Take a walk with Prom #2
Let’s put on our walking shoes again and follow the new itinerary Prom made just for us. This time, we’ll discover the Sablon and Louise areas. Traditionally known for their luxurious shops, fancy hotels and gastronomic restaurants, you’ll get to see that there’s way more to these neighbourhoods than meets the eye.
This walk takes us along the prettiest streets, passing by historical and architectural highlights and even Audrey Hepburn’s birth place. In case you get hungry on the way, we’ll stop by two Maison Dandoy boutiques! You can follow the itinerary on this page below or download it straight into your phone’s Google Maps here.
1. Place Poelaert
The starting point for this walk is Place Poelaert. Welcome to one of the best spots to admire Brussels! In Summer, you can ride the Ferris wheel here (for just 8 euros!) to get an even better view of the city, from the Koekelberg basilica all the way to the atomium. If you’re the type of person who prefers to keep their feet firmly on the ground, you can chill at Coucou, a little cabin that offers drinks and deckchairs.
2. Brussels Courthouse
Can you see the huge building covered in scaffolding? That's the Brussels Courthouse. It was designed by the architect Joseph Poelart and built in the second half of the 19th century under the reign of Leopold II. Admission is free and you’d be missing out if you didn't enter it to appreciate its many beautiful architectural elements.
The building suffered so much damage during World War II that it was repaired and restored in 1948. Scaffolding for a further renovation was installed 2005 yet progress has been slow. So slow in fact, that the scaffolding itself had to be restored a decade later. A never ending story, très à la belge...
3. Café des Minimes
Return your focus to the view. See a deck leading to a lift? Take this lift down to the Marolles, a popular, historical neighbourhood. As you come out of the elevator, take your right to rue des Minimes. At number 60, you’ll find Café des Minimes with its nice big terrace and beautiful trees. Ideal to enjoy a glass during a warm summer evening. Be sure to try their Pinot Gris or the Belgian bubbles called Mathilde.
4. Sorry We’re Closed
After a fine glass or two, you’ll be able to admire some contemporary art at number 39 on the same street. Here you’ll find the art gallery “Sorry We’re Closed”, and it might just be open. Created by Sebastien Janssen, this space of 130 m2 showcases budding artists from Belgium and beyond. The exhibitions are varied: solo exhibitions of the resident artists as well as group exhibitions and special projects such as editing artists jewels or vernacular photography.
5. Church Notre-Dame de la Chapelle
Double back on yourself to take a right onto rue du Temple, then the second right onto rue Haute. If you feel like walking more than the present itinerary, you can continue down the whole street to discover most of Brussels' antiquaires. If not, just take the first left onto rue de Notre-Seigneur then the first right onto rue Blaes. You’ll quickly arrive at place de la Chapelle where the church Notre-Dame de la Chapelle stands, one of Brussel’s oldest monuments. Although it went through many destruction and reconstruction phases, there is written evidence that a chapel existed here as early as 1134.
6. Pois Chiche
At number 15, you can enjoy a vegetarian friendly meal at Pois Chiche, a delicious Lebanese and Mediterranean restaurant. We recommend the Chef’s plate: a delicious combination of eggplant and egg mimosa.
7. Cave 1929
Join rue Haute and keep straight until you arrive at rue de Rollebeek and take your right. Do you like alcohol and valuable advice on what to drink? Then stop at number 38 (yes, it’s an order). The owner and his employees, all smiling connoisseurs, will listen to your tastes and can adapt to any budget. For wine and whisky lovers, this shop will feel like home. Didn’t plan on leaving with several bottles? Don’t worry, you’ll be able to find something to celebrate!
Spoiler : next stop is a Dandoy boutique so you might want to ask for a drink that goes well with speculoos ;)
8. Maison Dandoy - Sablon
At number 50, you’ll find Maison Dandoy. Isn’t it time for a little treat? To keep it light, we recommend our Pain d’amande, it’s a wafer thin speculoos with toasted almonds. Sounds as delicious as it is! If you’re not already a loyal customer, you may not know that Maison Dandoy was created before Belgium itself. The recipes for our famous biscuits have been passed between generations since 1829. Alexandre and Antoine Helson, the last Dandoy members to have integrated the family business, are the 7th generation. Yes you read correctly, they’re the great-great-great-great-grandsons of Jean-Baptiste Dandoy, the baker who initially opened a little boutique in the heart of Brussels.
9. Claire Fontaine
At the end of this street, you’ll reach Place du Grand Sablon. Go up and turn right onto rue Ernest Allard. Just at the beginning, at number 3, you’ll find a lovely tile-floored delicatessen filled with the tasty fragrances of spices. Claire, the owner, makes sandwiches and cooks homemade dishes to take away. We warn you though: even if you’re only a bit hungry, it will be difficult to leave without a bag filled with good products.
10. Petit Sablon
Go back to Place du Grand Sablon and keep going until you reach the back of the church. Cross rue de la Régence and you’ll arrive at Place du Petit Sablon. It’s a small yet impressive park with a little fountain topped by a big statue. We introduce you to the Earls/Counts of Egmont and Horn, two heroic Belgian figures from the 16th century, sentenced to death by the King of Spain for rebelling against the rules of his Kingdom. Initially this statue stood at the Grand-Place in front of the Musée de la ville de Bruxelles,where the stage used to beheading the counts stood. As rearranging monuments is a specialty of Brussels urbanism, it was moved to Petit Sablon in 1879.
11. Egmont Park
At the end of the park, take your right to rue aux Laines and then your first left into Egmont Park. Here is the perfect spot to lie on the grass while eating your Pain d’amandes, if you haven’t devoured them all yet. The park is full of nice statues. Try and find the “passage Marguerite Yourcenar”, a stone wall named after and dedicated to the Brussels born writer featuring 14 quotes from her impressive works. Did you know that as late as 1980, she was the first woman ever to be nominated at the famous Académie Française?There’s a beginning for everything...
12. Gladstone Gallery
When leaving the passage, take your left onto rue du Grand Cerfand take a look inside the Gladstone Gallery at number 12. Based in New-York and Brussels, Gladstone exhibits reputed artists like Keith Haring. Entering this gallery is always surprising as the mansion completely transforms itself for each exhibition. Leaving the gallery, take your left to reach Boulevard de Waterloo and cross it. Once on the other side (which oddly has its own name: avenue de la Toison d’or) go left to continue your journey.
13. Bogart Foodies Corner
If you please, you may like to window shop your way up the road. Take a right into rue des Drapiers just before the Apple shop. At number 10, you can get a coffee at Buddy Buddy and take a look at their fine interior design. Take your next left on rue de Stassart and then right on rue Keyenveld. At number 20, you’ll find the brand new Bogart Foodies Corner. Formerly a jazz club, it is now an Italian cantina and has quickly made a name for itself. If it's getting late in the day and you were planning to have a fine dinner somewhere, this could be the place. We recommend their original take on tiramisu. We won’t say anymore so as not to spoil the surprise.
14. Audrey Hepburn
Continue walking down to number 48 and you’ll find a sign that’s worth reading. Yes, Audrey Hepburn was born here on May 4th, 1929. If we could have a say on where to be born, I wouldn’t have said no to this idyllic paved street with plants everywhere, would you have?
15. Senteurs d’Ailleurs
Take your next left on rue du Prince Royal until you reach Senteurs d’Ailleurs. There are two shops: an institute dedicated to skincare and another specialized in perfume. You’ll find a large and wisely picked selection of products. The vendors are all experts in their field and will introduce you to the bathroom product you never knew you needed, or help you select the perfect gift for an upcoming birthday.
16. Maison Dandoy - Louise
You’re now at Place Stephanie and across the street you’ll find another Maison Dandoy boutique. Have a look inside, it’s very different from the one you saw at Sablon. This boutique opened right after our rebrand in 2011. Our boxes weren’t always decorated with these dazzling golden dots. Base Design agency designed our refreshed identity as well as this shop. Notice the huge marble counter, the coffee corner, and the ice cream booth outside with deckchairs in Summer. Every detail considered to curate a brilliant experience!
On the other side of Place Stephanie, right next to the tram stop, you’ll see Bellerose, another totally Belgian brand. We collaborated with them to create a giant speculoos paired with a wooden hammer (to break chunks of crunchy speculoos) complete with a Bellerose apron to keep you from getting too dirty in the process.Inside the shop, you’ll immediately notice a really nice fragrance. That’s the Bellerose signature perfume and you can treat yourself to a small scented candle version of it. This is the biggest Bellerose shop in Belgium, consisting of several floors filled with women, men and children’s collections.
As you leave the shop, take a first into rue Dejoncker. The walk is drawing to a close so if you want to finish with a nice dinner, you can stop at number 50 and experience the concept of « anh nhau », a Vietnamese style of drinking and eating. The menu is composed of small and large plates to share and eat with chopsticks. Big plus: it’s spacious and the seats are very comfy.
If you’re visiting Brussels for a few days and are in search of typical Belgian cuisine, you can also choose to eat at L’inattendu, which is behind the Brussels Courthouse, where we began the walk. It’s located at rue de Wynants 13 and the menu is full of local specialties and of course, Belgian beers.
That’s it! You’re back at Place Poelaert. We hope that you love our favorite spots of the neighbourhood as much as we do. If you enjoyed it and would like to put on your walking shoes for another walk, you will find our city guide of Central Brussels here!
Share your walk and tag us @maisondandoy and @prom.brussels !