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Grand Place


  - 5 opinions

The center of the center

Published by Bechara Saykali — 5 years ago

Belgium is known to be the center of Europe. Well La grande place is Brussel's center, making it the capital of Europe! La Grande place is known for its magnificent architecture... So if you are into architecture/sight seeing and social interaction. The square always holds weekly events where you can meet people from all over the world! You can spend a whole day going around this place: you can have Breakfast lunch and diner there with plenty to do in between. Lets not forget all the glorious Belgian beer and chocolate there.

In addition to all the Beer bars and chocolate places, you can find a lot of international cuisine like the famous Lebanese cuisine, in addition to Italian, Thai, Japanese, American etc. In addition, you can find internationally renown places such as Hardrock cafe.

La grande place is a must see extravaganza! Other places in Brussels you may wanna visit is Mini Europe and the Atomium.

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The marvellous Grande Place in Brussels

Published by Charlotte Mullender — 4 years ago

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Talking about all those exotic and foreign places I am totally forgetting about writing more about my own little and beautiful country: Belgium. I know it is really tiny and a lot of people haven’t heard much of it, not to mention visited it, but it does hide some marvellous places worth a visit!

One of these places is La Grand Place (which means translated: “the big square”), in the heart of Brussels, the capital of Belgium. The Grand Place is the main square of the city and one of the (if not THE) most visited places in the whole country. It consists of a big square surrounded by beautiful opulent buildings and is part of the UNESCO World Heritage.

On the square you find the city hall of Brussels as well as the guild house and the “Maison du Roi”, a building containing the Museum of the city of Brussels. Most of the architecture of the buildings is in the style of the late 17th Century. Many of the buildings contain little stone figures of saints, detailed ornaments and gold enrichments.

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It is a wonderful place to look around, visited each day by thousands of people. Just around the corner are many good waffle, beer, chocolate and fries places to enjoy the culinary highlights of Belgium. Another pretty cool thing is that if you go into the backyard of the city hall there is a star drawn on the ground which marks the exact middle of the country of Belgium. A nice time to visit the Grand Place is definitely also the evening. Then the buildings are all light up nicelyand sometimes they even use colourful lights, giving the square a magical glow.

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There are often events on the Grand Place, for example every two years in August they build up a huge flower carpet on the square, turning the whole Grand Place into a huge flower garden. Around Christmas time they also have a Christmas market with an ice-skating ring.

The probably best weekend to be at the Grand Place is the first weekend of September. Then it is always time for the Belgian Beer Weekend, during which the Grand Place pretty much turns into one huge bar. Numerous big and small Belgian breweries serve their beers in the beautiful surrounding of the square. People from the entire world come to Brussels on this weekend to enjoy the Belgian national drink. It is pretty much like a huge beer tasting, although the tasting turns more into a drinking usually! Anyways, it is not only a great way to try out the different Belgian beers, but also a great event to meet international people. And most of all it is a lot of fun!

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So if you never visited Belgium, you should definitely give it a go and check out Brussels and its beautiful Grand Place.

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La Grand Place by night

Published by Stefano Pirini — 4 years ago

This square represents the centre of Brussels. It is huge and very beautiful. In my opinion, one of the best in Europe. It's ok to visit it during the day but by night is another thing. It is just amazing (look at the photos).

The style of the buildings is gothic. The thing that got me impressed was the height of the buildings. They made me feel small. It was an outstanding experience.

A Grand Place à noite

By Stefano Pirini

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Wonder and Wander

Published by Boats Boats Boats — one year ago

The Grand Place

The main square in the center of Brussels is known as the Grand Place in French or Grote Markt in Dutch and is, in my opinion, the most impressive sight that Brussels has to offer. It has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1998 and is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful squares in Europe.

So... What is it?

The Grand Place (Big Square) is literally just that. A large cobbled square nestled in the heart of Brussels surrounded by beautiful architecture and numerous shops and cafés to sit in and watch the world go by. It is surrounded by guild houses, the Town Hall and the Museum of the city of Brussels.

Why was it built?

Originally an open-air market in Brussels, with three indoor markets on the northern side where trading could take place in poor weather conditions, the market was originally set up at the furthest point along the river Senne that was still navigable. Over the following years the market gained significance until it was destroyed in the French bombardment of 1998. The square was rebuilt and then destroyed again several times before the Brussels authorities chose to return it, and the surrounding buildings to their former glory and the Grand Place we see today was born.

What to do there?

Well, if you're like me, and you're a fan of architecture the first thing to do is look around you in awe. As you emerge out of the narrow cobbled streets that surround the square, perhaps through one of the side arches, you can never quite be prepared for the splendour that awaits. The tall white tower of the Town Hall looming overhead contrasted with the gothic style of the Museum is breathtaking. Combine that with the stunning, gold splattered guild houses that surround it and even the harshest critics would be impressed. It's a lot to take it, and impossible to fit into one photo! However... once you have stopped gawking at the beauty that surrounds you, stay for a beer in one of the surrounding pubs. Or grab one of Belgiums famous waffles with hot nutella and ice cream and sit on the steps people watching. If that's not for you, take a look around the museum itself or opt for one of the horse and cart rides that leave from the Square so often. Look out for big events on the Grand Place too.

If you're lucky enough to be in Brussels around christmas time be sure to check out the christmas markets and watch the spectacular light shows that light up the square each night. Each individual facade has lights (more than 1600 of them! ) that can be controlled and creates a wonderful show in time with the festively themed music.

In August, every second year, more than 100 volunteer gardeners gather to create a flower carpet made from begonias that coats the floor of the Grand Place filling the air with fragrances. Each time the carpet is created, a new musical theme is chosen to accompany it and a concert takes place every evening.

Several DJs have also played free concerts from the balconys on the Grand Place including Henry PFR and Petit Biscuit attracting crowds from all over Belgium.

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The most beautiful square in Brussels

Translated by Lottie Davies — one year ago

Original text by Maika Cano Martínez

Introduction to the Grand Place

Grand Place (or, "Grote Markt" in Flemish) is situated right in the heart of the Belgian capital, Brussels. This square is made up of a collection of rather impressive architectural works, and is considered to be one of the most beautiful squares in the whole world, and I can wholeheartedly confirm that for you. It is one of the most visited tourist hotspots in Brussels, and it is one of the city's most significant symbols. Given its value, it was named as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1998.

Aside from a huge number of other seasonal and cultural events taking place in the square, the most famous and most beautiful of these is the laying of a giant 25 x 75 metre flower carpet that contains more than 500, 000 begonias; an event that takes place every other August. I visited Brussels both in October 2013 and again in April 2014, so that meant that I wasn't lucky enough to see it for myself. However, I did get a feel for it at the theme park, Mini Europe, with its 1/25 scale model of the square that includes a miniature version of this flower carpet.

The most beautiful square in Brussels

History of the square

We can trace the commercial origins of the square back to the eleventh century with the setting up of a market. Since then, there have been several markets set up in the square that have ranged from handicrafts to fabrics, amongst many other items.

When the town hall was built in the fifteenth century, it turned the square into one of the headquarters of municipal power, aside from being one of the leading commercial areas in Brussels.

The square has been witness to a huge number of events in the country's history, some worse than others, with a stand-out being the Bombardment of Brussels in 1695, which saw the square being almost entirely destroyed. However, the damages were repaired and the Grand Place was rebuilt just a few years later.

Throughout all of these centuries, the square has gone through several phases, some arguably better than others, and has seen the building and setting up of new buildings that have made the Grand Place what it is today.

Buildings and places of interest

The collection of architecture in the square is very famous and noteworthy, and amongst all of the buildings found within it, the following could be considered the stand-outs:

The Town Hall

The city's town hall was built between 1401 and 1455 and is the only building from the medieval era to still be standing in the square.

This building is the most eye-catching in the entire square, and I would even go as far to say that it's the most important, which is, in part, thanks to the stand-out Gothic tower that measures 96 metres tall. This tower is actually the most beautiful thing in both the Grand Place and in Brussels, as a whole, and is what best characterises them, or at least in my opinion it does. At the very top of it, you can see a statue of Saint Michael the Archangel (the patron saint of Brussels) slaying the devil. The tower is asymmetrical, making the left part different from the right, as they were built at two different times. And it's not just the tower that is like this, but actually the entire building too, as the tower doesn't sit right in the middle of it, with more space and more arches on the left.

The most beautiful square in Brussels

The most beautiful square in Brussels

Guided tours of the town hall are offered, but the times are few and far between, having been limited to just Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons. Given that I didn't visit on either of these days during my two trips to Brussels, I haven't been able to see the interior of this building.

Just next to the town hall, you will find a bronze statue of Everard t'Serclaes, and it is said that you will have good luck if you touch his arm, so we did that just to be on the safe side.

The King's House

Several centuries ago, bread was originally sold in this building, which is where its name came from; "Broodhuirs" in Flemish means "bread house". After this, it became the home of a tax collector who later became the King of Spain. And, currently, the building is home to the Museum of the City of Brussels, where we can see paintings, tapestries, and the most famous and smallest costumes in the city, the wardrobe of the Manneken Pis statue.

This building is of a Neo-Gothic style and is also very beautiful, although not to the same degree as the town hall. This building is indeed symmetrical, with a little tower that divides it into two vertical strips and it seems to have four horizontal strips, due to each one having several arches, but of different sizes.

The most beautiful square in Brussels

The most beautiful square in Brussels

La Maison des Ducs de Brabant

It's a group of Neoclassical-style buildings made up of 6 guild houses.

La Maison du Pigeon

This place is famous because it was the home of the famous novelist, Victor Hugo, during his exile in Brussels. The house can be found at numbers 26 and 27 (we also spoke about his house in Paris in an early post on my profile).

Apart from the buildings, other establishments have made a name for themselves here in Grand Place, like the brasserie, Le Roi d'Espagne, and the chocolatier, Godiva, which sits in the corner. This company is famous around the world for selling some of the best chocolate. In the shop window, you can watch how the master chocolate maker prepares the confectionery and the famous chocolate-coated strawberries whilst your mouth is left to water.

The most beautiful square in Brussels

Opinion and recommendations

If I tell you that I was really looking forward to going to Brussels, I will also tell you that the city (and its waffles) really disappointed me. However, what didn't disappoint me, and, in fact, left me feeling amazed, was this very square. Grand Place, along with Place Stanislas in Nancy (France), are two of the most beautiful squares that I have ever seen in my life: it's an absolute gift to be able to visit them, and any place like these will surely make your entire trip worth it.

The most beautiful square in Brussels

I was lucky enough to see the square on three different occasions: once in the morning, again in the afternoon, and, finally, after sunrise, with nobody else there. I don't know which visual of it is best to remember it by. On the one hand, visiting the square in daylight is indispensable to be able to truly appreciate all of the detailing on the buildings and the tower. When I went really early after the sun had risen, the fact that there was no one else there made me look at it from a different perspective, but it was somewhat sad to be honest. On the other hand, at night, it grows in elegance and beauty, as the lighting in the square gives it a special touch and the atmosphere is much more lively. However, that being said, it does lose the impressive detailing that the buildings have. So, the solution is to simply go both during the day and at night.

The most beautiful square in Brussels

If you have time and money, I would advise you to go and have a drink at the bar in Le Roi d'Espagne. We were about to do so ourselves, but, in the end, we went in search of a place with Belgian fries that was close by and had the reputation of being the best in Brussels. You will recognise this bar because it has a bust of Charles II in the entrance way of the main facade. I will be sure to visit this bar the next time that I visit Brussels, as the views of the square from there with a good Belgian beer make the visit seem worthwhile.

I also recommend that you go to the fries place: it is a little eatery that sits in the corner of a building in the area behind the square itself with all of the restaurants. And, of course, you must head towards the famous Manneken Pis, which is just a five minute walk away from Grand Place.

And, of course, I also recommend that you bring a good camera with you, so that you can immortalise the sheer beauty of Grand Place for yourselves.

How to get to the Grand Place

To tell you the truth, I have been to Brussels twice and both times I found it difficult to get to this square, as I walked there from other parts of the city. In the case of important squares like this one, they are usually very well-signposted, which actually wasn't the case for Grand Place, and the locals know how to direct you there if you get lost or confused, which also wasn't the case here in Belgium. I honestly think it is because the locals know it for its name in Flemish and it's difficult for them to understand us trying to pronounce it like they do...

The most beautiful square in Brussels

If you don't want to get lost, the best thing to do would be to take public transport, which will drop you off very close to the square itself. The stop that you have to alight at, irrespective of whether you travel by bus, by metro or by tram, is "Bourse", which is served by lines 3 and 4 of the metro, tram lines 31, 32 and 33, and bus routes 48 and 49.

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