Why to visit Brussels in autumn

Autumn is here!

You know what that means?

Whole temperate zone, including Brussels, is covered in incredible mesmerizing colours and breath-taking views! The city glows up, once again, with details, shades and inspiring landscapes that are just waiting for us, wanderlusts, to see, experience (and catch) them. And a good cup of tea (or Belgian beer – thats just up on you) is a must-have, of course!


  • As always, let’s start with the parks!

Whether you go biking, horse riding, running or simply photo hunting, Fôret des Soignes is the perfect place to get lost and enjoy the colours this fall. With nearly five hectares, the forest spreads from Flemish to Wallonian regions. Some of the oak and beech trees are more than 200 years old! The well-known urban park Bois de la Cambre is basically a lateral part of it.

Brussels’ parks are all beautiful in the autumn, but theres something special about the Park Royale. Nothing signals autumn in Brussels like crunching through the leaves and kicking fallen chestnuts in there. This small park is located between the Royal Palace and the Belgian Parliament buildings and is a favourite place for office workers at lunchtime. The park was built in the late 1700s, where the gardens of the former Palace of Coudenberg once stood. Dotted around the park are various statues and fountains and a beautiful cast iron bandstand. Its also home to concerts and art installations throughout the year; and joggers who circle all around the parks paths and dog-walkers with their darlings.

Or you can head outside the city centre, to the commune of Tervuren, for one of the most beautiful parks near Brussels. Just behind the Royal Museum for Central Africa is a huuge Tervuren garden. Joggers and walkers frequent the network of paths through the forest and lakes are populated with fishermen on weekends. The park is home to the largest Flemmish Giant Redwood tree and there is a good deal of wildlife inhabiting the lake and trees. Its particularly lovely in this time of the year, as the leaves are changing their colours and crackle under your shoes.

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Fôret des Soignes

 

  • Get into the Halloween mood!

Around Halloween, the spirits come out: mischievous or evil, they elude the witch’s stake or stick to the paws of spiteful cats and leave behind exhalations of mystery.

Follow their traces through the streets of Brussels, which are less innocent than they seem. All this livened up with breaks for particularly apt refreshments! Watch out for the gargoyles and for the bloody stories vampires love. Don’t forget your lanterns and your rabbit’s feet to make sure you reach the end of this wicked walk alive!

  1. Search for lost skulls at the Halloween Festival, from 27 October to 4 November 2018! All sorts of monsters will scurry about in the Musée d’Art Fantastique in Brussels.
  2. The Hard Rock Cafe is once again hosting one of its traditional breakfasts, Lil Monsters Ball-Spooky Breakfast. Enjoy a family moment in a Halloween setting on Sunday 28 October from 9.30am to 11.30am.
  3. The inhabitants of the Kingdom of Val need your help to thwart the Machiavellian plans of the terrible witch! If you fancy adventure, and you are in search of thrills and dizzying ziplines, be sure to visit the adventure park Sortilèges.
  4. Celebrate the most terrifying evening of the year as it ought to be celebrated, by taking part in the special Halloween Party hosted by Hard Rock Café Brussels. On the programme: a make-up artist for customers who want their face painted, a magical show during the meal, DJ sets and costume competitions with prizes at stake!
  5. The vampire teeth, the cape of count Dracula, witches’ brooms and lots and lots of blood. Essential accessories (and much more) can be found in Palais des Cotillons and Picard megafun partystore.

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Definitely not my photo. Is it only me, or you find carving pumpkins (and eventually failing) so irritating, too?

 

  • Have a much needed cup of warm beverage

On an island right in the middle of the Bois de la Cambre lake, Chalet Robinson will delight grown-ups and little ones alike. Warm yourself up in a charming setting with an uninterrupted view of nature, while enjoying a hot chocolate or a Brussels waffle; or relax over a dinner with friends.

Whether you are pleasure-loving or nature-loving, youll find plenty to make you happy at the Lodge, a restaurant/bar/club in Watermael-Boitsfort, one of the greenest communes in Brussels. You can also taste the brasserie cuisine in a house at the edge of a pond, in a little corner of paradise tucked away in the city.

Do you fancy a unique gastronomic experience in a cosy, intimate atmosphere? The Cabane du Fou in Uccle is just like your childhood tree-house, actually perched in a tree, and entered by climbing a wooden ladder. For those who prefer big tables packed with merry, singing people, the Fou Chantant restaurant is a unique structure, where a friendly, musical, festive atmosphere reigns just below the Cabane du Fou.

The Maison Renardy was founded in 1912 and has been offering a wide choice of teas, coffees, chocolate, bread, pastries and confectionery ever since.

Just opposite the Manneken Pis, you will find the Poechenellekelder, a genuine medieval hostelry where you can get together with your friends for a drink. In the past, the building was the meeting place for several guilds, and conspirators of all kinds.

A sumptuous Art Nouveau café next to the Bourse, Le Cirio is a real period café where you can imagine meeting Hercule Poirot the detective, while you enjoy your “half and half”, the house speciality.

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  • Cant forget about the waffles!

Regardless of whether you have a sweet tooth or not, Belgian waffles are so good that they will make you consider not just travelling to Brussels but maybe even moving permanently! Every single visitor has commented how the air smells like waffles all around the city centre, so it’s practically impossible not to give in. Make sure to spot the little yellow waffle trucks or head directly to Maison Dandoy for the best gaufres in town.

IMG_1728IMG_1730Oreo on the left, Speculaas on the right!

 

  • Whats better than waffles? Chocolate!

 

If waffles did not convince you, then I’m sure Belgian chocolate will do the trick! Brussels will tempt you time and again with its chocolate shops, so this is the place to indulge. Browse the creations of famous chocolatiers (Laurent Gerbaud, Pierre Marcolini and Frederic Blondeel for example), buy some for your loved ones and make sure to learn how to make your own chocolate next to the masters.

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  • Or just get a beer. You know.

Belgians love their beer (who doesnt?) and Brussels is an ideal place both for beer experts and travellers who are curious to discover more about it. There’s a beer for every taste and countless bars around town where you can get a pint, like Moeder Lambic on Place Fontainas, A la Mort Subite but you can also go directly to the source and visit some of the local breweries like the Brussels Beer ProjectBrasserie Cantillon or En Stoemelings. Feel free to enjoy different kinds of beer and don’t worry – it’s always beer o’clock in Belgium, hih.

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  • See museums from a different perspective

From September 13 to December 6 2018, the Brussels Museums Nocturnes offer to discover 73 Brussels museums in a completely different way. Every Thursday evening, 5 to 8 museums invite you to explore Brussels as a city of neighborhoods, treasures and unexpected charms. For 13 weeks, a program of new exhibitions, workshops, music, food & drinks, guided tours and much more is set to soften the first signs of winter.

Just a couple of photos from the nocturnal city centre on the way to the hotel because I prefer sleep over museums. But arent these lights just amazing?

 

  • Last but not least…

Get pampered in a 40 minute massage for 10 euros only. In Brussels, you’re wondering? Yes, it’s possible at La Tricoterie, a restaurant/bar/cultural forum. Housed in an old factory in St. Gilles, the industrial décor is well present in this link factory. Spacious and luminous, the building has three storeys and a large terrace where they grow fresh herbs to season the food. The concept is not new but it’s promising: from Sunday brunch with the family, to late hour parties, there are also workshops, conversation tables, yoga, swing dancing and massages. Basically everything you can think of. What a good business, right?

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I really liked this city, but it still didnt have enough of charm to convince me to put it on the 1st rank in my so-called “List of beautiful places”. Amsterdam is still in the leading position!

A BONUS:

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Hanging Christmas décor in early October, who wouldve expected that?

Have a great day!

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