I was recently back in Brussels for the second time. The first was in 1974, when I was here studying European Government and Politics with a student group while in College. I had been reading about some of the museums, hotels and restaurants so I wanted to check it out for Globalphile.com. Here are my suggestions of what I found:
Place du Grand Sablon: A great square with several antiques stores, chocolate makers and cafes. I tried a few pieces of French and Belgian chocolate from two of the stores. Alex and Alex chocolates, at Rue de la Paille 32, were excellent.
Grand Place: This is, in my opinion, one of the best squares in all of Europe. It is touristy, but there is great architecture and many cafes outlining the square. A must when you are in Brussels.
Mont des Arts Kunstberg: This is a must while in Brussels. Just a short walk from the Place du Grand Sablon and the Grand Place, this is an area of several museums, outdoor sculptures including one I like by Calder, art shops and restaurants. I started at the Musee Magritte Museum which is a great museum that has many paintings by, and papers and photographs of, the well-known Belgian surrealist artist.
Next to the Musee Magritte is the Musee Old Masters Museum. Here you will see great works from the 15th t0 18th centuries including the Dutch and Flemish Artists, Van Dyck, Rubens, Bosch and Bruegel (my favorites). You should also check out the Modern Museum that has re-opened after an extensive renovation.
Across the street from the Magritte Museum is MIM or the Musical Instrument Museum. Here you will find interesting exhibitions plus a great restaurant on the top floor of this beautiful Art Nouveau building with a spectacular outdoor terrace overlooking the city. This is a perfect spot for lunch.