A few months ago, I published a little about why I love Brussels. I hope that post piqued your interest in the capital of Europe; it’s a really great town. Now that I’ve seen it dressed up for Christmas, there is even more reason to love it.
The Grande Place in her Christmas finery is fantastic. We are not going to talk about the “tree” that was placed there this year, except to say that it wasn’t a real one, it didn’t even pretend to look like a real one, and it was placed by Electrabel, the local electric company. That last fact should give you your first clue as to its appropriateness. It was removed by New Years’ Eve, in spite of the fact that all the other decorations are left until the Feast of the Epiphany, January Sixth; that should give you a second clue. Suffice to say, everyone I spoke with thought the same thing about it: a fake tree in such an ancient location, amidst those old and beautiful buildings? But that was a small mark on an otherwise beautiful face.
Brussels’ creche is famous for its beauty. At Christmas, in the shadow of the old buildings, appear a stable and life-sized figures.
The Grande Place isn’t all that looks beautiful. The Bourse is the stock exchange, or at least it was, until everything started being traded online. Now there are exhibits there, and for all I know, they still do stock exchanging there! I just know it’s a beautiful old building, even without the Christmas lights. Light it up, and it simply takes your breath away.
The city streets are beautifully attired. Depending on where you go, the lights may be all white, or they may be in colors. In the old city, they tend to be colorful. The street below leads to the Grande Place.
Then in the newer sections of town, the lights tend to be white, although I’m not sure they all are. Here, near La Bourse, big white “bells” suspend over the street. A symmetrical, aesthetic delight.
There are several different Christmas markets throughout the city. The one visible from the top of Parking 58, located on Sainte Catherine Square, is an attention get-ter.
Speaking of parking, if you want a good view of Brussels from above, head to the top of Parking 58, accessed from just down the street from La Bourse, then left. 360 degree views, depending on the weather. On this particular night it was clear enough for me to get a relatively focused shot of the Atomium, located way on the outskirts of town.
Lest I forget (and how could I?), the shop windows at Christmas are lovely. The chocolate shops in particular go all-out for the season.
La Galerie de la Reine is one of several small shopping galleries near the Grande Place. These buildings are old, but not ancient. Not to be outdone by the shops inside, they dress up, too.
And one must never forget the iconic symbol of Brussels.
Like I’ve said before, you gotta love a city whose symbol is a little boy peeing. I don’t know why he is naked on this cold, cold day. He has hundreds of outfits stashed away in the Maison du Roi on the Grande Place. (He really does; I’ve seen them. He even has an Elvis outfit!)
And of course, there must be equal rights for peeing dog statues. Have I said how much I love Brussels? Oh, yeah, I guess I did. Well, just in case…I really love Brussels. Who wouldn’t?