If you still don’t have any plans for this August maybe you can give Brussels a chance? Here are 5 reasons why.
1. Flower carpet – every two years Belgians set up a giant flower carpet in the main square of Brussels, Le Grand Place. This year the spectacle starts at 22:00 on 14 August and for the next 5 days you will be able to enjoy a floral masterpiece of thousands of colorful begonias arranged by experienced gardeners. Don’t miss it!
2. Chocolate – not only in August but also for the rest of the year Belgian chocolate is one of the best in Europe. You will find chocolatiers almost everywhere in Brussels but if you want to find them all in one place head to Place du Grand Sablon. This impressive square is surrounded by antique shops, restaurants and cafes and is a perfect place for calm Sunday afternoon. Try Patrick Roger’s pralines or Pierre Marcolini’s pâtisseries – I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed!
3. Mussels – all around Brussels restaurants are announcing that les moules sont arrivées – the mussels have arrived! Belgian mussels are iconic, served with side frites in a large bowl usually with a broth of white wine, shallots, parsley and butter. The season starts in middle August and finishes in early March and there are places in Brussels which sell half a ton of moules per day during this time! Restaurants at Place Sainte Catherine arethemost popular for sea food in Brussels, they are a bit too touristic for us though.For more local atmosphere try Mer du Nord, a trailer bar on the corner of rue Sainte-Catherine or if you want something a bit more glamorous book a table at Henri (rue de Flandre 113) – a nice, modern bistro.
Interestingly enough, most of Belgian mussels come from the Netherlands (particularly the province of Zeeland), don’t mention it though if you don’t want to make the locals angry…
4. Charli’s bakers – the best bread in town! I didn’t realise how much I like it until they recently closed the place for two weeks. I was almost counting the days for them to come back from their holidays.
Charli was opened by a group of friends, French by origin, who wanted to provide Brussels people with the freshest and highest quality products. This is a place with a mission – all ingredients are organic, energy is green and waste is recycled. The baking takes place behind a glass window overlooked by few tables so you can check and try yourself how all the promises of quality are kept. The best place for breakfast in Brussels!
5. Markets – Belgians love their markets. Used clothes, old furniture, antics, plants, bicycles – all of these you can find at Brussels’ markets. Fashion addicts will enjoy Place du Jeu Balle where most of Belgian stylists start their days looking for treasures through the tons of used clothing. On a Wednesday afternoon try Place du Chatelain for best cheese, wine, meats and vegetables. It is more than just a market but also a social event and an occasion to try Brussels’ culinary delights.
To learn more about places we recommend in Brussels check our guide here.