What to See
Palais de Justice
Place Poelaert 1, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
If you’re after that iconic exterior shot from Rue de la Régence, you won’t be in luck for the immediate future. This monolithic piece of architecture is unfortunately wearing a cloak of steel scaffolding, so your best bet is to head inside. The slightly hostile-looking barricades and police units can be a little daunting but, as long as you agree to any bag checks, you can wander straight in to these working courts of law with little fuss. As you enter the main atrium, turn left, and you will find the most incredible staircase which provides plenty of photo opportunities. If you’re after views, nearby Place Poelaert provides some of the bet (free) panoramic vistas over the Belgian capital.
1000 Brussels, Belgium
No surprise that Grand Place makes it onto this list. Aside from being incredibly beautiful (albeit filled to the brim with tourists), the central location makes this the perfect place from which to explore the old quarter of the city. Walking tours depart from here daily, but we found it perfectly easy to just wander down the myriad of backstreets admiring the 17thCentury architecture. Head there first thing in the morning, or last thing in the afternoon, to get the perfect light.
Galeries Royales St Hubert
Rue des Bouchers 5, 1000 Bruxelles, Belgium
If it’s window shopping that you are after, the Saint Hubert Royal Gallery is the place in Brussels to do it. Two hundred metres of vaulted glass tower above your head, flooding the area with lots of natural light. It’ll get busy (six million people walk through it every year), but it is certainly worth negotiating the crowds. Amongst other esteemed shops, you will find the first ever Neuhaus Chocolate Store; the spiritual home of some ridiculously tasty praline chocolate.
Where to Eat
La Table Rustique
Avenue Louise 423, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium
Belgium is a melting pot of cultures, but there is one gastronomic habit that rules supreme; the Sunday brunch. Yes, you can head to the various authentic waffle houses and Belgian eateries in the old quarters, but modern Brussels offers up some incredible spots to eat brunch. A personal favourite is La Table Rustique; head upstairs and grab a seat at the shared table at the back of the restaurant if you can. It offers great natural light and views out over the back gardens of Avenue Louise below, but it is on the table that La Table Rustique has a real draw. The five-course brunch set menu is a must; there are four options to suit every taste and dietary requirement, and the pastries here are to die for.
Rue Jourdan 20, 1060 Saint-Gilles, Belgium
Yes, another spot for some great breakfast or lunch (having dinner out is so overrated). Chyl is reminiscent of somewhere you may find in Shoreditch or East London. The stripped-back Scandinavian-style interior houses a café which perfectly fuses Moroccan and European foods. The mixed sharer plates and specials of the day are always worth checking out, but be sure to book ahead on the weekend as it can get very, very busy here. Once you’ve eaten, be sure to check out the very ethical supermarket next door.
Of course, you can’t head to Brussels without sampling their delicious waffles. Having sampled a variety of waffle stands around the capital, there really wasn’t that much difference in terms of the higher-end and lower-end price tags. My recommendation? Try one of the €2 waffles that around dotted around town and opt for some simple syrup to accompany it. You won’t be disappointed…