- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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, 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.
- 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).
- 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.
- 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.