Brussels - Brussels Zuid Station

Sep 14th, 2002, 07:33 PM
Posts: n/a
Brussels - Brussels Zuid Station

Hi everyone: I have a quick question, I'll be in Brussels for the day (actually just a few of hours) at the beginning of October. I'll be arriving at the Brussels Zuid Station, and not be familiar with Brussels, I was wondering if there was anything in the general area of the train station that would be of interest (e.g., shops, good food and of course a good place for a couple of Beligian beers)? I've never been to Brussels, so I'm just looking to get a feel for the city and area. Thanks for the help.
Sep 14th, 2002, 08:34 PM
Ben Haines
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I am afraid I cannot answer the question you put. But three minutes by train from Brussels Zuid is Brussels Central, where you go up to street level, ask you way, and walk in five minutes to the Place Royale, with shops, food and beers, the heart of old Brussels. If that were your taste, you could see the Museum of Ancient Art, ten minutes walk away in another direction: please see

Ben Haines, London
Sep 14th, 2002, 10:42 PM
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Generally speaking, the area around the Brussel Zuid/Gare du Midi is not the best part of town. Here's a suggested short day trip itinerary:
If you are arriving via Thalys and need luggage storage while you explore Brussels, there are lockers and an attended storage area available. You will pass them on your right as you come down from the Thalys/TGV and just before you reach the main part of the terminal and the round information booth.
Follow the signs to the Metro station(the big M). Buy yourself either a day ticket or a ticket for 5 trips, depending on how much time you have for sightseeing (validate the ticket in the little orange boxes; each punch is good for one hour of travel on the metro, trams and buses; transfers are free). Take the metro, direction Simonis, three stops up to Louise. Do a little window shopping along the Ave. Louise up to the Place Stephanie, turn back and then walk up the Blvd. Waterloo toward the Hilton--this is the district with most (not all) of the top stores.
If you want to skip that, still take the metro to Louise. Get off and transfer to the 92, 93, or 94 trams (heading toward the big domed Palais de Justice). Get off two stops later at the Sablon (you could also walk if you choose; go down to the Palais de Justice and turn right, it's about 5-10 minutes depending on walking speed).
Stroll down through the Sablon--and take a minute or two in the pretty little park right at the Sablon. Stop at Au Vieux St. Martin for delicious coffee and people watching in this chic area full of art and antique galleries and designer shops.
When you come to the end of the main Sablon square, take the largest street to your right (you turn at a cafe with a big Leffe sign). Follow that as it winds down past shops and cafes (best shops are on the lefthand side). It's about 10-15 minutes to walk from the Sablon to the Grand'Place. You can turn in (to the right) at any of the streets below Place St. Jean and follow the crowds to the Grand'Place. The GP area is full of cafes and restaurants and the GP branch of the Chez Leon is probably the best of the mussel restaurant's chain of restaurants (it's not directly on the Place, though).
Of the cafes on the Grand'Place itself, our favorite is Au Chaloupe d'Or (the golden boot). It was the Guild Hall for tailors in the 17th century; burned down in 1695 under attack from the forces of Louis XIV, then rebuilt in 1696. We think it has the most professional service of the GP cafes. If you go inside and up one story, you may be able to snag one of the tables with a great view of the Place. They have several types of Belgian beer on tap, and many other choices in bottles (as do most cafes on the Grand'Place).
On your way out of the Place, walk down the rue de l'Etuve to see Mannekin Pis. Don't be surprised if you're underwhelmed.
That should use up your time pretty well; to get back to the Midi Station, either take a cab (about $5-10) or walk up to the Gare Centrale/Centraal Station, take the #1 metro line, direction Stokkel OR Hermann/Debroux (it doesn't make any difference for your destination) and get off two stops later at Arts/Loi aka Kunst/Wet (remember most stations will have two names--one French, one Dutch/Flemish). Change to the number #2 line, direction Clemenceau; it's 6 stops to the Gare du Midi (in total about a 20 minute metro ride).
Have a good visit!
BTilke (Brussels)
Sep 14th, 2002, 10:50 PM
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A note about the Au Vieux St. Martin cafe/restaurant in the Sablon:
If you voted for Clinton, go inside the cafe and look to the tables on the left hand side againt the wall. You'll see a small brass plaque there commemorating Clinton's visit to the place and his table. Of course, if you're one of those who can't stand Clinton, you might want to choose another cafe!
BTilke (Brussels)
Sep 15th, 2002, 06:09 AM
Posts: n/a
To BTilke -- Thanks for the very helpful information. I think it will help me get the most from my short visit to Brussels.

And thank you, Ben, for the URL -- I'll check it out...

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