Getting to know St-Géry and St. Catherine

St-Géry used to be an island, until the Senne river was covered up in the 19th century. But this appealing quarter of Brussels has a self-contained, village-like atmosphere.  Along with its neighbour, St. Catherine, the area has its own dynamic hum and pulse. It’s a place of excellent fish restaurants, hip bars, lavish Flemish Baroque architecture and street markets.

Centred on St-Géry square, St-Géry’s Halles St-Géry’s old market hall is now a hub of lively bars and street-food shacks – they’re joined by the square’s other bars (such as welcoming Mappa Mundo and Zebra) to create the epicentre of al fresco drinking in spring and summer.Brussels_Sight_SaintGery-5Rue Antoine Dansaert is a scruffy street lined with some of the most exciting fashion boutiques in the country – not least the inspired creations of Stijl (74 Rue Antoine Dansaert) and Kat en Muis (35 Rue du Vieux Marche aux Grains) – adults and kids catered for in equal measures. Ready for lunch? Comocomo (19 rue Antoine Dansaert) serves northern Spanish cuisine as fresh as you’d get in San Sebastian. Or, for a quick coffee and snack try Hotel Orts Cafe (38 rue Auguste Orts), a little Belle Epoque gem.

Stijl Shop, Brussels

If Art Deco’s your thing, stop by Les Precieuses – crammed with accessories and homewares way too tempting to leave behind. Or, perhaps a drink in the jazz-tastic L’Archiduc (6 rue Antoine Dansaert) – frequented, at one time or another, by Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett – it’s a mirrored, wood-panelled beauty.Brussels_Sight_SaintGery-1Rue des Chartreux continues the charm offensive with ease. Gabriele Vintage (27 Rue des Chartreux) positively dazzles with its elegant 1920s dresses, hats and jewels, while the menswear at Hunting and Collecting (17 rue des Chartreux) is pin sharp.Brussels_Sight_SaintGery-2Continue your explorations in neighbouring St. Catherine, with its fountains, squares and higgledy-piggledy streets, centred on Rue Sainte-Catherine, home to quirky shops and interesting buildings. Eat at Jack O’Shea Chophouse (32 Rue Sainte-Catherine) for wonderfully dry-aged steaks. Drink at Au Daringman (37 Rue de Flandre), a buzzy ‘brown’ bar attracting an engaging clientele, and shop at Bel’Arte (53 Rue de Flandre) for original ceramics, prints and jewellery.

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