The heart of Brussels and the place to start getting to know the city is the Grand'Place (Grote Markt). This historic market square, with its splendid guild houses and the impressive Gothic beauty of the Town Hall, is widely considered to be one of the most beautiful town squares in Europe.
Brussels is more than a 1,000 years old and is also the European capital and home to the European Commission and the Council of Ministers of the European Union (EU).
Today, the name Brussels stands for an agglomeration of 19 communes forming one of the three regions of the federal Belgian state, the capital of the Kingdom of Belgium, and the headquarters of the French and Flemish Communities. The official languages are both French and Dutch. Street names and traffic sings are always in these two languages.
Grand Place is a wonderful historic place to spend the day. Cafés and chocolate shops line the square. Flower vendors are also available with the season’s brightest blooms.
Every 2 years, for 3 days only, in the tropical heat that is the Brussels summer, artists and horticulturalists join forces to create the greatest living carpet in the world! A flower carpet covers the entire square! Designs vary from year to year, and inspiration is drawn from all over the world.
The square is surrounded by some of the most beautiful architecture around, with Gothic buildings with spires and gold. It’s quite a sight. The cafés right on the square can be pricey, but the view is priceless. Take a walk down any of the side streets and you have a whole plethora of places to choose from. We stopped at an Italian place. I don’t remember the name (that’s SO not like me), but we had some pizza, and it was actually really good. I got the four-cheese, and one of the cheeses was gruyere. MY FAVE! It was SO freakin’ good. All I can remember about it was that it was right next to a Greek restaurant and across the street from another Italian place.