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An Art Lover's Guide To Brussels, Belgium

Travelers Today       By    Marc Delize

Updated: Jan 17, 2017 02:16 AM EST

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Brussel, Belgium's capital they say is full of contradictions. Even the landscape and language seem conflicted: part wistful art nouveau, part concrete functionality; French and Dutch. But boring? Never. Here are some art attractions in the city.

Most of Brussels's best attractions are within easy walking distance, according to Timeout. In the middle of the city, the theatrically carved guildhalls of the Grand Place is one of the world's great squares, particularly when lighted at night. Nearby, the tiny Mannekin Pis statue fails to interest confused tourists daily, while five minutes' walk going east lies Galeries Royales St-Hubert, Europe's first shopping arcade, opened in 1847, and the best spot for chocolate shopping in the capital.

Past Brussels Park, the city's finest art museums are changing, with the newly-opened Fin-de-Siècle and renovated Musée Oldmasters museums having largely displaced their Modern Art counterpart on Rue de la Régence as it awaits re-housing in 2017. Both are worth your time, as is the adjoining Magritte Museum, which chronicles the life and works of one of the city's most famous painter, the surrealist René Magritte.

Across the road lies what is left of the Coudenburg, the former royal palace, which was destroyed by fire in the early 18th century. Here you can visit the ruined foundations. Atop them now sits the rebuilt Royal Palace of Brussels. It is said that King Leopold II thought that the building was too modest and had it redecorated it with neoclassical zeal. Check out his handiwork in the Mirror Room, of which the ceiling is decorated in the wing casings of 1.4 million Thai jewel beetles.

On south-west of the palace lays the daily Marolles flea market on Place du Jeu de Balle. Here you'll find everything, and scouring its wares is one of the best ways to spend a morning in Brussels. Before it was home to old Bruxellois traders whose old French-Dutch-Spanish language rang out across the flagstones; today, the sellers come mostly from Turkey and North Africa. Yet it remains a symbol of the city, with locals engaged in a never-ending battle to halt gentrification. You can view a guide for Brussel's museums here.

See Now: The U.S. had the highest number of Most Wanted properties, dominating the Hotels.com Loved By Guests Awards 2018

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travel, tourists, tourist, Brussels, belgium, french, dutch, Europe
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