Grote Markt/Grand Place

Member Rating 5 out of 5 by travellingdave on January 16, 2007

Oh, what can be said about such a quintessentially Belgian, beautifully archaic, delicately gorgeous sight as Brussels' Grand Place that has not already been said? It's sweeping views of cobblestone paths, ancient guildhalls, trendy outdoor cafes, hundreds of pigeons, and just a faint scent of warm, buttery Belgian waffles in the air would surely blow any tourist off of their feet, including myself. It's a place where people come for inspiration, and leave inspired like none before.

Being the central market square of Brussels, it is arguably the center of tourism and history in the city. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Everyone comes here, falls in love, and often repeatedly. The rather large city square is lined with impressive old guildhalls, the beautiful Hôtel de Ville (town hall), and the gorgeous Broodhuis. Being here is being swept away to yesteryear, and it is the perfect, idyllic place to relax and let time go by on a warm summer's afternoon.

The Grand Place is located in the center of the city, accessible by foot from many metro stations, the closest of which is De Brouckère, which is just a short walk from the square through some tight, cobblestone pathways. Once you emerge from these side roads and see the grand elegance of the Grand Place before you, you'll immediately be smitten with the place.

The Grand Place is quite walkable, and it's large enough that you don't need to shuffle through the crowds too much, even on the busiest of days. The restaurants, though, are a different story. Several restaurants offer patio outdoor seating with prime views of the Grand Place, and getting a table here can be both tricky and pricey.

To fully enjoy the Grand Place, do all your photographing first. Then, once you're less preoccupied with what to photograph, take a walk around each corner of the plaza, visiting the beautiful Hôtel de Ville in particular. This building, the centerpiece of the Grand Place, is almost 600 years old and has survived many disasters. Admiring its beautiful Gothic spires and elegant detail in its architecture makes a visitor only wish they had more time to view it.

Because it is a city square, there is no admission to enter the Grand Place.

The Grand Place is especially beautiful at night - bring a good camera to capture the beautiful lighting of the guildhalls. It's simply breathtaking.

As I left the Grand Place for the last time, there was a longing in my gut. It's one of those places that echoes the feeling of leaving a loved one. I looked back at my last view of the plaza and I knew I'd have to return - sooner rather than later. The memory lives on, though, in photographs. Don't understand? Go here, and smile when you realize what I'm talking about.

Learn more at:
Grand Place (Grote Markt)
Central Square
Brussels, Belgium, 1000

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