Explore The Grand Place: An Astonishing First Impression Of Brussels

Explore The Grand Place: An Astonishing First Impression Of Brussels
Contributing Writer
| 3 min read

Brussels, the capital city of Belgium, is an elegant, multifaceted city. Walking along its streets, you will be easily impressed by its artistic features and its many different architectural styles.

The Lower Town of Brussels was its original settlement, and nowadays is a melting pot of streets and alleys dating back from the Middle Ages until the 18th century.

The pulsing heart of the Lower Town is the Grand Place, a beautiful architectural gem consisting of Gothic, Baroque and Flemish Renaissance artworks. Let’s dig into this unique masterpiece!

Admire Hotel de Ville, a beautiful town hall

explore the grand place: an astonishing first impression of brussels | admire hotel de ville, a beautiful town hall

The Grand Place, with its famous, large market was a vivid center of life for the citizens of Brussels throughout the centuries. Hotel de Ville was built with the precise function to serve as the civic center of the city, and nowadays still accomplishes its task. Located along the southwest side of the Grand Place, it is still a functioning civil building and the working town hall of Brussels.

Hotel de Ville was built between 1401 and 1455 as a consequence of the economical and political growth of the city. The facade is an explosion of details; you could admire its many features, such as its 137 statues adorning its walls and windows, for hours.

Jacques van Thienen was commissioned to design the left wing and the belfry of the building, while the tower and the spire were designed by Jan van Ruysbroeck. Look carefully at the belfry and notice its ornate columns, arcades, turrets and sculptures. Also on the belfry is a statue of St. Michael, the patron saint of the city.

You can also have a guided tour inside the building to admire tapestries and artworks of the 18th century. In this case, don’t miss the Aldermen’s Room, a council chamber that is still in use for meetings, which contains tapestries depicting the history of King Clovis, a Belgian regent during the 6th century.

Touch the Everard T’serclaes statue and bring yourself luck!

explore the grand place: an astonishing first impression of brussels | touch the everard t’serclaes statue and bring yourself luck!

Do you believe in bad and good luck? Are you superstitious? If so, here is your chance to close your eyes and make a wish. Maybe your dreams will come true! Indeed, it is a tradition of the citizens of Brussels to touch the bronze arm of the statue of Everard T’serclaes in hopes that your wishes will be granted.

Everard T’serclaes was a born in 1320 and was lord of Kruikenburg. He is famous for his courageous battle against the Flemish who seized Brussels in 1356. Indeed, this brave lord of the Middle Ages succeeded in his mission in freeing Brussels from neighboring strikes.

The statue was designed by Julien Dillens in the 19th century and it is located a few steps from the Grand Place on rue Charles Buls.

The Maison du Roi, a museum and architectural masterpiece

explore the grand place: an astonishing first impression of brussels | the maison du roi, a museum and architectural masterpiece

The beautiful Gothic masterpiece in the picture above is Maison du Roi, which literally means the “House of the King”. Maison du Roi was built in 1536 and redesigned in 1873, and nowadays hosts the Museum of the City of Brussels. Once home of the rulings Spanish monarchs in Belgium, this magnificent building hosts an incredibly wide collection dedicated to the history and folklore of Brussels.

Maison du Roi is located right in front of the Hotel de Ville. In order to highlight the contrast between municipal and ducal power, the building, in fact, was commissioned by the Duke of Brabant between 1504 and 1536. Maison du Roi and the Grand Place are listed as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Go inside and have a tour through tapestries, paintings, and many other artworks about the long history of Brussels.

Find all the curiosities of the Grand Place

explore the grand place: an astonishing first impression of brussels | find all the curiosities of the grand place

Although Hotel de Ville and Maison du Roi are the most visible and relevant monuments located in Grand Place, you should also have a look at the following places. I am sure you have heard about Victor Hugo’s, “The Hunchback of Notre-Dame”. Do you know that you can find Victor Hugo’s house in the Grand Place? Victor Hugo was exiled from France and moved to a building called Le Pigeon in Brussels in 1852. Nowadays, in the same building you can find Godiva Chocolatier, a refined chocolate shop. On the right side of the shop’s main entrance, you can also find a plaque in his honor.

Now go into the center of the square and look everywhere around you. You will easily be overwhelmed by the opulence of Grand Place. The complex of buildings in the picture above starting from the left, are: Le Renard, Le Cornet and Le Roi D'Espagne. Get closer and admire all the details of their facades!

Grand Place, a place of art and history

Visit all of Brussels’ alleys and churches by starting your tour in its most impressive square, the Grand Place. Here you can visit a museum and a city hall masterpiece, and admire beautiful examples of Gothic, Italian and Flemish architecture. You can also visit the Godiva chocolate shop located in the building called Le Pigeon, once home of the monumental writer Victor Hugo.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


Get Trip101 in your inbox

Unsubscribe in one click. See our Privacy Policy for more information on how we use your data

Meet Giuseppe, an Italian musician and avid traveler. Born in Sicily, he soaked in the rich history and breathtaking landscapes before moving to Rome at 17 to pursue Jazz music studies, culminating...Read more

 Want to contribute as a Local Expert?
Explore Brussels Region
Good things are meant to be shared!
Back to top