the food markets of Brussels. The surrounding streets, named after the foods for which they were famous, Rue Marche aux Herbes for instance, are still home to many of the city's lovely traditional style restaurants and cafés. The markets are no longer held, in what writer Victor Hugo once described as 'the most beautiful square of Europe,' however there are a hundred and one reasons to visit the Grand Place, all of them great.

The city has a number of interesting areas and all are within easy reach using public transport or a brisk walk. One such district is that of Anderlecht, which is reached by Metro (take the Saint-Guidon stop). Here you'll find a number of interesting places to visit all within a very short distance from eachother such as the Erasmus House, Church of Saint Peter and Saint Guidon and an old Béguinage.

In the district of Ixelles you'll find the more quiet and tranquil part of busy Brussels. Here you'll find the beautiful Bois de la Cambre (forest), parks, ponds, and the Abbey de la Cambre, which was founded in 1196 by the Sisters of the Cistercian Order. The building however was rebuilt during the 17th and 18th century after suffering extensive damage during the Wars of Religion. The only remaining section of the original is the church itself, which dates back to the 14th century.

In the area between De Broukère and Place Rogier you'll find around a dozen places of interest including Brussels' Red Light District, which is situated on Rue de Matheus. In this area you'll also find City 2 shopping centre, the largest of Brussels, Bourse which is the stock exchange of Brussels, the Fish Market, Church de Notre Dame de Finistère and Church of Sainte-Catherine and more.

De Broukère is the commercial and entertainment centre of Brussels. It is also here that you'll find an abundance of seafood restaurants largely due to there close proximity to the excellent fish market which, if you like fish, is definitely worth a visit. The fish is brought in fresh daily and quickly snapped up by the best of Brussels' restaurants.

The city centre of Brussels is basically pentagonal, and all roads lead to the centre of tourism the Grand Place. An aerial view of Brussels would show a surprising amount of greenery and water, and not too far from the heart of the city. The south-eastern part of the city is called the upper city. Located here are the Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Place Royale, Palais de Justice Parliament and Parc de Bruxelles, which is the primary park in this district.

In the lower city you'll find the Grand Place and of course the famous Manneken-Pis, the symbol of Brussels - a small, sometimes clad, statue of a peeing boy. Also located here are such sites as the Cathedral of St. Michel, Place du Sablon and Mont des Arts and the main shopping complexes of the city.

Avenue Louise is the Rodeo Drive or Champs Elysées of Brussels. This is the most prestigious shopping street and a real favourite with both tourists and residents alike. If you continue walking along the Avenue Louise you'll come to the Bois de la Cambre, the largest park of Brussels; Rue de Loi leads you then to the EEC Building and the Cinquantenaire, a 90 acre park just outside of the bounds of the city centre.