Brussels’ Old Town may have the wow factor, but it’s worth venturing further afield for a true taste of local life. Laid-back and multicultural Saint-Gilles packs in the best of the city’s Art Nouveau beauties and buzzy hangouts. Eurostar’s Graduate General Manager Marie takes us round one of her favourite ’hoods.
If Victor Horta’s sensuous curves and curlicues were provocative in the architect’s time, they’re now the pride and joy of Brussels. A temple to Art Nouveau, his home-cum-studio celebrates its centenary with new rooms and one-off exhibitions.
You could visit for a Chouffe beer or a croque, but this cat café’s main appeal is a guaranteed feline cuddle. Mind you don’t leave with more than you bargained for: the rescued furballs are all up for adoption.
Heed the siren song of boom-box reggae to find this gathering of Brussels’ finest food trucks. There’s a UN’s worth of flavours, from pulled jackfruit burgers to moreish tacos, and jerk chicken sizzling on the BBQ. Thursdays, noon-9pm.
Move over, cronuts – the brioche doughnut (bronut?) is in town. The classic chocolate number’s comforting, but wild-berry frosting delivers more tang. Get there early, though – the small batches often sell out.
If craft beer’s a cult, Moeder Lambic’s original site in Saint-Gilles is its place of worship. Geek out with staff over hops, refrigeration and, yes, lambic beers – or just sit back and shoot the breeze in this atmospheric spot.
Brush up on your colour of the year in this bright and playful crash-pad, where each room has its own eye-popping scheme. Ask for a large room with a terrace and smugness-inducing views over the ’hood.
Hot desks don’t come more on fleek than those in this newly opened garage-turned-atelier, complete with a granny-chic café/lounge and shared workshop. Look out for gigs, talks and other fun nights run by members.
Drink, dance, and party like a local around Kolenmarkt.
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A guide to Brussels’ best museums, monuments and galleries.
Image credits: © Moeder Lambic; © Moeder Lambic; © Paul Louis; © Alamy; © Visit Brussels / Jean-Paul Remy; © Coco Donuts; © Moeder Lambic; © Hotel Pantone; © Palazzo; © Radiokafka via Shutterstock; © Alamy; © Radiokafka via Shutterstock