A day in Brussels • Louise & Sablon
Brussels, capital of Belgium, capital of Europe! I guess you can best characterize Brussels with the word "diversity". From one area to another, you get a totally different feeling. It's perhaps not the most approachable city, since you need to know it to make up for yourself which parts you like and which you don't. But once you do, there's a lot to enjoy! For shopping, sights & food, I head to the Louise and the Sablon areas.
This travel journal starts in the late morning on the Avenue de la Toison d'Or. Some of my favorite brands are located on this avenue, such as & Other Stories and Zara. Both stores are really big so you'll surely find what you're looking for! This Zara is the biggest one in Belgium and right next to it you'll find Marks & Spencer where you can shop some delicious groceries, among other things.
After this first round of shopping, head to God save the Cream. Here you'll enjoy some delicious, homemade dishes that will do you good. On Saturday, they propose a brunch for €25,00 which you'll have trouble finishing, but you'll probably do it anyway because the food is so tasty. Also, the interior is lovely and there's a wide assortment of teas and desserts.
Continue exploring the Louise area by heading to the Place Stéphanie where you'll find the Brussels' Urban Outfitters, as well as the exceptional cosmetics boutique Senteurs d'Ailleurs. Turn right on the Avenue Louise and walk straight ahead until you reach the Place Poelaert. This square offers a famous panoramic view of the city, from which you can even see the Basilique Nationale du Sacré-Coeur de Koekelberg.
Take the free elevator down to arrive in Brussels' Marolles area. The Rue Haute concentrates many antiquarians and vintage boutiques. Some shops I enjoy going to are Concepto (a sort of cabinet of curiosities), New de Wolf (a big shop with all sorts of decoration items), Belge une fois (a 100% Belgian concept store) and L'Atelier en Ville (a concept store with a lovely terrace in the back).
At the end of the Rue Haute, go right and you'll arrive at the Place du Grand Sablon. On this beautiful square, you'll find famous Belgian chocolatiers, but also La Durée, Louboutin and other luxury boutiques. Make sure to stop by at Taschen to buy some new coffee table books.
Walk towards the Église Notre-Dame du Sablon and behind it you'll discover the Square du Petit Sablon. This lovely park is characterized by the 48 Gothic statues surrounding it, representing the ancient corporations.
Take the Rue de la Régence up to the Place des Palais and then turn right to enter the Rue de Namur. In the middle of this street you'll find the Jat' Café where you can enjoy cupcakes, teas and more. The Scandinavian interior gives a cosy feeling to the place. But be aware that it's very popular. Moving farther up on the Rue de Namur you'll end up at the Porte de Namur where the day started.
How to get there:
If you come to Brussels by train, Bruxelles-Central is the best option for this day trip. If you come by car, be aware that you can park in the street for maximum 3 hours and that it will cost you €7,00. You can park at the underground Parking Deux Portes for unlimited time but it's expensive.