Monday, 15 May 2017

A Whistle Stop Visit to Brussels - Beer, Chocolate and of course Shopping

What a wonderful visit to Brussels! - something to tick off my bucket list.
I love a good city break. Each place I visit I like to do some of the usual touristy things, then go hunting for something that's a little bit off the beaten track that makes the trip my own.  My Brussels' highlights included chocolate, beer, an Orange Tour and of course some textiles shopping. Here's a few things I can recommend.

Starting with a little bit of shopping.  I found some scrummy vintage textiles sold by the kilo at Melting Pot Kilo - including baskets and baskets of vintage embroidered linens. Make your selection from all kinds of vintage goodies - clothes, shoes, handbags, coats, and textiles. It's an Aladdin's cave of treasure.
On Rue Blaes - on the way to the famous Marolles flea market - there's a yummy Mid-Century furniture shop and several eclectic, vintage clothing stores. I loved the curated collections of pieces in these shops - lots of inspiration, nice pieces and nice prices. It was such a contrast to the jumbled chaos waiting for me, at the flea market just meters down the road.
Marolles Flea Market at La Place du Jeu Balle is on everyday 5am-2pm. I arrived at 8.30am and spent a good 2-3 hours rummaging - there's treasure to be found, but it takes time, patience and lots of haggling. There's plenty of cafes in the square, so you can take a break and rest your legs before returning to the rummaging. Lots more about my visit here on my previous blog post
When I'm not rummaging, I like to look around for inspiration. Around every corner there's a new surprise. These stunning carved biscuit moulds were on display in the fabulous Maison Dandoy
Fabulous, colourful yarn bombing - the crochet was weathered and rather wonderful. 
Every now and then I find a food place that really stands out. On this visit it was Mer du Nord in Place Saint Catherine with their alfresco tapas style seafood lunch - I had calamari and oysters - all prepared fresh to order.  Give them your name & order and find a table -  they call out your name when the food's ready. The place was very busy and had a real buzz. 
I then popped around the corner to Gaston for a sit in the sunshine with an ice cream 
- the deck chair and view were free. 
There are plenty of galleries in Brussels, but for me the Rene Magritte Museum is a must, especially for all the Surrealists out there. I'd seen postcards of his work before, but to see his life and paintings curated in such a beautiful way was a real treat.

Finally beer - it's everywhere.  I can heartily recommend a visit to the Delirium Cafe, (very close to the Jeanneke Pis). With over 3,000 beers in stock you can definitely find a beer to suit your taste buds. My favourite Trappist beer was the Westmalle Triple.
The bartenders here, know everything about everything when it comes to beer. I asked them for two very chocolatey beers - Oh Wow! Barista Chocolate Quad was like very dark chocolate and Pannepot (mine was a 2010 vintage) was like treacle toffee. Delicious and very easy to drink.  
I hope you've enjoyed sharing some of my city highlights.
I can heartily recommend Brussels,  it's a very special city and I'm sure I'll be back again soon.


  1. It's like holiday heaven Katie. I can just see me rummaging round and Philip trying out the beers. What a great trip you've had.
    Thank you for sharing it with us
    Lynn xxx

  2. You would love it!
    We had such a great time. Lots more shopping to be done on our next trip.
    Katie xx


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