Metro is a free Belgian newspaper that can be found in every train station. Being a train traveller myself, I came across an interesting article. Every week, Metro explores a different region in Brussels. Last week, they explored the area around the Grand-Place, which I more or less did last weekend. (Read about it here) This week, less touristic, a different side of Brussels.
Starting point was Brussels-South train station. This station reminds me a bit of an airport. Lots of international trains depart and arrive here. On Sundays there is a nice market next to it. From here the article directed me to the Stalingradlaan.
At first I didn’t really get it when the author said that yo feel like walking around in a southern city. Like in Brussels, really? But walking my way down the street I had the exact feeling! This is a very multicultural neighbourhood. It’s full of bars, shops, bakeries from countries like Turkey, Italy etc. People sit outside drinking their coffee, or set up their fruit and veggies for you to buy. What a lovely atmosphere!
At number 62 of the Stalinggradlaan you can see the house of Pierre Victor Jamaer. This house was built in 1862 in a neorenaissance style. You definitely won’t miss the house, it’s very pretty, and just across the Zuidpaleis (Southpalace). The article writes that the house at number 62 is a nice example of architecture during the Golden Age in Brussels. If you’re interested you can even stay there as a guest.
If you turn around you see the Zuidpaleis.
This was built between 1875 and 1880. It was intended to become a commercial center, but at the moment there are mostly sports facilities.
If you follow the road you end up at the Rouppeplein (Rouppe square). Here was once the first train station of the South of Brussels. Now you can find very nice restaurants like Comme chez soi and Houtsiplou. The article also mentions that in this area lots of second-hand stores can be found.
Last stop in the South quarter of Brussels is the Royal Academy for Fine Arts. The author advised to get a look inside, unfortunately it was closed, so maybe next time! I really like the South Quarter, I’ve never been here before. It shows yet another side of Brussels, and since it is less touristic (waaaay less), I find that this is more the real Brussels.
The walk continues towards the Marollen, which is a more famous quarter in Brussels (at least it is with Belgians). In this quarter used to be lots of monasteries, which explains the names of the streets, these are often named after Saints etc. Here you can find the Onze-Lieve-Vrouw-ter-Kappellekerk ( Church of Our Lady of the Chapel). I remembered this church as an example in one of my art history classes. In front you can still see the roman architecture. The rest of the church, which is the bigger part, is in a gothic style. A very simple, yet beautiful church! Also Pieter Breughel the Old is buried here. He is a Belgian painter (+/- 1525-1569).
The Blaesstraat and Hoogstraat (straat= Dutch for street btw), take me into the real Marollen quarter. Here you find lots of antique stores. To be honest this isn’t really my thing. Moving on I passed along the Catteau-Horta toddler school. In case you haven’t heard from Horta yet, he is a Belgian architect, who works in the style of art nouveau. He designed this toddler school in that style, also the Bozar was designed by him. I really like his work, because it’s simple and yet it’s a bit more.. don’t really know how to explain.
Next in line were De Berg van Barmhartigheid, The Archives and Atelier des Tanneurs. In Atelier des Tanneurs you can find the cheapest bio-market in Brussels. I would love to come shopping here if I lived in the neighbourhood. On the sidewalk I noticed something I’ve seen before, in Berlin. In front of a house were the names of Jews who got deported to concentration camps. Also in Belgium lots of people were sent to the east, to one of the camps the nazis had set up.
At this point I was starving so I moved on towards the Vossenplein. Very famous for its flea-market, but I really don’t like those so I just went straight on towards Resto Bières. This was a place a friend advised me. You can find tons of beers here, of course lots of good Belgian ones, and some typical Belgian food. Very cosy, but the beer was a bit expensive in comparison to other bars and restaurants in Belgium. Also the dishes are mostly made with beer.
My walk ended here, so I moved on towards the Palace of Justice. From the Marollen you can take the elevator to it. From here you have a nice view over Brussels and you’re close to the Central Station to make your way home, or explore some more! ( Like here and here)
Credits for this walk and the historical explanations go to the newspaper Metro, available in Dutch and French. Check out their website.
I had a very nice day, seeing different side of Brussels. It’s multicultural and you’ll find some street art here and there.
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