Brussels | What to do on a weekend

Brussels | What to do on a weekend

Brussels, our first trip to a European capital since returning from our round-the-world trip. A look back at our experience over the past few days.


We discovered this city in a difficult context, as the capital had been hit by two terrorist attacks just 10 days earlier. (March 22, 2016 at Zaventel airport and Malbeek metro station). But isn’t now the right time to talk about this beautiful city, which is currently suffering from a 50% drop in visitor numbers, and simply give it a boost?



The city is very spread out and we took the time to explore mainly the city center. No time for a photo in front of the Atomium unfortunately, an impressive monument built for the 1958 World’s Fair, quite far from the center. (about 30 minutes from the center, 6 euros entrance fee). It’s said that the 360-degree view of the city of Brussels is breathtaking!

➡️ Book and check availability for the Atomium by clicking here


Bruxelles is the most congested city in Europe, but this weekend Brussels seemed empty and very quiet. After talking to some locals, I’ve found that the people of Brussels have taken the attacks very hard and are not recovering as easily as Parisians…many have deserted the city and you can feel it in some places! Neighborhoods so lively in normal times were deserted at rush hour! The Place de la Bourse (behind the main square) is moving, with its square of candles, flowers, drawings and words recalling the terrible attacks. It’s important to pass by this ephemeral memorial to realize that there’s always hope for a better world!


We didn’t really know what to expect of Brussels, except that we had a lot of clichés in our heads, like many French people: the Belgian accent, the “une fois”, the French fries, the Belgian jokes, the beer…

But what is all this really about? To find out for yourself, head for old Brussels.

According to our friend from Brussels, who accompanied us for a few hours to explore the streets of the city, the Belgian accent is pronounced, as Belgians mix two languages: French and Flemish! And we can confirm that “r”, “o” and “en” are strongly accented. The famous once is very rarely used at the end of sentences, much to our surprise, and would mean “on occasion”

These red and ochre brick facades leave no one indifferent and charmed us straight away. You can feel the Nordic spirit in the alleys, with a hint of English, German or Dutch.



Let’s start the tour with the Grand-Place, Brussels, classified Unesco World Heritage and considered one of the most beautiful squares in the world…we can confirm it! A must-see, it is the nerve center of the capital and is easily recognizable by the many buildings that surround it: the town hall and the town house, also known as the “Maison de la Ville”. king’s house with its museum and statue Everard t’serclaes (don’t forget to touch her arm or body, your wish will be granted! By day, it’s surprising, but by night it’s fascinating, with sound and light projections every evening highlighting this jewel of Brussels heritage, whose architecture reflects the city’s history from the 14th century to the present day.



And don’t forget to visit the beautiful Royale Saint Hubert“In the lower part of the charming Place du Marché aux Herbes, by the place des grands sablons with its small park where you’ll find the original boutique of the famous chocolate maker “Pierre Marcolini“You’ll also find the rue de l’étuve, a stone’s throw from the Grand Place, where you’ll find the famous statue of the “Manken Pis“a symbol of Belgian freedom.



If you love chocolates, become a budding chocolatier and make your own Belgian chocolates. Learn how to make delicious pralines and mendiants in a 2.5-hour workshop.

➡️ Information and reservations here




Legend has it that during the Inquisition, the Dutch set fire to the town, and this little boy extinguished the flame by urinating on it, freeing the Belgian people from the invaders. This statue of a little boy taking a pee has become a world-famous image!

It’s easy to spot, but I’m a chatterbox, always with my nose in the air, so I didn’t see it right away! Like us and many tourists, take your souvenir photo, but I have to admit I’m a little disappointed… he’s tiny! Sometimes he can be dressed in costume, disguised or recolored! And yes, he’s got style!


Don’t miss a lunchtime stroll to the place Sainte Catherine where many locals gather for a snack at the fish market: shrimp fritters, razor clams, smoked herring, all accompanied by a little wine, French of course! A fun, authentic and wallet-friendly way to enjoy the Belgian way of life.


The adjacent street offers many quality restaurants and the best values are the establishments “shellfish” and “rugby players 1 and 2” to enjoy a lobster menu for 30-40€.



Finally, don’t forget the place Royale (museum district: Magritte museum, musical instrument museum…), the “Mount of Arts“A little Trocadero à la Belge, offering a beautiful view of the city and Les Halles “Saint Gery” where markets, ephemeral exhibitions and trendy Brussels evenings take place. The setting is superb!



If you’re a museum buff, the BD is a must, as Spirou, Titeuf, lucky luke, Boule et Bill or even the famous Tintin are all Belgian creations showcased in a superb venue in the heart of Belgium. Art Nouveau style built by the famous architect Victor Horta. (admission 10 euros). Some thirty frescoes depicting comic-book heroes are scattered throughout the city. An original way to discover the city! On the tourist office, you’ll find a map of the comic strip facades.



If you want to fall back into childhood, this is the tour for you and your children. Enjoy a guided walking tour of murals depicting cartoon characters in the streets of Brussels.

➡️ Check availability and book now


photo credit Tintin et Spirou OT bruxelles


Other option, Quai du Hainaut, MIMA Museum (Millenium Iconoclast Museum of Art ) in a district famous for its breeding ground for terrorists. Molenbeek where the buildings were once used to load coal produced by the Belgian mining industry.

Here, the spotlight is on contemporary art, with an ephemeral exhibition section in a beautifully restored space. On several floors, you can admire modern works by numerous artists. And you know what? We were lucky enough to get a sneak preview!



Do you know the popular district of Marolles ? Between Rue des Capucins and Rue Haute-Hoogstraat is a trendy district brimming with delicatessens and wine bars. Numerous traders, antique dealers and designers have opened small boutiques. It’s a great place to spend a few hours! Just a stone’s throw away is Brussels’ only flea market, open every day until 2pm on weekdays and 3pm on weekends, on the Place du Jeu de Balles. It’s an opportunity to bargain for antiques!




Here’s a good plan for Brussels Brussels card which offers a complete guide to the city, including a map:

  • Free admission to many of the city’s museums
  • Discounts on tourist attractions and tours
  • Discounts in restaurants and bars
  • Discounts in Brussels shops
  • Free access to Hop on Hop off buses (valid only with “Brussels Card + sightseeing”)

If you have 3 days, this card can pay for itself in no time!

➡️ Book your Brussel card here




Below you’ll find a list of great places to try out when you’re in Brussels. But if you want to come home knowing how to make a local specialty, this is the workshop for you. You will learn to prepare, cook and enjoy delicious Belgian waffles in good spirits.

➡️ Information and reservations here.


  • You absolutely must try the street food called”Street food” to get a taste of Brussels! By the way, forget the clichés: Belgians don’t eat moules-frites every day, it’s a dish that’s best enjoyed at a party! I haven’t had time to try their specialities such as rabbit with prunes and gueuze, headless birds, pheasant à la brabançonne… but their names don’t really appeal to me!
  • French fries, waffles and beer!
    Let’s talk about French fries or as the Belgian who served us would say: you want a French fry ? These fries are hearty and crispy, but above all they’re greasy because they’re cooked in beef fat or lard, which gives them a particular taste that disgusted me to be honest! I’m a big fan of potatoes, but I just couldn’t get enough of them! They are often served with American, garlic or Andalusian sauces, depending on your taste. We tested the French fry shop near the place de la Bourse, “fritland”(rue Henri Maus), a veritable frites et fricadelles factory! But the institution of French fries “Café de la friterie de Georgette” (about 3 euros per portion), fritkot Place Flagey or the Maison Antoine. We look forward to hearing from you.
  • For a good burger, go to Marcel Burger Bar (rue américaine 87, 1050 Ixelles), Manhattn’s burgers (164 avenue louise, 1050 Ixelles), l’amour fou ( chaussée d’Ixelles 185, 1050 Ixelles), the super streetcar girls for burger size! (rue lesbroussart22, 050 Ixelles).
  • What about these waffles? whether they’re Liège-style or Brussels-style, my taste buds went wild! These waffles, also known as “waffles”, are eaten all over the street for 1 euro on average and can be enjoyed in a variety of sauces: plain with powdered sugar, topped with whipped cream, with chocolate or like the one I tried: bounty- nutella! Don’t go without at this price. Near the Mannenken Pis is the Waffles factory, also known as the tightrope walker store, a small tourist store with a variety of attractive waffles on display!
  • Looking for a brunch? you should try the daily bread, a Belgian institution in a rustic, authentic setting with large wooden tables. (71-73 rue des Tongres) or l’amour fou brunch in Ixelles.
  • Léonidas and Jeff de bruges Belgian chocolates are tourist chocolates! It’s better to try the chocolates Pierre Marcolini but also at Maison J.Dandoy to bring back Belgian specialities like speculos. These houses are scattered all over the city, so they’re easy to find!
  • Avoid eating in the Grand Place, as prices are higher! But we won’t tell you that!
  • Brussels is brimming with gourmet restaurants, and yes Belgium has the most Michelin-starred chefs, with the highest concentration of restaurants ranked in the famous “Gault-Millau“. But Brussels or “brusselles” is also home to small snack bars, French fry shops and food-trucks. We’ve also come to eat fricadelle, and yes, it’s not only in the north of France that you can taste it! Belgian gastronomy is rich and varied, and also revolves around seafood.

Brussels and Belgium would be nothing without the variety of beer they have to offer. Visiting this city is therefore an ideal place to take a break and savour the flavours. They are often amber, blond, white, abbey and full of flavor. Without a doubt, Belgium offers the best variety of products in this field.

  • A good, friendly place, admittedly a little touristy but also a must-see, is the Delirium Village near the central Grand Place. You’ll be able to sample a large number of them (over 3,000, apparently) and spend a pleasant evening in a pub-like atmosphere! You can also visit the new microbrewery, And Stoemelings (located at 1, rue du Miroir) which offers craft beers, at the Moederlambic, 8 place Fontainas or bar le guignol (rue voot 32).
  • For cocktail lovers, we recommend a visit to the Sofitel Louise (avenue de la Toison d’or), a contemporary hotel with a tranquil, modern terrace. Its magnificent Crystal Lounge offers a beautiful cocktail menu that changes every month! We tasted the cocktail Last Word with chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, gin and lime for 16 euros.




Brussels offers a wide choice of accommodation, from youth hostels to luxury hotels. If you’re looking for a cheap plan, several people have told me about the youth hostel Sleep Well hostel, fairly well located in the center. We’d like you to test 2 hotels for their comfort, design and location. Not easy to choose in this great European city!

Bon Plan: many chain hotels and major hotels slash their prices on weekends. If you’re looking for other types of accommodation, you can always find what you’re looking for here


If you’re looking for a quality hotel in the city of Brussels, we invite you to discover this romantic hotel in the business district, which will not leave you indifferent! This boutique hotel “Hotel Barsey by Warwick“is located in Brussels’ finest neighborhoods, on Avenue Louise, home to numerous luxury boutiques, museums and art galleries.

This is a 4-star hotel with character, blending contemporary and antique styles to bring refinement, glamour and a cozy feel. Elegance is the watchword here. Like it or not, the decor is refined and meticulous, with antique-style moldings, columns and statues.

From classic rooms to suites and premium rooms (larger than 30 m2), you’ll be spoilt for choice. The rooms are bright and spacious, well-equipped in a chic yet relaxed spirit, with a retro-style bathroom featuring vintage tiles.

In summer, you can relax on our beautiful renaissance-style terrace, enjoy our delicious breakfast or use the gym for your daily physical activity. Be sure to dine at the star chef’s restaurant: Gaëtan Colin. Looking for fresh air? take advantage of its location to stroll through Brussels’ largest park, the Bois de la Cambre, just 700 meters from the hotel, or the Etang d’Ixelles.

By streetcar, the Grand Place, the Horta Museum and the Place du Chatelain are all within easy reach of the hotel. It’s a hotel establishment, suitable for couples and business clients for a chic and glamorous atmosphere.

On average 130 euros per night. (breakfast extra)

Access: It’s just 100 meters from the Abbaye streetcar stop, a 15-minute walk from the Horta museum, 5 km from the Midi train station (Thalys and Eurostar) and 2 km from the Louise metro station. By car, Brussels Zaventem airport is just 20 minutes away, and you have access to private parking. (20 euros for 24 hours)




Introducing the 4-star luxury hotel “The Dominican” located in the heart of Brussels behind the Place de la Monnaie. An ideal location, just 5 minutes’ walk from the town center, in a quiet street close to all amenities: shopping, restaurants and bars, public transport and the station.

This chic new hotel in the “Carlton Hotel” is the translation of elegance! And it starts as soon as you arrive at the reception desk, which will leave you speechless! The baroque-style lobby is cosy, with large glass roofs, a trendy lounge bar where you can sample tapas, and a large “Grand Cour” restaurant overlooking the courtyard. The cuisine is meticulous, and breakfast comes in the form of a hearty buffet, offering a wide choice of pastries, eggs and waffles served on demand and with all kinds of sauces, fresh juices, cold meats and cheeses! Believe us, you’ll get your fill in no time!

This hotel is located in a former monastery. You’ll be amazed by the Gregorian chants playing in the elevator and corridors! At first we were surprised by the contrast, but in the end we got used to it!

The rooms are modern, equipped with a minibar, air conditioning and high-quality bedding. The bathrooms are spacious with a bathtub-shower! A kettle, bathrobes and slippers are provided for your comfort. For sports enthusiasts, there’s a gym with weights and treadmills.

The friendliness and professionalism of the staff make this one of the most charming establishments to stay in Brussels for a weekend, and it’s perfect for couples and businessmen alike.

Room rates vary enormously depending on the season. We had a deluxe room, so expect to pay about a night’s rent. 150 euros on weekdays and 130 euros per weekend (low season rates) and in high season around 190 euros to 350 euros for weekdays and 140 euros for weekends. These prices exclude breakfast (27 euros per person).

Remember to book in advance, as the hotel is often fully booked. It’s a good place to eat an evening menu for around thirty euros.

Access: Metro: Place de Brouckère and 10-15 minute streetcar ride to Brussels Midi station.





Several means of transport are available:

  • The bus : we were taken care of by Ouibus, the new, modern bus with wifi, power sockets and toilets, as the city can be reached in 4h30 from Paris.


  • The train : 1h20 by train from Paris Nord. Brussels is an easy weekend destination. Don’t forget to take the Thalys, the low-cost train. « IZY » for around 20 euros a trip. Not bad, eh? Find your train ticket at the best price here!



  • On site: good public transport links. Brussels has several bus, streetcar and metro lines. Cost of a trip approx. 2,10 euros. 24h tickets are also available for 7,50 euros. The town center is pedestrianized, much to the delight of tourists who stroll through the typical narrow streets;


Like all great capitals, it’s good to get lost in the streets to discover the city. For photo enthusiasts, the art nouveau is quite present in Brussels and renowned worldwide, as Brussels is said to be one of the capitals with the most Art Nouveau buildings. Its inventor and leader was Victor Horta (you can visit his house on Rue Américaine, a little gem).

This art nouveau style can be found on windows, furniture and the facades of many buildings: in the Ixelles, Etterbeek and Saint-Gilles districts, with the De beck building and the Hiboux house (avenue Brugmann), the Old England store (rue Montagne de la Cour) or Nelissen (5 avenue du Mont Kemmel), in the city center with the Falstaff brasserie, the Metropole hotel and the Niguet chemiserie, as well as Gustave Strauven’s Maison Saint Cyr.


If you have any tips for us, don’t hesitate to leave your comments below. We’ll keep our Brussels tips up to date! We invite you to read our mini guide onBruges to discover this beautiful city and its gourmet addresses for a weekend.





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