Friday, 10 January 2014

New Year in Brussels

A few months ago when Ben and I decided we would go on holiday, our very first together, there wasn't a lot of time spent thinking about it. Somewhere quiet, somewhere interesting and somewhere preferably filled with beautiful architecture! Being in love with art nouveau, the decision was simple. Of course, Brussels!

From stunningly ornate doors to the equally as ornate desserts and all the beauty inbetween! We stayed in a lovely little chic apartment in the heart of the Saint-Gilles neighbourhood (thanks Airbnb!) and just relaxed and lived as locals for a week.
We spent our time exploring the area and seeking out little cafes and patisseries and ended up finding quite a few little gems. Saint-Gilles itself is stunning, there's a really nice peacefulness about the place and in our opinion it was far more enjoyable than the city centre which was unfortunately but understandably more affected by tourism.

 One thing about Brussels which really struck me were the doors. Glorious, towering things that I never dreamed could be so visually pleasing! I took so many photos of them, far too many to post here but I will share with you a few of them. It was just so nice to see sumptuous architecture as the norm. 

 We couldn't possibly have visited Brussels without seeing the Horta museum. Victor Horta was the architect who helped spread the art nouveau movement in Europe during the 19th Century. Unfortunately photos within the museum weren't allowed but I can assure you it was quite a sight! We also spent a day sampling traditional Lambic beer at a really interesting tour around the Cantillon Brewery.

I think Brussels will definitely be a place we return to many more times. I've even taken to learning dutch and Ben's learning french so we can get along more easily! However I must say nearly everyone we encountered had excellent English. The holiday was so much more enjoyable for having had our own apartment too, rather than in a hotel.
I absolutely recommend Brussels if you're considering a European holiday, especially Saint-Gilles or neighbouring areas. You can never have enough art nouveau in your life!

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