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Brussels is more expensive than many other European cities but renowned for its many excellent restaurants and bars, for example: Brussels comprises of 19 municipalities (including the City of Brussels) and is the capital of Belgium, Flanders and the French community of Belgium, the unofficial capital of the EU (European Union), and the largest urban area in Belgium (a population of over 1.8 million). Trains between St Pancras and Brussels run around 20 times a day Monday-Friday, and 24 times a day Saturdays and Sundays.
Eurostar trains between St Pancras International and Brussels have average journey times of 1 hour, 51 minutes; the route passes through Lille. The Belgian rail network makes access to Brussels even more popular and easier for tourists via high speed rail. The best time to book tickets is for early or late summer, so you can dine al fresco and enjoy sightseeing.
The city was originally a fortress town, but since the end of World War II, it has been an important international political centre. The main controversies found in Brussels are the ongoing linguistic tensions between the French and Flemish-speaking peoples and their area language laws.
Brussels is now even more accessible via the Eurostar from such destinations as Lille, Ashford, Ebbsfleet and St Pancras. Day travel cards are available for public transport; most major credit cards are accepted throughout, with money exchange booths, additional information and “beer maps” from the Bureau of Tourism. Prices are more expensive in the Grand’ Place and surrounding areas (a 25cl beer is double the price here, and around 1€20 towards the outskirts of the city) because Brussels is the 21st most expensive city in Europe. There are some excellent restaurants and bars here, and a lot of nightlife because it is a student city, meaning clubs open late (after 11pm) and shut early in the morning (around 6am).
Points of interest
|pic1>||The House of Victor Horta|
Victor Horta was one of Art Nouveau’s most renowned architects, and his house is one of the many mansions and museums dedicated to the art movement. Another site for enthusiasts of Victor Horta is the Horta-designed museum dedicated to comic strips.
The Atomium is both sculpture and architecture, and displays expositions throughout its differenct spheres with the restaurant Chez Adrienne at the top. It was built in 1958 when Brussels hostes the World’s Fair. Visitors can also see Mini-Europe at its foot, which shows the main attractions from across the continent, including Big Ben, the Eiffel Tower and the Berlin Wall. The detailed models are constantly developing and new additions are regularly added; firework displays are also held here in summer.
|pic3>||The Cantillon brewery|
This historic brewery has been producing LAMBIC, GUEUZE, FARO and KRIEK since 1900. A public brewing session is held during the brewery fair, where the Master Brewer, the family owners and their friends let members of the public watch the traditional production methods and taste authentic Gueuze-Lambic ; the brewers are willing to take questions and discuss brewery. Admission is 6€ per person, which includes a complimentary drink, coffee and croissants. There are also guided tours every two hours, and the Barrel Warehouse is available for private functions.
|Le Grand’ Place|
Many of the city’s nightclubs, restaurants and bars are located around the main square, also known as the Grote Markt in Flemish, which also functions as a market place, with different specialities on alternative days, such as the flower market and the bird market. Light shows run from spring right through to the autumn months where the whole area and its Flemish Renaissance buildings with statues and ornaments are illuminated for 15 minutes twice a night to a classical soundtrack. Every year it hosts folk and cultural events which are streamed live online, and every other year on August 15 the centre square is covered with a flower carpet of begonias.
Le Salon de la Gourmandise- for fine cuisine by guest-star chefs and cookbooks in the Bourse de Bruxelles
Le Café des Spores- a specialist restaurant for chanterelles, death trumpet, porcini and many other types of mushroom; there is an impressive wine list are staff will help choose complementary flavours.
L'Ultime Atome- a Saint Boniface-influenced restaurant for brasserie-style French food surrounded by tea rooms and vintage shops in the diverse Matonge district.
Rue Neuve- the main shopping street with mainly international chain stores
Avenue Louise, Boulevard de Waterloo area, Place Stephanie, Place du Grand Sablon and Rue Antoine Dansaert- for designer shops and boutiques
Speciality shops and markets- all over the city
Discotheques- Fuse, the largest, has seen sets from world-famous DJs
Place Saint-Géry- the fashionable area, with the Mappa Mundo, the Halles Saint-Géry and Prado
Gay bars and clubs
Nightclubs- usually near the red light districs. Studio 44- “ the Uptown Club”, attracts a very diverse crowd.
Music bars and cafés- jazz clubs are very popular; Archiduc shows the best of Belgian Jazz in a 1930s-inspired setting, some of it original and hosts 'Jazz After Shopping' on a Saturday afternoon and early evening.
Christmas markets: The Christmas market with public ice rink runs from the end of November to the beginning of January.