Brussels Sights

Les Marolles

  • Neighborhood/Street
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 09/09/2015

Fodor's Review

If the Grand'Place stands for old money, the Marolles neighborhood stands for old—and current—poverty; though times are changing, the area still has some raffish charm. This was once home to the workers who produced the luxury goods for which Brussels was famous, and there are some left who still speak the old Brussels dialect, which mixes French and Flemish with a bit of Spanish. The Marolles has welcomed many waves of immigrants, the most recent from Spain, North Africa, and Turkey. Many come to the hugely popular and daily Vieux Marché (flea market) at the place du Jeu de Balle (7 am–1 pm), where old clothes are sold along with every kind of bric-a-brac, plain junk, and the occasional gem. For more browsing, hit the vintage, antiques, and trendy shops on the surrounding rue Haute and rue Blaes, where gentrification is slowly taking hold. There has been an ongoing battle for years between locals and developers over the soul of the area—one that the residents don't

seem to be winning, no matter how many A4 posters they stick in their windows. Having said that, there is some good stuff around, with the bar Brocante (Rue de Blaes 170) a particularly fine spot for beer and live music, and the wittily named Jeu de Bulles (Place de Jeu de Bolle 79), home to some rare first-edition books and original prints of Tintin, Blake and Mortimer, Lucky Luke, and others. This area can be pretty sketchy at night, though, so you may want to leave by sunset, particularly if you're alone, though groups can enjoy some fun bars and restaurants.

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Sight Information


Bordered by blvd. du Midi, blvd. de Waterloo heading southwest from Palais de Justice, and imaginary line running west from blvd. Maurice Lemonnier, Brussels, B1000, Belgium

Published 09/09/2015


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