A fan of cute cobbled streets as far as the eye can see?Looking for cafes that will make the Instagram feed green with jealousy? A serious chocoholic? Then Brussels, Belgium is screaming your name.
Having not heard too much about the French speaking city before visiting, I was pleasantly surprised with what I came across. With my dad living in the capital throughout the week for work purposes, it was the perfect excuse for the family to kickstart Christmas festivities and spend three days on a jolly stuffing our faces with waffles.
The first day we arrived in the evening so there was little time to do much else other than eat. Wandering down Avenue Louise lit up by twinkling Christmas lights, we were on route to the best Chinese I have ever eaten and coming from a girl that’s had her fair share of Asian takeaways, I don’t give away five stars to just anyone. Dam Sum in Parvis de la Trinité is well worth the trip and if anything else, the decor is Insta – gold!
The next day we were up at the crack of dawn, well 9:30 am, and ready to hit the streets. No Norris family trip is complete without a day of shopping and let me tell you Brussels holds up in that department. We blitzed down Avenue Louise and Rue de Neuve, the two main shopping areas and Place du Petit – Sablon, a street full of every type of chocolate under the sun (in other words, heaven) until our feet dropped us into the pretty pink chairs of Love Ciabatta for a well deserved lunch and caffeine fix. Dawdling along the road post lunch with a bread food baby firmly expanding, we came across Mont des Arts, a view point over the city looking down over the spectacular Grande Platz and Brussels town hall. In this area there are also a collection of trees with white painted trunks, a prime Insta spot if you know what I’m saying!
By now it was getting dark and this only meant one thing; rushing to the Grande Platz to witness the most beautiful light show I’ve ever seen. Chocolate covered waffle in hand I spent the next twenty minutes standing in the middle of a square walled by beautiful buildings being lit up to the beats of Sia’s Christmas album. After the light show had ended it was time to seek out a gluhwein and head home to defrost after standing in minus degree weather.
Our last day began with a yummy breakfast in Le Pain Quotidan down the street from the apartment. This was the day we spontaneously decided to venture out to Antwerp, a pretty town much the same as Brussels; cobbled everything and architecture to die for. The only problem with this plan was the rain that rudely poured down from the moment we pulled into the town in the car, so needless to say, that trip was cut short and it was back to Brussels to enjoy another Christmas market before heading back to the UK.
The final market we went to was a massive spread at Marche aux Poissons in Place Sainte- Catherine. This one is a little tricker to find, so having a wee bit of data on the iPhone wouldn’t go amiss here. Rows and rows of little stalls lined the square with the most delicious smells wafting through the whole market. This one was the best by far so be sure to check it out if you’re in the city over the Christmas holidays.
And just like that the trip was over! I hoped on the Eurostar from Gare de Bruxelles – Midi Station Brussels – Zuid back to Ebbsfleet and my pending university degree. As an avid moocher of little holidays, I’d give Brussels a solid 9/10. As far as European cities go, I think it’s a must see. You can’t beat the prettiness of the streets and endless stumbles across hidden squares with picturesque cafes and beautifully kept pathways. If you haven’t already booked your ticket, I suggest you tear your eyes away from Netflix and hop to it!