Art Programme in Brussels
Brussels, city of the arts
© OPT / Ricardo de la Riva / © OPT / J.P. Remy / © OPT / Ricardo de la Riva
With its historic architecture, its dozens of museums and unusual places like the Toone marionette theatre, Brussels has plenty to interest lovers of the arts! And what is more, they can enjoy fine local food and drink between indulging their other passions!
Day 1: Saturday
First museum morning
Brussels’ museums can be described as flamboyant…both inside and out! For their architectural styles often rival the richness of their collections and displays. Your first morning in Brussels should certainly convince you!
> BOZAR - Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels, a building by Horta!
Let’s start our day with one of the city’s trump cards! In perfect synch with contemporary trends, the old Palace of Fine Arts was renamed BOZAR. This gigantic building is a masterpiece of the Art Deco period of the architect Victor Horta. The building recently underwent a comprehensive restoration and now houses several multimedia spaces in addition to its many exhibition galleries, and the imposing Henry Le Bœuf Concert Hall, an ideal venue for the hundreds of concerts by chamber ensembles and symphony orchestras held there each year. For your own copy of the BOZAR programme, please click on BOZAR - Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels (BRUXELLES)!
> Royal Museums of Art
A short walk from BOZAR is the Musée Oldmasters Museum, Ancient Art, Fine Arts Museum of Belgium (BRUXELLES) and its sister the Royal Fine Arts Museums - Musée Fin-de-Siècle Museum (BRUXELLES). Rubens, Van Dyck and Magritte… are just three of the painters whose works are on display there and which will take you on a journey from the fourteenth century to the present! And if all this culture makes you hungry or thirsty, you don’t have to leave the building! You can either pop into the Museum Café for something quick and light, or, if you’d like to sample food cooked by one of Belgium’s top chefs, then pick the Museum Brasserie!
Voyage through the past
> Place du Grand Sablon, meeting-point for antique dealers
Don't miss the Weekly Sablon Antiques Market (BRUXELLES) for its unmissable displays of top-quality Belgian antiques every Saturday until 6pm. You may stumble across some porcelain or some Rococo chairs or some silverware! Today, the Place du Grand Sablon’s shops cater to the city’s well-heeled residents through exclusive boutiques, delightful patisseries and , as it has done for centuries!
> Nostalgia and marionettes
While strolling around the Place du Grand Sablon, you may have caught a whiff of nostalgia. Should you want another dose, then make your way down to the Royal Toone VII Theatre! Located a short walk from the The Grand-Place in Brussels (BRUXELLES), this temple of traditional Brussels culture puts on puppet shows. They usually re-enact one of the old classic theatre plays, and encourage enthusiastic audience participation! When are the shows? Every Saturday until 4pm, but you are advised to reserve your places online. Even when there is no show to watch, the unusually-decorated bar is well worth a visit.
> Bloom, Smoods and dinner
For dinner, we head off to the Bloom! hotel (SAINT-JOSSE-TEN-NOODE) and its “Smoods” restaurant, which serves contemporary European food in seven tasteful, differently-decorated “mood areas”, all linked by the bar area, where live music is performed!
Day 2: Sunday
> Art Nouveau after sleep
The first event this Sunday morning is an “Art Nouveau” guided tour by See and Tell in Brussels, guided city tours (BRUXELLES), which includes an in-depth guided visit to some of the buildings that typify the style in Brussels, and more information about Victor Horta, the design genius and architect who founded the movement in Belgium. If you’d prefer a “Do-It-Yourself” tour on your own, pick up a copy of the WALKING MAPS "BRUSSELS LIVING ART NOUVEAU" (BRUXELLES). But don’t forget to check the opening hours of the buildings!
> Magritte on display
After lunch, invite yourself to René Magritte’s home! The René Magritte Museum (JETTE) is located in the house where the greatest of the Belgian surrealist painters lived and worked from 1930 to 1954. The house contains all Magritte’s furniture and many other personal items and documents. In 2009, the city recognised the growing interest in Magritte by opening the prestigious new Magritte Museum (BRUXELLES).
> The art of eating
Gastronomy is certainly one of the fine arts in Brussels! For lunch, book a table at the famous “Chez Vincent” restaurant, whose exquisite local specialities and spectacular early-twentieth-century decor will delight purists. To continue in the same vein, enjoy a beer or an aperitif in either (or both!) of the two most famous cafés in the city, located on opposite sides of the former Stock Exchange: the Art Nouveau “Falstaff” and the Neo-Classical “Cirio” are unmissable!
Not far from Brussels-North railway station, the Husa President Park Hotel (BRUXELLES) and the Bloom! hotel (SAINT-JOSSE-TEN-NOODE) are only a 20-minute train journey from the airport, and offer a delightful setting, perfectly in synch with the theme of your weekend!
Husa President Park Hotel
Elegant and spacious rooms, a sumptuous French-stone facade, huge lounges, a gym overlooking the city centre, an unusual garden and state-of-the-art technical facilities: this place has everything required to please you! The hotel was renovated in 2008.
© Hotel BLOOM!
Comprehensively renovated in 2006, this is one of the contemporary-style hotels that is revitalising the city. Modern, with many facilities and resolutely youthful, without sacrificing the old-fashioned comfort and elegance of this 306-room hotel!