Brussels of tomorrow

Brussels mag N°17


10 unusual sites in brussels

text MB Caspers . photos Karel Duerinckx

René Magritte made it surreal, and the city’s many talented artists have rendered it out of the ordinary. Those special places that are out of sync and original make Brussels irresistible. Here is our other Brussels.

1- Aviasim

In full flight – Have you ever had the desire to take off while remaining firmly fixed to the ground in Brussels? Well, now AviaSim is launching in Brussels the first virtual flight simulator with as a destination 24,000 cities. After a 10-minute briefing from a professional pilot, you can take off to one of the 24,000 destinations on the list, with a 180° angle series of dials in front of you! Once you have selected your flight, with your right hand on the throttle lever for the fuel and the other hand on the controls, the plane will accelerate and take flight. The landing under real conditions indicates the end of the experience: the plane will slow down, the landing gear and flaps will come out, and the plane will descend towards the runway, with an announcement of the landing to the passengers.
Discovery pack from €99, a smile from the steward and the air hostess is included.


2- The Thierry Boutemy Boutique

A phantasmagorical universe – Known for his delicate wild flowers, the celebrity florist (despite himself) Thierry Boutemy has designed a boutique in his own image, brutal and different. A tunnel covered in cob leads you into his vegetation universe, peopled with American-Indian objects, small tableaux, poetic ceramics and other curiosities. It is simply a must to plunge into the universe of this naturalistic artist.
375 rue Vanderkindere, 1180 Uccle


3- Brussels Beer Bus

Special beers – Go back in time in a 1940 ambulance, entirely transformed into a travelling museum of unusual Brussels. Let yourself be led by a Brussels guide through the streets and around the capital’s emblematic monuments, while sampling Brussels’ different beers. Welcome aboard!


4- The New Chattouille

A hairy café – Far from Tokyo, which has no fewer than 60 cat bars, Saint-Gilles has its ‘New Chattouille’. Here, you can enjoy the scientifically proven benefits of purring therapy and spend several hours in contact with these feline creatures, on leaving, you will feel calmer and happier. When you visit the New Chatouille, you will have the opportunity to drink your coffee surrounded by a group of six cats. They are rescued cats that have been checked and are in good sanitary and veterinary order. It is perfectly permissible to fall for these creatures as these little balls of fluff can be adopted (under certain conditions) !
11 rue Tasson, 1060 Saint-Gilles


5- The Dieweg cemetery

Visiting the beyond – Obviously, there are more pleasant places to choose for a stroll, but with regard to cemeteries, the Dieweg cemetery – almost a secret – is not without charm. Closed down in 1958, it has become the most unusual place to take a stroll in the entire capital. It has a great botanical diversity; attracting insects, birds and rodents. The fruit of a successful marriage between architecture and nature, the stone and the vegetation endow it with the most romantic atmosphere. Certain corners of the cemetery give the illusion that you are walking in the heart of a forest that has covered the vestiges of an ancient civilisation. Moreover, this cemetery is the last resting place of the several illustrious celebrities such as the cartoonist Hergé, the violinist Philippe Hirschorn and Paul Hankar, the architect. To crown your visit, you can admire some of the monuments designed by the architect Victor Horta.
95 Dieweg, 1180 Uccle


6 – The Bellone

A hidden secret – A stone’s throw from Place Sainte Catherine, you need to have a curious nature to dare to cross this interior courtyard where you will find a remarkable house with classic architecture and Flemish decoration. Miraculously saved from the countless dangers that threatened it, Bellone was converted into a performance hall at the initiative of the artist and stage designer Serge Creuz, it has an imposing 17th century façade attributed to the artist Jean Cosyn. In order to protect it from pollution and acid rain, the architect Olivier Notterman, in collaboration with the engineer René Greisch, imagined a veritable veil in glass and stainless material of 300 m² covering the courtyard so that events can be organised, symposia, dinners and other events dedicated to theatre arts. It is also possible to rent the premises via Choux de Bruxelles.
46 rue de Flandres, 1000 Brussels .


7 – Brussels on Wheels

Let’s take the car, Simone! – Are you sentimental about old cars? Climb aboard a mythical 2CV with the roof down and be guided through the town by an experienced driver who will show you the secrets of Brussels, in your own language. Let’s go with Brussels on Wheels!


8 – Hôtel des Galeries

Amaze the circle – Would you like to sleep with a view over the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert and watch how lively it is from the window of your hotel room? Then, make a reservation for one of the rooms in the Hôtel des Galeries with a direct view of its impressive glass roof. And reserve a table at the Comptoir (in the Galeries, obviously) to have dinner while you’re at it!
38 rue des Bouchers, 1000 Brussels


9 – Dinner in the Deep at Nemo 33

Beneath the water – Nemo 33 is the deepest diving pool in the entire world. Since a little while ago, it is now possible to drink a glass of champagne there in a sphere located at 5 meters depth! Guests can don their mermaid suit or apprentice deep sea diver outfit and enjoy dinner underwater, served by diver-waiters. A simple formality for those who hold a diving licence; for neophytes, they have to follow one hour of diving training before going to the table for dinner.
333 rue de Stalle, 1180 Brussels


10 – The gardens of Carré Tillens

The city is green – Carré Tillens is a small green zone hidden between two streets, Roosendael and Joseph Bens, astride the communes of Uccle and Forest. Sheltered from view, this district’s green zone consists of allotments for vegetable gardens, an area for small fruit trees, beehives, a composting site, meadows that can be reaped, a public standpipe, and areas to relax and to walk. It is a convivial and socially dynamic area; locals have been cultivating their vegetable plots here since the 1980s.
9 rue Joseph Bens, 1180 Uccle

10 Sites