Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Brussels, the Capital of Europe


Brussels is truly a world city. And like Luxembourg, it is also many different cities. There are the historic areas, like the Grand Place, which I think is without a doubt one of the most impressive spaces in the world. There are also the cathedrals, palaces, and fabulous galleries.

But, as the principal capital of Europe, it is also a modern city, with a lot of glass towers designed by some of Europe’s top architects. We stayed in Brussels on two different occasions, in two different hotels in two very different neighbourhoods. For our first visit, we stayed at Le Plaza, a grand hotel on a major street near the main shopping and historic areas. For our second visit, we stayed in a smaller boutique hotel (with the same sound track as John Evan’s Opus Hotel) on Louisa Avenue, a more upscale shopping, office and residential area with many parks.

Highlights of our time in Brussels were tours of the buildings including the many Art Nouveau structures; the museums, including the new Magritte Museum; and somewhat surprisingly, the Atomium, which was the Belgian Pavilion at the 1958 Brussels World Fair.

Sally thought Brussels was a city where we could live. It is very cosmopolitan, centrally located to many parts of Europe, and while there is too much graffiti in some areas, there are lots of magnificent areas, beautiful parks and very good restaurants. Many very good restaurants.

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