Brussels, the capital city of Belgium, is a European melting pot of cultures and people from all over the world. Walking along its streets, you will immediately feel a vibrant atmosphere characterized by the presence of thousands of students and tourists.
In this article, we will discover the most interesting spots in the unspoiled south of Brussels (Bruxelles). We have suggested an itinerary for a typical day in Ixelles, a wide district located in the south of Brussels, This area could be indicated for you if you want to experience a sparkling student’s area in Brussels full of pubs, clubs and a vivid music scene.
The starting point: a special breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien
What could be better than beginning our little day trip with a complete and delicious breakfast?
Located in the Ixelles Cemetery rotary (Chaussée de Boondael, 479) you will find a very special place: Le Pain Quotidien. As this picture suggests, the main product of this nice bakery is its bread, all from organic, stone-ground wheat. Here you can experience organic bread in different shapes and tastes, served with organic jams, chocolate and hazelnut cream or high quality ham and cheese. At Le Pain Quotidien, you will also find a wide variety of teas and coffees. Here the prices are a bit higher than the Brussels standards (around 10 USD, 10 EUR for a complete breakfast), but if you’re not traveling alone, you can also share one of its delicious and rich meals.
Le Pain Quotidien first opened in Brussels in 1990 and in few years it become a brand of quality and taste all over the world.
Discover Place Flagey, a favorite student spot
Place Flagey is the beating heart of the whole Ixelles district, a place where students and the young population of Brussels meet daily. The square itself is the biggest in the city, and it is really well connected to the city center by several buses. After a delicious breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien you can start your visit in this area.
A 2 minute walk from the Place Flagey you will find the famous Ixelles Ponds (Etangs d'Ixelles), take some pictures of its vegetation and fauna! Facing Place Flagey, you will also find the Church of Saint Croix (Eglise de la Sainte-Croix).
Flagey square gives his name also to a vibrant cultural scene located in La Maison de la Radio. The art decò building shown in the picture above nowadays hosts the Brussels Philharmonic Orchestra and several cultural events during the year as such as jazz concerts, classical music concerts, plays and many others.
Have a beer in a popular bar in Ixelles
The Ixelles Cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in the city and an area located close its main entrance.You could probably be invited by someone to have a beer at Cemetery, don’t be scared in that case, for the people living in the Ixelles Cemetery it’s not merely a graveyard but also a famous namesake area located in its nearby. The colorful street in the picture (Avenue de la Couronne), slightly reminiscent of London’s Camden Town, leads to the Ixelles rotary and entrance to the cemetery. Thanks to the presence of the campus of U.L.B (Université Libre de Bruxelles) and V.U.B. Vrije Universiteit Brussel, this area is constantly full of students from all over the world. For this reason, you can find several cafes and pubs where you can drink a terrific local beer or eat some typical Belgian fries. The pale blue and black building in the picture above is one of the most popular pubs in this area: El Cafe on Avenue de la Couronne. Here you can always see some students chatting inside or outside the pub. Go inside and experience one of the excellent local beers as such as a Duvel, Chouffe, or my favorite, a Chimay.
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Explore an unspoiled area in the south of Brussels
If you are looking for a place free from the streams of tourists, the Ixelles district is the right area for you. Here you can experience a bit of student life and visit nice buildings and areas as such as the Etangs d'Ixelles, Maison de la Radio, Cimetière d'Ixelles and several Art Nouveau buildings. If you are based in the city center, you can easily reach Ixelles by the public transportation: bus lines (95, 71) for about 20/30 minutes.
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