Christmas in Bruges

Old Oct 25th, 2001, 11:46 PM
Jane W
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Christmas in Bruges

Hi everyone

We are spending five days in Belgium over Christmas and will be basing ourselves in Bruges. I was wondering if anyone has spent any time in Belgium over Christmas, what the atmosphere is like, did you eat out for Christmas dinner (and did you have to book in advance), interesting experiences and anything else that you might like to share.

I have done a search on the board and found some very helpful and interesting posts.

Thanks in advance.

Old Oct 26th, 2001, 12:14 AM
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This info is not Christmas-specific, but might be helpful anyway:
Bruges is lovely. Spent a long weekend there earlier this year between business meetings.

Lots of cobblestones. Wear thick soled comfortable shoes.

Great restaurant, very central to downtown: De Stove - Kleine St Armandstradt 4 050-33-7835

Another incredible restaurant I discovered near the Lace Museum: It sells brick-shaped containers of homemade ice cream. I had lunch there (the food is great too) and saw a steady stream of locals coming in to buy these odd-shaped containers of ice cream. So I ordered the "Dame Blanc" and it was incredible. To be experienced with their cappucino. This restaurant is:
1) Near the lace museum (across the street from the end where the street starts.
2) I believe a bear is part of its restaurant sign.
Send me your email address. If I can find their business card I'll pass along the exact name. It could be Da ___ (something)

I was amazed at the tapestry stores. The best one was just off the main market square:
Gino & Heidi owners
Philipstockstraat 3
8000 Brugge Belgium
phone 050-33-7473
I purchased a couple beautiful tapestries there at an incredible price, and thought of these in the "things you are glad you bought" thread.

Old Oct 26th, 2001, 12:22 PM
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I spent the Christmas-New Year's holiday in Belgium last year, based in Gent with day trips to Antwerp, Brussels, Brugge, and Lille (France). The weather is usually grey and rainy at that time of year (welcome to Belgium!), with daytime temps in the 40's F. Except that last year there was a cold snap over much of northern Europe, so it barely got above freezing and it snowed! I'd brought my wool hat and long underwear, so it didn't stop me. Moral: be prepared.

The cities were pretty, with decorations that were generally less gaudy than in the US. Lots of greenery and white lights. Chocolate shop windows were great, as usual. Chocolate were great, as usual. Several cities (including Brugge, Gent, and Brussels) have skating rinks in the main square, along with booths selling food, hot wine, and mostly junky merchandise. The Grand' Place in Belgium was especially nice at night, with all its lights. I spent the 26th in Brugge -- the very center was pretty crowded, mostly with Belgian families, but the outer areas of the old city were quiet and atmospheric in the (light) snow. Cafes and restaurante were open that day, but I'm not a big shopper, so I don't remember about the shops. All in all, I had a nice time. I had Christmas dinner at my friends' house in Gent -- you'd definitely have to make a reservation there.

Have a nice trip.

Old Oct 26th, 2001, 12:25 PM
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Sorry, that's Grand' Place in Brussels.
Old Oct 27th, 2001, 04:49 AM
Jane W
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Thanks so much for your replies. They were great. I've written down the suggestions and will check them out.

We are living in London so are used to the weather! We were in Edinburgh for New Year last year and caught the cold snap there, as well as the snow just a couple of days after Christmas in London! I was so glad I wasn't working. Anyway Belgium sounds great. I love the way people talk about Bruges.

Thanks for your time and your invaluable help.
Old Nov 13th, 2001, 02:04 AM
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December 26th is not a holiday in Belgium, so shops etc. will be open; some museums might be closed, just check on that.
Christmas is not as big a holiday as it is in the UK or the US. We have family gatherings, and midnight services or late services in churches on Dec. 24, and ofcourse on X-mas day itself. Generally speaking, the week between X-mas and New Years day is a pretty quiet one, with a lot of people staying at home, going to the cinema, visiting and consequently eating & drinking with family & friends... contrary to the UK, we don't have X-mas parties, but NY parties (unless working in American/UK companies)...
Hope this helps...
I hope you'll enjoy your stay.


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