Want a guided tour without being shepherded around with a group of camera-totin’ tourists? We’ve asked Brussels resident, Pauline Miko, to plan a route into the heart and soul of her city…
Pauline Miko: Let’s say it’s Saturday and I’m not too tired from Friday night. This would be my ultimate Brussels day. I’d start mid-morning, by walking up Rue Antoine Danseart to go window shopping until I reach my two favorite vintage shops: Isabelle Bajart (25 Rue des Chartreux 1000) and Think Twice (57 Rue du vieux Marché aux Grains 1000). Around 1:30 I’d stop by Les Filles (46 Rue du vieux Marché aux Grains 1000) to have a proper, filling lunch.
Then, I’d go to The Game to check out the latest Belgian designers’ creations and then to Veal and Geeks to buy some records. I’d cross the Recylart (an old train station transformed into a night hang out spot, pop-up galleries and concert venue) to reach Les Marolles, my favorite neighborhood in Brussels. I’d stop by Le marché des Tanneurs to buy myself a delicious organic apple and then I’d walk the entire Rue Haute for some more shopping (without forgetting to check out Brut Shop, selling vintage plants and furniture).
When I’d reach Porte de Halle (one of the old doors originally surrounding the city of Brussels), I’d walk up to the Parvis de Saint Gilles to have a nice refreshing beer at La Maison du Peuple (39 Parvis de Saint-Gilles 1060). Around 4:30 I’d go to the great Tipi Bookshop to see the latest, finest and best photography books.
Then I’d take the rocking and old school Tram 81 until the Moris stop to have a take away matcha tea at Parlor Coffee (203 Chaussée de Charleroi 1060). Then I’d walk Rue du Bailli, where I’d stop at the unpretentious Supra Bailly (77 Rue du Bailli 1050) to meet up with some friends.
After a couple of beers, we’d go down to Flagey to eat a delicious burger with fries at Les super filles du tram (22 Rue Lesbroussart 1050). If the restaurant is too busy, Frit Flagey (the best frit kot in town selling real Belgian fries) is totally an option.
We’d then take the Bus 71 or 38 back to the city centre to see a concert at Beurschouwburg (Rue August Orts 1000) and have some more drinks at Le Cafe Central (14 Borgwal 1000) or stretch the day right into Sunday morning, dancing at Bonnefooi (8 Rue des Pierres 1000).
That’s a heavy day, and quite a lot of walking, but it’s totally doable – and, for me, the very best of my home city!
Pauline Miko, born and based in Brussels is a photographer, videographer and concert organizer. Her artistic work explores the theme of memory through the photographic medium (www.paulinemiko.com).