When you walk down Rue des Eperonniers, you will notice that it stands out from all the others in the area.

Springtime illustrates this with its flower arrangements falling from the sky.

Just like when you enter the newly decorated restaurant of L'HÔTEL ALMA GRAND PLACE with its new decoration, to have your breakfast served by the team of the LLOYD  COFFEE EATERY.

I can't help but think of Aretha Franklin (1942-2018), nicknamed "The Queen of Soul" performing the song "Hello Sunshine".

This diva and spokesperson is considered the most influential African-American singer of the 20th century.

"Respect" (1967) Madam.

In 2021, the film "Respect" (portrait of the singer, golden biopic) by Liesl Tommy (South African director) was also shown in various cinemas in Brussels such as the UGC DE BROUCKÈRE, the CINÉMA AVENTURE (see épisode 14), the WHITE CINÉMA BRUSSELS (W.C.B., with its 8 cinemas with a modern, uncluttered design, duo, trio seats...

If you want to go to the cinema (ideal on rainy days), the UGC DE BROUCKÈRE complex with its 12 screens is waiting for you. It is one of the most important cinemas in the city: previously known as the mythical ELDORADO.

The UGC unlimited pass allows you to see 300 films a year in 70 cinemas across the country.

You also have the possibility via the website dedicated to opera, "Viva l'Opera", to book your seats and benefit from a preferential rate thanks to this pass.

We invite you to visit its magnificent large hall (listed) with 700 seats called the "GRAN ELDORADO" (before 1978, 2700 seats, 2 balconies...): a jewel of Art Deco style built between 1931 and 1933 by the Liège architect Marcel Chabot

What a pleasure to be in this comfortable setting, to admire the various details of the stucco bas-reliefs: jungle decor and elephant head...  (impression of Africa?).

Created by the sculptors Wolf and Van Neste.

These scenes were inspired by a relief by the French sculptor Alfred Janniot (1889-1969) on the façade of the MUSEE DES COLONIES (PALAIS DE LA PORTE-DORÉE) at the 1931 PARIS INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION.

The PALAIS  DE LA PORTE-DORÉE (considered one of the jewels of Art Deco) now houses the MUSEE DE L'HISTOIRE DE L'IMMIGRATION and the AQUARIUM DE LA PORTE-DORÉE in Paris.

The lighting of the "GRAN ELDORADO" room (delicate indirect light on the scenes through the ceiling cornices) accentuates the monumentality of the scenes and reinforces their plastic strength.

It hosts films with high commercial potential, previews, opera nights,...

This "Eldorado" (a term that means "golden", just like a chimerical country where one gets rich easily) can be rented as a prestigious space. 

The hall was listed in 1994 as a monument in its entirety

"Eldorado" is also the second feature film by Belgian director and actor Bouli Lanners, made in 2008. Numerous awards. A must see.

Thank you "Phil" for all these moments of "fun". "Oufti"!

In 1982, the Belgian artist Guy Peellaert (1934-2008) created a monumental fresco in the hall of the building as a tribute to cinema. It is made up of extracts from essential European films.

Which ones do you think?

Guy Peellaert was a painter, illustrator, poster artist, photographer and comic book writer.

The cover of 'Diamond Dogs' by David Bowie (British musician, singer, songwriter and actor, 1947/2016) is him! 

The first version of the image of Bowie as a dog shows a testicle of the animal. This will disappear in the following editions.

The event "Heroes Bowie Berlin 1976-80 - The Ultimate David Bowie Tribute" will take place on 10.11.22 at FOREST NATIONAL (VORST NATIONAAL) where his Berlin period will be highlighted.

David Bowie performed many times in Brussels and would have only good memories of it.

A tribute to this legendary rock musician (a real chameleon) was paid on the GRAND PLACE in Brussels in 2016 (broadcast of a best-of of the artist's songs).

The same year, NOIR Artiste (artist from Liege, alias Lucien Gilson) was contacted by Sony Music (record company) in order to create a giant fresco (a painting in the effigy of the Star) in the GALERIE COMMERCIALE DE LA TOISON D'OR (name taken from Greek mythology ?, located in the upper part of the city) for the release of his album "Blackstar".


Do you remember "Amsterdam", a song written by a sacred monster, Jacques Brel (1929/1978), who invented the verb "bruxeller"?

The most famous cover is David Bowie's "Port of Amsterdam", which he discovered in a musical by Mort Shuman (first name Mortimer, 1938-1991, American composer, lyricist, actor... of English and French expression): "Jacques Brel is alive and well and living in Paris ".

Brel made this song magnetic, Bowie made it mythical.

The comic strip "Pravda la survireuse" is again by Guy Peellaert.

This "image maker" has appropriated the angular face and long body of Françoise Hardy (singer-songwriter, French writer / muse of the sixties, fashion icon...). 

Thank you for your "message personnel" Madame. To be listened to over and over again.

If my memory is good (and not "if the photo is good", song of Barbara  in 1965) when I went, as a teenager, in this room "Gran Eldorado", the elephant reminded me of this mascot of the brand of chocolate Côte d'Or. 

Doesn't the "elephant" logo convey the values of power, perseverance and longevity, not to mention memory?

Côte d'Or is a brand founded by Charles Neuhaus (1841 - 1891), a Belgian chocolate maker and confectioner.

Could he be the brother of Jean Neuhaus (1812-1892), the inventor of the Belgian praline ? and Louise Agostini (1874-1965), his wife, the ballotin? (See blog, part Yummy)

This brand of chocolate takes the name of Côte d'or (in 1883) in reference to the Côte de l'Or, a former British colony (today Ghana) which took its name "Gold Coast" from the gold powder that the Europeans had found there.

 The company was sold and resold... A real "soap opera". Next episode ?

On the occasion of the BRUSSELS UNIVERSAL EXHIBITION in 1958, the praline bar "Dessert 58" was put on the market. 



That you can always buy in the supermarkets near the ALMA GRAND PLACE and ARIS GRAND PLACE HOTELS.

Like the "CARREFOUR MARKET EUROCONTROL", rue du Marché aux Poulets 40 and open every day from 07h00 to 23h00.


In 1934, the famous "Chokotoff" (which sticks to your teeth?).

"Choko" (chocolate) and "Toffee" (confectionery). 

 Word game with the word "tof"?  Which, in Brussels dialect, means "good, pleasant, enjoyable".

Some packages would have the golden line hidden under the silver band?

A nod to the novel "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl (British writer, 1916-1990)?

One of the most emblematic authors of the 20th century.

A museum is dedicated to him since 2005: "THE ROALD DAHL MUSÉUM AND STORY CENTRE" located in the village of Great Missenden (in England)

Who doesn't remember the 2005 film adaptation of this novel "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Tim Burton with Johnny Depp.

My preference goes to the musical adaptation made in 1971, "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" by Mel Stuart (American director, 1928-2012).

To see and see again without moderation.

Projections in the room of the "Gran Eldorado" with its elephant in relief ?

"Elephant" is also a film (drama) of the American director Gus van Sant in 2003. Palme d'or at the Cannes Film Festival the same year. 

It was inspired by a tragic event that deeply marked America: the Columbine High School in 1999. Two teenagers killed 13 people in a Colorado high school

The shooting was repeated (to the great despair of all) in May 2022 in Texas (in Uvalde) in Robb Elementary School.

Do you like exotic decoration patterns?  Then take the little "banana tour" downtown

The decoration of some buildings in the center of Brussels is inspired by the flora and fauna of the Belgian Congo and in particular by the banana.

At number 75-79 Rue Antoine Dansaert, you will notice (if you raise your eyes to the sky) that this building built in 1927 by the Brussels architect Eugène Dhuicque (1877-1955), for the wholesaler Gérard Koninckx Frères, has a beautiful enamelled stoneware frieze representing several banana motifs (designed by Armand Paulis (1884-1979) and executed by the Parisian ceramist Maurice Dhomme, 1882-1975). 

At number 7, rue du Vieux Marché aux Grains, a curious bas-relief offers itself to passers-by at the top of the facade: the face of an African woman surrounded by a lush necklace of bananas and exotic fruits.

And what about number 34, boulevard d'Ypres, an Art Deco building with its decoration of bananas at the top of the pilasters of the façade


"Bruxelles à la banane"

Everyone has seen the famous yellow banana created by Andy Warhol that was featured in 1967 on the very sleek cover of the Velvet Underground (a mythical New York rock band formed in the mid 1960s).

At the top of the banana, a short sentence says "peel slowly and see" for "peel slowly and you will see.

To be purchased at "SEYMOUR KASSEL RECORDS" ? (Rue de Flandre 93 ). 

3500 euros for this album.

This particular store in the center of Brussels sells only original vinyl albums of first pressing and limited edition.

From June 23 to July 2, 2022, you will have the opportunity to celebrate the 5th edition of the BRUSSELS INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL (BRIFF).

The UGC DE BROUCKÈRE, BOZAR, CINÉMA GALERIES and the PALACE will open their doors for a journey in image in the heart of the capital.

Before coming to relax at the HOTEL ALMA GRAND PLACE and ARIS GRAND PLACE, we invite you to make a detour to the BRIFF VILLAGE, place De Brouckère. With its big top and its terrace.

Opportunity to drink a glass of wine on the terrace and 'debriff' in good company ?

The French actress and director, Fanny Ardant (twice awarded a César), will be the guest of honor at BRIFF (screening of the film "Les jeunes Amants" (2021) by Carine Tardieu (French director and writer), but also at BOZAR and CINEMATEK (where exclusive interviews will be scheduled in the latter two venues, on June 28 and 29, 2022)

For this 5th edition, France will be projected on the big screen, as part of the French Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

The BRIFF also offers free open-air screenings at the MONT DES ARTS (see episodes 23) and its breathtaking view on the city.

Pour cette 5ème édition, la France sera projetée sur grand écran, dans le cadre de la Présidence française du Conseil de l’Union européenne.

Last year (September 2021) you could see episodes of "Baraki" (a hilarious Belgian series) in open air.

The term "baraki" comes from the word "baraque" (these small gargotes found in the fairs). It designates a boorish and uneducated person.

It is the equivalent of "beauf" in French.

Like the song performed by Renaud (real name Renaud Sechan), "mon beauf"

Everyone remembers her duet with our Belgian singer Axelle Red (real name Fabienne Demal): "Manhattan-Kaboul".

For her new tour "A Very Special Christmas", she will stop in seven venues, including the CIRQUE ROYAL in Brussels.

The CIRQUE ROYAL hosted "LA FETE DE LA MUSIQUE" as well as the ESPLANADE of the (former) CITÉ ADMINISTRATIVE (Place du Congrès, reminds me of "our" streetcar 92! ).

And in the MAROLLES, from June 17 to 21, 2022.

Opportunity to walk in the GARDEN of the (former) ADMINISTRATIVE CITY OF THE STATE according to the plans of the landscape architect René Pechère (1908-2002).

Hanging garden (geometrical forms) erected between 1958 and 1970.

Author of more than 900 private and public gardens in Europe, including the BOTANIQUE (see episode 14) and the VAN BUUREN HOUSE in Brussels.

Would René Péchère be our "Le Nôtre" (1613-1700, gardener to King Louis XIV, considered the father of the French garden)?

Or our "Magritte of gardens"?

"Brussels is celebrating" in many places. 

Brussels will dance.

In this "village-district" (with an already full cultural life) " LES MAROLLES", don't hesitate to discover the independent bookshop-cafe "LES MÉTÉORES" (rue Blaes 207, same street as the nightclub "FUSE", see episode 14) .

Opening in 2020. Thanks to Renaud-Selim Sanli and his brother Timour (collaborator of L'Echo- Belgian daily newspaper of political, economic and financial information).

This bookstore (a place to meet around books) is not like the others: selection of books off the beaten track

Books that cannot be found anywhere else.

This "duo" (philosophers by training) plans to make "MÉTÉORES" a publishing house. We can't wait.

The name of the bookstore refers (among others) to the novel by Michel Tournier (French writer, 1924-2016) "Les Météores" (1975).

The CINEMA GALERIES (a place dedicated to auteur films) also offers a wide range of exhibitions dedicated to independent cinema and contemporary art.

Built in 1939 by the architect Paul Bonduelle (at the request of the brothers Oswald and Robert Putzeys), this cinema (2-screen complex) of art deco, modernist style, was classified as a monument in 1993, for its artistic and historical value. It is distinguished by a subtle Mediterranean and Romanesque decoration.

We thank them for supporting the young Belgian film.

One of the most beautiful cinemas in Brussels (with a targeted program) located at number 26 of LES GALERIES DE LA REINE.

Prestigious location, just like the ARBANY HOTELS.

The very first film shown in 1939 in this theater was "First Love" ("First Love", American musical film in black and white) by Henry Koster (American director, 1905/1988)

Les frères Lumières (Auguste, 1862-1954 and Louis, 1864-1948) marked LES GALERIES ROYALES SAINT-HUBERT with their aura.

 In 1896, at n°7, in the "SALLE DES DÉPÊCHES" of the daily newspaper "La Chronique", to broadcast the first public cinema session in Belgium

The observant passer-by can read (in front of the entrance of number 7) a commemorative plaque: "Here took place, on March 1st 1896, the first public screening in Belgium of the Lumière cinematograph".

The Lumières brothers (French engineers) are also considered as true pioneers of cinema, by creating the cinematograph.

Note that these two brothers have unfortunately given public support to Maréchal Philippe Petain (1846-1951, Marshal of France, winner of Verdun and head of the Vichy government).

Decoration of the order of the Francisque received.

They never appeared on banknotes. 

As for the WHITE CINEMA DOCKS (W.C.B..) - architect Renaud Dejeneffe - it is located on the second floor of the DOCKS BRUXSEL SHOPPING CENTER (boulevard Lambermont 1 / outside the city center).

On June 24, 2022, the LEGO DISCOVERY CENTER (3.152m2) will be built in this shopping center. The first Legoland theme park in Belgium (LEGO is a Danish toy manufacturer).

Fans of the "building blocks" will be able to let their imagination run wild.

In 2021, the largest LEGO STORE in Belgium is set up in the rue Neuve.

In the heart of Brussels. Close to the ARBANY HOTELS.

Since May 21, 2022, a new toy museum has opened its doors on the site of Tour & Taxis: "TOYS DISCOVERY MUSEUM".

More than 15,000 pieces on display.

The museum is for everyone, adults and children.

The site of TOUR & TAXIS also hosts the "PIXEL MUSEUM" (museum of video games, online entertainment and video game art).

Isn't playing about learning to cooperate, to lose and also to persevere?

The most awaited Brussels barter event of the year "ART TRUC TROC & DESIGN" took place these 20, 21 and 22 May 2022 at the MARITIME STATION of TOUR & TAXIS. 17th Edition.

The store "VOLTE FACE" (rue des Teinturiers 17, two minutes from the ARBANY HOTELS) is full of quality toys where wood is emphasized over plastic.

Vintage toys.

Products that are different from the big brands.

 Space dedicated to circus arts.

I have to tell you about an "institution" in Brussels located at number 10 : "LE PARADIS DE LA BABOUCHE".

Since 1908, near "PICARD MEGAFUN" (party store, see episode 14).

As its name indicates, the largest specialist in slippers in Brussels.

You will also find comfort shoes for orthopedic soles, mules,...from 17 to 51 !

Ideal store for "Aunt Sidonie" known for her shoe size, which fluctuates around 51?

Character of the popular Belgian comic strip series "Bob et Bobette" (1st publication in 1945) of the Antwerp cartoonist (our "Breughel of comics?)  Willy Vandersteen (1913-1990) with exceptional graphic maturity!

In Dutch: "Suske en Wiske".

You can get them at "LA MAISON DE LA BD" (HET HUIS VAN HET STRIPVERHAAL), boulevard de l'Impératrice /1000 Brussels : comics, figurines, stationery.... All stamped with a comic book label.


Rue de Laeken (near the ARBANY HOTELS) you will "meet" the merry band : Bob, Bobette, (and her little rag doll Fanfreluche from which she almost never separates), Jérôme (the "castard" with Herculean strength), the ventripoten Lambique, Aunt Sidonie (what to say about her spectacular fits of nerves?) on a red background.

Manneken Pis (our famous "ketje" = kid from Brussels) lifts them up at arm's length.

Fresco realized by Georges Oreopoulos and David Vandegeerde (muralists painters).

Like a "Benoît Brisefer"?

Series of French-Belgian youth comics created in 1960 by Peyo (pseudonym of Pierre Culliford, 1928-1992).

A great classic of comics.

The pedestrian who strolls along the rue Haute (at number 119) cannot escape the fresco of this kid (superhero) with his jovial face (as soon as he catches a cold, Benoît loses his extraordinary physical abilities. Also, he never takes off the wool scarf he wears around his neck)

Not far from the elevator linking the lower part of the city to the upper part (Palais de Justice, see episode 1).

In every neighborhood, in the streets and alleys of Brussels, comics are everywhere.

At the "PARADISE DE LA BABOUCHE": a large choice of charentaises (the "real" one is hand sewn on the back and guaranteed without any glue).

Offbeat, original, authentic (symbol of cozy comfort by the fire"), it is worn more and more in the street.


Like espadrilles? Like Gaston Lagaffe?

Comic strip character (gentle idealist, lazy, inventive) created in 1957 by the Belgian cartoonist André Franquin (1924-1997). Published by Dupuis.

The return of this unemployed (anti)hero creates a polemic.


Rue de l'Ecuyer, you have the possibility to discover the fresco of Gaston Lagaffe

Brussels, capital "bubbles". With its 68 giant frescoes representing comic characters

The "Parcours BD" is an integral part of the Brussels urban landscape.To be experienced. A pleasant way to survey the city.

At 47 rue de l'Ecuyer (just outside the GALERIE DE LA REINE), a new and unusual address: the "ZOTTE MOUCHE", a Belgian-style bistro.

Deliberately outdated decoration, vinyls on the wall, neon lights, French songs from the 60s to the 90s. Ultra-retro universe. 

Local cuisine ("B.I.P" = "ballekes in pistolei", i.e. a pistol filled with meatballs coated with sauce), stoemp, fondue with Herve cheese, Ostend plate, or Ardennes...). Yum!

Ballekes is the Brussels word for "meatballs" and has its origin in the Dutch "Balletje".

At the "PARADIS DE LA BABOUCHE", I like the advice of the saleswoman, a passionate person, a "character out of time".

"Our Mireille Mathieu of the slipper"?

We are looking forward to the duet of Arno (real name Arnold Hintjens, Belgian singer and actor, 1949-2022) and Mireille Mathieu (French singer, 1946-) performing the song "La Paloma Adieu".

On the occasion of the JAM GRAFITTI (April 23 and 24, 2022), the artist HIM has just realized a fresco of Arno in Évere. 

Let's not forget either (my favorite since ages), the store "THE GRASSHOPPER", rue du Marché aux Herbes (Grasmarkt Straat), visible from some rooms of the HOTEL ARIS GRAND PLACE. An "institution"!

The WCB (WHITE CINEMA BRUSSELS) is easily accessible by taking streetcar 3 from the BOURSE STATION.

Renamed in 2019 to "BOURSE - GRAND-PLACE".


 In Brussels, this is a form of public transport in which streetcars run entirely or partially underground through tunnels.

No "Belle Époque" streetcar (as was the case this year) during the IRIS FETE (see episode 14) in Brussels. Outdoor route.


150 years ago, the first streetcar appeared in the streets of Brussels.

The MUSEUM OF BRUSSELS URBAN TRANSPORT, the MTUB or BRUSSELS TRAM MUSEUM, celebrated its 40th anniversary on Sunday 22 May with some special routes.

Le tramway n'est-il pas comme un trottoir roulant?

Chaque dimanche d’avril à septembreainsi qu’un dimanche par mois en dehors de cette période, le MUSEE DU TRANSPORT URBAIN BRUXELLOIS fait circuler un tramway historique mis en service lors de EXPOSITION UNIVERSELLE de 1935 pour effectuer une excursion au travers de nombreuses communes bruxelloises.

Isn't the tramway like a moving sidewalk?

Every Sunday from April to September, as well as one Sunday a month outside this period, the BRUSSELS URBAN TRANSPORT MUSEUM takes a historic tramway that was put into service at the 1935 UNIVERSAL EXHIBITION on an excursion through many of Brussels' municipalities.

The history of Brussels is intimately linked to its streetcars.

Each stop (streetcar, bus, subway and premetro station) tells the story of a neighborhood or a period of the country or city, an imaginary hero or a famous character. 

Which one comes to mind?

Do you remember (episode 12).... at the PORTE DE HAL, these are old Brussels streetcars that come out of the walls and imaginary cities that rise above the platforms? "The Unknown Passage".

Utopian landscape of the Brussels artist François Schuiten.

 Le "TRAIN WORLD"  (musée du chemin de fer belge) à Schaerbeeck (voir épisode 12) - le rêve ferroviaire de François Schuiten - présente une exposition temporaire : "Royals & Trains(10.05.22-19.01.23).

The "TRAIN WORLD" (Belgian railroad museum) in Schaerbeeck (see episode 12) - François Schuiten's railway dream - presents a temporary exhibition: "Royals & Trains" (10.05.22-19.01.23).

It is dedicated to the royal trains and the use of the railroads by members of the royal family.

Not to be missed.

The second edition of the story festival "BRUSSELS CITY OF STORIES" explored this year public transport as a setting and as a theme for its readings and performances.

The festival has worked with a large number of socio-cultural associations.

Poetic walks, ephemeral exhibitions, poetic performances...

In the stations Rogier, Bourse, Gare centrale (see episode 14Parc... actors and actresses accompanied passengers during their journey by reading them a story written by the Belgian writers Astrid Haerens (author of prose and poetry living in Brussels), Olivier el Khoury (from Namur, of Lebanese origin, soccer supporter...) and Sophie d'Aubreby (see episode 13).

In March 2022, Rogier Station hosted an immersive installation referring to the new album of Belgian singer Stromae : "Multitude".

On BX1 (Brussels news channel), the program "Le Tram" presented by Thomas Dufrane (journalist) asks about mobility in the Brussels Region.

The "TRAM EXPÉRIENCE" is back on the road since September 2021. New look. Opportunity to enjoy a gastronomic meal on board a streetcar (specially equipped) while crisscrossing the city.

The dishes are made on board by the chef Thibault Granville (Taste Great).

Gourmet" tour. In the car!

You want to eat a bag of French fries in a streetcar?  It is possible with the "TRAM DE BOISFORT".

At the head of the engine, a take-away area (old-fashioned fries, hamburgers, etc.) and at the tail end, a small restaurant area with a menu featuring different versions of the hamburger.

Streetcar at a standstill, not like the streetcar in a French fries cone that Internet users saw on July 21, 2021 on social networks.

Humorous video made in collaboration with the Californian 3D artist Ian Padgham @ Origiful, on the occasion of our national holiday.

As well as the bus covered with waffles driving in front of GALERIES ROYALES renamed "Royal Waffle makers St IBMIVB".

And the subway, a streetcar... transformed into chocolates!

Virtual realizations.

The fourth edition of the VKRS FESTIVAL (dedicated to the art of video) will take place on June 10 and 11, 2022 at the THÉÂTRE DES RICHES-CLAIRE (a stone's throw from Place Saint-Géry and the Bourse).

This cultural center is a real launching pad for young companies.

The program is mainly centered on theater, with a few forays into dance performances and concerts.

DJANGOFOLIES (festival dedicated to jazz) in January, partnership with the LUNDIS D'HORTENSE (association of Belgian jazz musicians), FÊTE DE LA MUSIQUE (June 17 to 21, 2022).

Dear readers, the ideal streetcar route for culture and nature lovers ...

You will be on the way in the next episode. 

Princess Stéphanie de Monaco has experienced it...