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.

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Where to eat, drink and sleep in Saint-Gilles

  • Horta Museum

    Rue Américaine 25, 1060

    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.

  • Le New Chattouille

    Rue Tasson-Snel 11, 1060

    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.

  • Marché gourmand

    Place Marie Janson, 1060

    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.

  • Coco Doughnuts

    Chaussée de Charleroi 168, 1060

    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.

  • Moeder Lambic

    Rue de Savoie 68, 1060

    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.

  • Hotel Pantone

    Place Loix 1, 1060

    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.

  • Palazzo

    Rue Théodore Verhaegen 190, 1060

    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.

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Image credits: © Moeder Lambic; © Moeder Lambic; © Paul Louis; © Alamy; © Visit Brussels / Jean-Paul Remy; © Coco Donuts; © Moeder Lambic; © Hotel Pantone; © Palazzo; © Sophia Van Den Hoek; © les filles; © nanna dis