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Brussels top

Great cities thrive on pushing the edge in architecture, the arts, commerce, and technology. On any great city square, you can feel the vitality of the self-assured urbanites. Rich or poor, they seem to carry on confidently in the midst of what a stranger may take to be chaos.

It’s a city that’s 1,000 years old, headquarters to NATO, a legendary magnet for writers and artists, and oh, yes, it’s the capital of a country known for chocolates. Brussels takes pride in its hospitality and Belgians take pride in their capitol.


For information about getting around Brussels, visit out www.acl.be. For information about Belgium in general, check out www.visitbelgium.com and www.trabel.com.


The Grand Place top

The heart of this city is the Grand Place and the very best place to start.

Set in Brussel’s Lower Town, this is one of Europe’s most beautiful town squares. The medieval setting lends a dramatic backdrop to this hub of international politics. Today, the European Commission, NATO, and the Council of Ministers of the European Union all call Brussels “Home.” On the 400-year old guild houses, each façade is different—a hand-crafted legacy of past artisans and merchants.

In 1695, all but one of the original buildings crumpled under torrential bombing by Louis Fourteenth. Miraculously, this fourteenth century structure survived. The Gothic Town Hall or Hotel de Ville is the city’s showpiece. And we’re in the right place—the Tourist Information Office is in the Town Hall—you’ll need a map to plan the day.


For more information about the Grand Place, visit www.trabel.com. For an interactive map and virtual tour of Brussels' historical center, check out www.ilotsacre.be.


Belgian Center For Comic Strip Art top

At our first stop, the Art Nouveau architecture gets my attention. The Grand Magasin Waucquex (say Mag-a-san Woo-kay) building offers a prime example of open space created by light and glass and wrought iron. Designed in 1906, the structure has evolved from department store to enchanting city museum.

VO Within its airy pockets sits the Belgian Center for Comic Strip Art, starring Tintin, beloved reporter and quick-trick artist and his furry pal Snowy —both always in trouble, both always escape. Here, visitors wander through Belgium’s comic-strip origins and lighter history. Even with JUST 24-hours, this museum is a must-see!


For more information about the Belgian Center for Comic Strip Art, visit www.awn.com.


Le Falstaff Restaurant top

Other Belgian specialties are profoundly edible. Two blocks from the Grand Place, the famous Butchers Street positions assertive waiters and competing stacks of sea life to lure you inside. Le Falstaff Restaurant offers the robustness of Shakespeare’s tale along with mounds of local mussels cooked in wine sauce, and served with piles of fries. The visitor’s dilemma lies in deciding which of the 300 Belgian beers should enhance the traditional meal.


For more information about Le Falstaff Restaurant, visit www.resto.be.


Belgian Chocolate top

...along with Belgian chocolates. This famous specialty offers instant energy for sightseeing, and, of course, each calorie evaporates when you leave the country!


For more information about Galler Chocolates, visit www.galler.com. For more information about Belgian chocolate, visit www.visitbelgium.com/chocol.htm. If you're intrigued by the idea of a glossary of chocolate terms, check out www.usatoday.com, and if you're interested in buying chocolate from other regions of the world, go to www.chocolatesource.com.


Interested in planning your vacation to Belgium?
Start your trip at
Expedia.com/Central Europe