Fodor's Expert Review Grand Place
This jewelry box of a square is arguably Europe's most ornate and theatrical. It's also a vital part of the city—everyone passes through at some point. At night, the burnished facades of the guild houses look especially dramatic. Try to make it here for the Ommegang, a historical pageant re-creating Emperor Charles V's reception in the city in 1549 (in June and July), or for the famed Carpet of Flowers, which fills the square with color for four days in mid-August on even-numbered years. Dominating the square is the magnificent Gothic-era Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall). Work began on it in 1402, and it's nearly 300 years older than the surrounding guild houses. The belfry is topped by a bronze statue of St. Michael crushing the devil beneath his feet.