As well as being the capital of Europe, Brussels is also world famous for being the European capital of the gay community! Read on and you'll see why!
A gay capital of Europe
With its legendary Belgian Pride - the Belgian Homosexual, Bisexual & Transsexual Festival (BRUXELLES), its monthly “La Démence” parties which are famous across Europe, and its position at the head of the gay movement… Brussels is also the gay capital of Europe! This shows in the complete integration of its lesbian and gay communities with the rest of the population… and even a statue in honour of gay liberation in the city’s gay district!
Day 1: Saturday
Saint-Jacques, gay history and community
© OPT / J.P. Remy © OPT / Jean-Paul Remy © D*TOURS sprl
Our programme starts in the historic St Jacques (St James) district, the gay heart of the city, whose narrow mediaeval streets are perfect for a stroll as part of a guided tour or a do-it-yourself tour using one of the D*TOURS: SYNCHRONIZED AUDIO WALKS (BRUXELLES).
Pop on the headphones, switch on the MP3 player and listen to descriptions and interviews illustrating each part of the route. For a more traditional approach, join one of the guided tours organised by Itinéraires - The Destination Experts - Guided tours and cultural events (IXELLES) !
• Boutiques, terraces and cafés
Let’s begin our walk in the Rue du Marché au Charbon, whose eccentric boutiques, cafés and restaurants attract many gay shoppers! Then an essential pitstop at the terrace of LE PLATTESTEEN (BRUXELLES), which is THE place to see and be seen for the city’s gay men. Further up the street, “Le Belgica” bar has the same reputation!
Our walk is also brightened up by several giant strip cartoon murals along the way ("Comic Strips" Mural Paintings), some of which are in highly unlikely places! They were originally painted by local artists on buildings that had been damaged in the Second World War to cheer them up a bit before they could be repaired.
Manneken Pis (BRUXELLES) within spraying distance!
He’s made of bronze and only 50 cm tall but he’s world-famous. Legend says he peed on the burning fuse of a bomb in the fourteenth century and put it out, preventing it from destroying the city. This is just one of the many myths surrounding the city’s mascot, whose extensive wardrobe of 760 costumes is stored at the Museum of the City of Brussels - House of the King (BRUXELLES).
He must be the world’s smallest urban hero! We’ll stay in the historic city centre for lunch at the “Mam Mam” (“Yum Yum”) restaurant, with its excellent Far-Eastern cuisine and decor!
The latest fashions in the Rue Dansaert
The winning trio for our afternoon programme is fashion, design and the Rue Dansaert (LES ETONNANTS PARCOURS DE LA MODE (BRUXELLES)). Jewellery, ready-to-wear designer clothes and home furnishings: this street is at the cutting edge of all of them! The nearby “H20” restaurant is an excellent venue for dinner with the best of traditional Brussels cuisine in a warm and romantic atmosphere.
Brussels by night
Gay party animals love Brussels at night! To see what’s on and to make your choice, have a look at the 4-star clubbing programme listed in . First stop is “Boy’s Boudoir” a long-established gay haunt, then it’s off to “Fuse”! If you’re lucky, your visit will coincide with the legendary monthly “La Démence”.
Day 2: Sunday
No doubt you had a long night, so to help you recover; your morning programme will start with sweat and relaxation…
• Morning Sauna
Located at the heart of the gay district, “Le Macho” is one of Brussels’ oldest gay saunas. Its saunas and jacuzzis are sure to revive your spirits!
Grand Place farewell tour
Each brick and cobble-stone of the fabulous The Grand-Place in Brussels (BRUXELLES) oozes history. Along one side is the monumental ELTO(15719,V)$% and opposite it is the King’s House where the Museum of the City of Brussels - House of the King (BRUXELLES) is based…
And don’t forget all the other splendid buildings, each built by one of the medieval city guilds, in honour of their trade or craft! Sit down on one of the many terraces for a drink and relax by looking at the buildings and the never-ending flow of people they attract!
The BED & BRUSSELS agency offers “gay-friendly” as a search category among its bed-and-breakfast accommodation. Those located a 5 minute walk from the Gare du Midi are worth seeing for their unique décor. Use the code "Farinelli" to book via info@BnB-Brussels.be