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Brussels Overview

When King Leopold I set out to make Brussels one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, he went all out.  Brussels is the epitome of grandeur, featuring medieval palaces, splendid squares, colorful flower markets, hundreds of districts with amazing shopping opportunities and award winning gastronomy.  This 1,000-year-old Belgium capital is the “grand dame of the continent.”   

Brussels’ architecture is sure to impress visitors with its diversity seen throughout.  At the heart of the city, travelers are mesmerized by the Grote Market, said to be the grandest in Europe.  Its ornate houses are simply astounding and must be seen up close.  And through every neighborhood, tourists can see more of the contrasts.  Brussels is hip and traditional, gothic and art nouveau, vibrant and sedate. 

Brussels enjoys the stature as the capital of the European Union.  It’s also the headquarters of many important institutions.  Because of this, it attracts millions of visitors and business people.  This has given rise to an abundance of fine restaurants and cafes.  And although travelers can choose from an array of international cuisines, Brussels is famous for its French and Flemish gastronomy.  Brussels, however, is the place to eat mussels.  Out-of-towners will find scores of pubs serving this specialty dish in a wide selection of styles.  They come steamed in white wine, with béchamel sauce, spicy or a la bolognaise to name but a few. 

And when in Brussels, nobody is immune to the scent of hand made chocolates.  Eating chocolates is a serious business in Brussels.  Even the government holds chocolatiers to the highest quality standards.  You’ll never have a “bad” piece of this decadent treat.  The ideal is to visit places that allow you to sample before buying.   

In Brussels, there’s always something to do.  The Queen Elizabeth Music Competition for instance, is so popular that it attracts hundreds of classical music students.  And the annual jazz festival brings renowned talent from around the globe.  But if your visit to Brussels doesn’t coincide with these events, there are many other activities to enjoy.  The Theatre Royal de la Monnaie features world class opera and ballet.  The Palaix de Beaux Arts hosts year-round symphony concerts.  There are also plenty of nightclubs and discos so Brussels is never boring. 

When it comes to shopping, Brussels reigns supreme.  Everywhere you go you’ll find hundreds of stores, and you’ll find that Brussels loves markets.  There are flower, antique, flea, bird and even horse markets. 
Cheeses are made in nearby abbeys and brought fresh to the cheese markets.  If physicians had to write a prescription for filling the need to shop, they would send their patients to Brussels.  
While browsing through scores of retailers, travelers can delight in the world’s best hand-made lace, buttery soft leathers, the famous Delvaux handbags, book stores filled with comic books and rare editions, outstanding beers and trendy fashion.  And in between, you’ll want to take a break and indulge on a crispy warm Belgian waffle topped with chewy caramel sauce. 

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