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Brussels Districts

  • Bruxelles - Brussel - From the deeply ornate buildings on the Grand'Place (Grote Markt), to the fish-and-crustacean overdose of St. Catherine's Square (Place St-Catherine / Sint-Katelijneplein), to the many bars on Place St-Géry (Sint-Goriks), to the trendy Rue Antoine Dansaert (Antoine Dansaertstraat), to the physically imposing Stock Exchange (Bourse / Beurs) - this is the best place to start exploring the city.

  • Ixelles - Elsene - A vibrant part of town with a high concentration of restaurants, bars and other services to satisfy the good-looking or the heavy-spending. Some wandering about will reveal small bookshops, affordable ethnic restaurants or independent record shops tucked away in side streets. The Matongé district just off Chaussée d'Ixelles is the city's main african neighbourhood.

  • Marolles - Marollen - Not a municipality, but a neighbourhood (part of Bruxelles - Brussel) close to the city's heart. Although this was one of the few places where the Brussels dialect could still be heard this is increasingly rare nowadays. The area is best known for the flea market held daily on the Place du Jeu de Balle (Vossenplein) as well as a plethora of shops selling everything from old radios and bent wipers to fine china and expensive art nouveau knick-knacks. Visit on Saturdays or Sundays.

  • Saint-Gilles - Sint-Gillis - The city's bohemian epicentre with thriving French, Portuguese, Spanish, Maghrebi and Polish communities. The area around the Parvis de St-Gilles (St-Gillisvoorplein) is the arty part, with the area around the Chatelain and the Church of the Holy Trinity being decidedly more yuppified. Like Schaerbeek, Saint-Gilles boasts several art nouveau and Haussmann-style buildings.

  • St-Josse - Sint-Joost - The smallest and poorest commune not just in Brussels but in Belgium, this predominantly Turkish commune might not always be too pleasing on the eye but does have a few small, welcoming streets. The mid-part of the Chaussée de Louvain is also home to a relatively small Indo-Pakistani community, so this is the place to head to for a tikka masala.

  • Schaerbeek - Schaarbeek - While there might be little of immediate interest in this commune to the casual visitor, it does host some very ornate art nouveau buildings. The Chaussée de Haecht is also the heart of Brussels' vast Turkish neighbourhood and has more Turkish restaurants than you can shake a pide at.

  • Jette - Jette, together with Koekelberg and Ganshoren, are three communes in the north-west of Brussels. These green(-ish), mainly residential communes house the Basilica of Koekelberg on their shared territory.

  • Uccle - Ukkel - Brussels' poshest commune. Green, bourgeois and starched like all posh communes should be. Uccle has, however, retained many of its charming medieval cul-de-sacs, tiny squares and small townhouses as has nearby Watermael-Boitsfort (Watermaal-Bosvoorde).

  • Molenbeek - That's Molenbeek-St-Jean (or Sint-Jans-Molenbeek) to you. A commune with an overwhelmingly large Moroccan, and lately, Romanian population. With a reputation for being insalubrious, if not downright dangerous, this is a place few locals venture to - let alone tourists.

  • WSP/WSL - Woluwé-Saint-Pierre and Woluwé-Saint-Lambert are two communes at the eastern end of the city. Not particularly attractive or cheap, but well-loved by Eurocrats and other professional types. Mainly residential with clusters of mid-rise apartment blocks dominating the skyline (in parts). The vast Wolubilis cultural complex is well worth a visit.

 

 


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