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A couple's weekend in Brussels: Day 2

On the second day of our couple's break in Brussels: art, shopping, tasty treats and encounters!

A morning bursting with culture

We begin our walk through Brussels armed with our guide and the Brussels Card purchased at the tourist office. This card gives us free entry to numerous museums in the city, free use of Brussels' public transport network and discounts at tourist attractions, restaurants, bars, boutiques and other shops. It gives us some great savings!

We start with an artistic stop at the BOZAR which is at the heart of the magnificent Fine Arts Museum, designed by Victor Horta himself at the start of the 20th century.

We stay with our art theme and head to place Royale to visit the Magritte Museum which we have already heard so much about. We discover close to 200 of his pieces, which make up the richest collection of Belgian surrealist Magritte's works in the world. We stop for a long while in front of the "Empire of Lights", one of our favourite pieces. On the way out, it's impossible to resist in the museum's pretty boutique. We leave with our hands full…


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Once we've left we decide to go hunting for Brussels' heritage, we stop for a moment at Place Royale and marvel at the statue of crusader Godfrey of Bouillon, and then we visit the Royal Palace, who knows, we might catch a glimpse of the King! We walk on towards the Sablon neighbourhood, which is only a 10 minute walk away.


We stop for a little nature break on the place du Petit Sablon, in the charming little park with its 48 bronze statues which represent an ancient art and profession. Next we follow the rue Charles Hanssens where we find the restaurant Orphyse Chaussette. We enjoy a lovely lunch in its litterary cafe and enchanting bistrot atmosphere, before heading off to the place du Grand Sablon towards the rue des Minimes.


The Sablon, its terraces and gourmet boutiques

This pretty square houses numerous reputable antique dealers, jewellers and decorators, but also some of the best chocolatiers in Brussels. The Grand Sablon is the chocolate centre of Brussels! We go to Pierre Marcolini, Godiva, Neuhaus, Patrick Roger and end with the maison Wittamer. What a treat!


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As we walk down rue Lebeau, we are drawn by the temple of books that is the Taschen bookshop. We decide to pop in quickly to have a flick through its wonderful books. Seeing how heavy these beautiful books are, we reign back our buying impulses, mind you, the little book about Audrey Hepburn, who was born in Brussels, won't be too heavy in our bags!


Opposite the Taschen bookshop we spot the boutique of hatter Elvis Pompilio. This calls for an obligatory session of trying on caps and hats of all shapes and sizes. She falls in love with a classic hat that suits her beautifully.


Manneken Pis and an unusual surprise

We continue on foot and make our way to the Manneken Pis and try to guess what outfit he will be wearing. When we get there we take some photos and keep going to the Grand Place. The sqaure deserves its title of "most beautiful square in the world" given to it by Victor Hugo!


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Next we move on to the nearby Royal Saint-Hubert galleries. They're very impressive with their many beautiful boutiques. We do a bit of window shopping and then stroll on to Délirium café, a Brussels institution. Now here's an unusual discovery, just outside the bar is Manneken Pis' friend, Jeanneke, who is also having a wee in her alleyway…


Inside Délirium, where we order a Kriek for her and a gueuze for him.


An evening of music


We return to the Grand-Place for our music-filled evening. First of all we head to the Hard Rock Cafe thats just on the corner of the Grand-Place. We order two burgers and chat about the café's unique decor. Guitars on the wall, a Rock’N Roll atmosphere… it's all bringing back memories of some of our best nights out.


We need to get back to the Grand-Place as we have a meeting with a Greeter. What's a Greeter? A Greeter is a local inhabitant who is passionate about his city and who loves to help people discover it in their own way. Our Greeter is a big fan of jazz like us and is waiting for us in a famous Brussels club called The Music Village. We talk about our music tastes and the band that will be playing that night, but mainly about Brussels, its cultural venues, the art of daily Brussels life, its discoveries, as well as our own... It's a wonderfully rich encounter with a real Brussels resident who gives us their view of their city. It's a great experience!