The Brussels park stretches between the Palais de la
Nation and the Palais Royal. Residence of Prince Philippe, heir to the throne, the
Palais Royal is where official receptions are held for dignitaries.
Place Royale is surrounded by beautiful classical-style buildings. On
this site, Belgium's Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts house both the Musée d'Art Ancien and
the Musée d'Art Moderne.
Built in 1956-1958, the
Mont des Arts is located on the raised section between Place Royale and Place de
l'Albertine. A group of buildings occupying an entire block, it comprises the Palais des
Congrès and the Bibliothèque Royale Albert I, the
, which includes more than three million
The symbol of Brussels, the famous
Grand-Place features exceptional Gothic structures. Dating back to the 15th century, the
town hall has several sumptuous rooms and a facade that is decorated with some of the
most stunning works of Gothic flamboyance.
statuette measuring a little less than 60 cm (24 in), the very famous
is another great symbol of the city.
Also known as "Petit Julien," he has been relieving himself at the corner of Rue de
l'Étuve and Rue du Chêne since 1619.
Heading up Rue
Neuve, the most commercial pedestrian street in the city, you will reach Place des
Martyrs. From there, narrow Rue du Persil and Rue des Marais will lead you to the Musée
de la Bande Dessinée (a museum dedicated to comic strips), at 20 Rue des Sables. Open
since 1989, this establishment honours the greatest comic artists of the world, many of
whom are from Belgium.
Southeast of Brussels is the
beautiful Forest of Soignes, a 4,300-ha (10,625-acre) public natural site. It
constitutes the last remains of the vast forest that lay to the west of the Ardennes.
The Groenendaal hamlet, with its 14th-century Augustine monastery, occupies a valley
nestled in the heart of the forest.
Since the 13th century, the
Grand-Place has been the commercial heart of the lower city, as you will notice when you
read the street names: Rue Chair-et-Pain (Meat and Bread Street), Rue du Poivre (Pepper
Street), Rue des Harengs (Herring Street), Rue des Bouchers (Butchers Street), Rue au
Beurre (Butter Street), etc. From Rue des Bouchers, a pedestrian street filled with
restaurants aimed at tourists, the Scuddeveld cul-de-sac leads to the Théâtre de Toone,
the last puppet theatre in Brussels.
North of the
Grand-Place stands the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, which welcomes the biggest names in
lyrical arts and ballet. In 1830, a riot ensued following the premiere of the opera La
Muette de Portici, which retells the story of Naples's uprising against the Spanish in
Where on earth
Brussels is located approximately 300 km (186 mi)
northwest of Paris. Capital of Belgium, it is practically in the heart of the country
and its population mainly speaks French. It is also home to NATO Headquarters. In Dutch,
Brussels is pronounced Brussel.