I would be lying if I told you that me and Brussels haven't been going a bit of a rough patch recently. Between a lockdown, a despicable terrorist attack, the ever-present military on the streets and a terribly planned and implemented pedestrian project, that has transformed the very center of the city into a grey ghost-town, it's safe to say that it has been a bad year for our little city. Yet spring is here and nature is in full bloom so I thought I would share some of the oh so many reasons that Paris's ugly cousin is still worth your love.
1. The Marolles!
Since I moved in this part of town nearly 8 years ago I fell in love. Though this little gem is located in the center of Brussels and is swarming with tourists and life during the weekend it keeps its Belgian charm intact and let's face it who doesn't enjoy living in a cabinet of curiosities. We also happen to have one of the best flea markets (Jeu de Balle) that's open every single day!
The ultimate map of our hood
Places to love in the Marolles:
also known as our local, right on the square of Jeu de Balle and perfect for a soup bowl sized latte (known as lait Russe) in the sun apres le flea market
Located in an old fire station, perfect for an afternoon apero in the sun and delicious food is served upstairs under a glass roof
The Lebanese solution to culinary boredom
The Bio Market at Tanneurs
cause my quality of life increased exponentially since I started shopping there!
L'Idiot du village
Le Wine Bar des Marolles
All the vintage shops
Chapelle skater park
2. The concerts
It's not like the Belgian crowd is particularly lively or has an exquisite musical taste however Brussels is on the way during any European tour and this means we get the chance to enjoy anyone who's on tour at a really reasonable price and at relatively intimate venues. It's not by chance that the Ancienne Belgique is repeatedly listed as one of the best venues to play in and well at Botanique you get to see the newest bands before they explode into superstardom, or not, in a botanical garden! Hard to beat that! I remember that when I lived in London concert tickets had to be booked months in advance and cost a tiny fortune. And I will let you in on a little secret, you can show up on the eve of any sold out concert and find a ticket for the show at the original price, all you need to do is practice your negotiation skills or acquire some dodgy italian connections.
Casually chilling with Ariel Pink after his gig.
God is in the house...
3. The food
La Guinguette en Ville
4. The parteys
Well up until recently there was at least one party every weekend in the hood that is currently referred to as the cradle of terrorism, your beloved Molenbeek, and guess what every weekend the gays, the freaks and the hipsters invaded abandoned industrial spaces and danced the night away. Things may have slowed down a little but we still have incredible Djs, such as Matias Aguayo, who recently graced us with his presence at Beursschouwburg and restored our faith in the magic of the night.
Keep an eye out for
Bruxsel Jardin for when the days start getting longer
Blue Cheese a party organized by 2 of my favorite boys in town
A reason onto itself, probably along with MOMA one of the most progressive Modern Art Museums in the world, amazing exhibitions, electro parties, film premiers, classical music concerts and you even get the opportunity to meet some of your favorite authors and film directors! They also host an ultra geeky fantastic film festival in their basement every year, what is there not to love! Did I also mention they have an incredible CINEMATEK with impeccable programming and a delicious Brasserie in the beautiful building that was designed by Belgium's finest, Mr Horta himself.
6. That we all believe in the magic of the night and the power of alcohol AKA The Freedom
The fact that bars don't close at 2:00 like in gay Paris or London and the fact that you are free to consume alcoholic beverages in parks
What used to be my first ever afterhours home in Brussels.
Those of you who have the pleasure of knowing me personally are aware of the fact that going to the cinema is possibly one of my all time favorite activities and I must admit regardless of all the silver screens I have seen Cinema Nova is SPECIAL!
Well Belgium is sort of synonymous to chocolate, along with beer, peeing boys and mussels, and guess what you should definitely believe all the hype! I recently paid 4 euros for the tiniest of ice creams from Pierre and it was totally worth every cent! I am not know for my sweet tooth yet I loooove chocolate and Marcolini takes it to the next level.
9. THE PEOPLE AKA ALL MY FRIENDS
Anyone who's mad enough to give this insane little city a chance to become a home is worth loving, or at least in need of some sort of psychiatric help, so this one is for all the beautiful people from all over the world that make this city AWESOME!
One of my all time favorite stores where you can find gems from ACNE, Isabelle Marant, Alexander Wang, Phillip Lim, EACH x OTHER, Roseanna and many many more
for all the eco-warriors out there
12. our very own little hidden park Egmont
13. all the dance
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker, The Great
14. This sky
Cause Magritte was on to something
15. THE EU!!!!
Cause I work in the European Parliament and get to be an infinitesimal part of this incredible peace project!