We stopped at 23 Rue Ravenstein, do you remember? Let's continue our cultural journey in Brussels with Marc L.




What to think of this imposing neo-Gothic building (at 66 Coudenberg, in the Ravenstein bend), namely the ANCIENT ENGLISH PHARMACY CH. DELACRE (built 1898-1900).



The architect is again Paul Saintenoy who also built the "Old England" (Art Nouveau) on the same street!

I like its facade with this sundial on a mosaic background, representing a sun shining on a rooster (no, we are not in WALLONIA...) accompanied by an owl.



Delacre ? From pharmacy to biscuit? Thanks to chocolate? Supplier to the Court (1879)... with its "caravan teas"...

Subsequently, the launch of quality industrial biscuits.


"Delacre Tea Time", my biscuit tin which I have been using for years as a storage space for my "haberdashery" and which I call "The Queen"...

Bought at the AD Delhaize on Anspach Boulevard, a supermarket 4 minutes from the Aris Grand-Place hotel.

A place that brings me back, in many ways, to the series of novels "The San Francisco Chronicles" by Armistead Maupin, but "Brussels version" ...

First volume finished that my neighbour asked me to read it, to lend it to one of her friends who ..... all waited for the continuation... all ended up buying them... from Liège, Brussels, Paris, Santiago...


Today, "LA PHARMACIE ANGLAISE" remains from this old pharmacy, a cocktail bar "out of time" renowned in Brussels for its choice and its home-made creations.

No Prozac, the medication has changed.

Today, "magic potions"... where Hendricks Gin is in the spotlight. A place that has retained the wooded cupboards of the apothecaries, a retro Hercule Poirot décor filled with vials, jars ....Universal "barred".



 I imagine drinking a beverage again, a real elixir, while listening to Margaux Vranken's new opus, "Purpose" (2020).

 Pianist, composer and singer ...born in Brussels.

 Do you like jazz? ...don't hesitate to go and listen to it. As well as Melanie de Basio, Belgian jazz singer. Latest album "Lilies" (2017).


Long live the diversity of all these buildings in this area, a diversity that characterizes Brussels today in many areas and that makes Brussels inimitable, heterogeneous... and that we love this capital that conceals so many treasures!


When I feel like finding some peace while walking, I like to stop on the square in front of the PALAIS DE CHARLES DE LORRAINE (a princely palace from the Age of Enlightenment with a remarkable architecture.


I like to imagine Charles of Lorraine surrounded by his subjects, all dressed in magnificent costumes, with wigs and other accessories of etiquette and pomp of this century while reading the encyclopedias of Diderot and d'Alembert...

It's a pity that only a part of it remains, especially when we know the reasons why...


I like the idea of knowing when I walk on the GRAND-PLACE OF BRUXELLES to look up and see that a gilded bronze equestrian statue of Charles-Alexandre de Lorraine, (is placed on the gable of the "Arbre d'Or" house.

Yes, let's leave our phones for a moment and observe ... above our heads ... just for a moment ... What a wealth of riches!

I remember perfectly ... "no maybe" (Brussels expression) ...

...of a concert of my favourite Belgian band (Karl Lagerfeld was a fan), Vive la fête which took place in this courtyard (August 2009 ?) during the BSF (Brussels Summer Festival), preceded by La Grande Sophie.

The children of my former neighbours had lots of glitter in their eyes and still remember it.…



 Today, when I watch their video clip "les marionnettes" (2020), a cover of a song by Christophe (1945/2020), I don't know why, I always make a link "in my mind" with those of     the ROYAL THEATRE OF TOONE (rue du Marché-aux-Herbes, 66) located next to the Aris Grand -Place hotel.



I invite you to come to this annual urban music festival in the heart of Brussels.

The BSF (born in 2002), the most Brussels-based of the summer festivals, always has a varied national and international programme, attracting more than 100,000 festival-goers.

It is possible to get subscriptions (passes) at interesting prices in view of the numerous headliners that are jostling for attention...


Brussels is dancing and singing. Brussels is festive once again!

Our hotels (Alma Grand-Place and Aris Grand-Place) are only 5 minutes away from the locations where it takes place. We look forward to seeing you there...!


I continue my "way" down the slope that leads me to the esplanade of the MONT DES ARTS (KUNSTBERG) which connects the "bottom" and the "top" of the city (as we say in our country).

Which I have always liked to call "our Brussels Trocadero"...


Art is present on all sides.

Here, no "Grande Dame" (Eiffel Tower), but in the distance the ATOMIUM, the Town Hall Tower and its spire, (GRAND-PLACE OF BRUSSELS), the BASILICA OF THE SACRE CORE OF KOEKELBERG.

A real colourful postcard.

One of the most emblematic views of Brussels, and undoubtedly one of the most photographed.

The whole "belly" of Brussels, its "heart", stretches out before you.

I particularly like to see this beautiful TOWER OF THE CITY HALL (gothic style) with its illuminations, at nightfall.

I find this tower charming because it is not perfectly centred and I like the legend that has been told about it since my childhood.

It is said that the architect of the time realised this, climbed to the top and threw himself off before falling back down to where a star is on the ground today.

But this star is simply the "zero kilometre of Brussels".


  So how far do our guests have to travel from this "star" to get to the Aris Grand-Place and Alma Grand-Place (3 stars)?

  I'll let you guess ...




As for this BASILICA OF THE SACRE CORE OF KOEKELBERG (1926/1970, Art Deco style), it has always reminded me of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris (inspired by the king of the Belgians, Leopold II?)


It is the fifth largest church in the world!

You can visit the Museum of Religious Art and the Museum of the Black Sisters.

Don't forget to go to the top to see the panorama. You won't be disappointed!


I often look at this "OPEN WALL" (60 square meters, accessible to all) located on the esplanade of the Mont des Arts.

Here, not the "wall of shame" but a "wall of expression" dedicated to street art.


Maybe one day, among these artists, we will discover a Jean-Michel Basquiat (1960/1988)?

I remember the exhibition dedicated to this American painter (one of the most important of the 20th century, who died of an overdose), at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in 2018/2019.


And I have no regrets about having bought the catalogue (now difficult to find) which I never tire of consulting... while listening to the Queen of Pop... "The Queen"... Madonna?



Going down the (often tagged) stairs to the left, I find myself in front of the KBR (= contraction of the 2 bilingual names "Koninklijke Bibliotheek and Bibliothèque Royale...).

No more linguistic problems, 'Bruxelles/Brussel' unites.

Brussels is a bilingual city and all places have 2 names (one in French, the other in 'Flemish' (Dutch).



 What about the song "Les flamandes" (1959) sung by our singer from the flat country Jacques Brel (mother from Brussels and father from Flanders)     in which he depicts a rural life worthy of Brueghel's paintings and which attracted the wrath of a community at the time?

 Not to be confused with the song "les flamingants" (1977).



National Scientific Library which brings together all Belgian publications.


A true cultural and historical heritage (millions of documents .... ), the "Knowledge" is there.

The library was formerly known as "L'Albertine" (dedicated to Albert I, King of the Belgians).


You can visit the KBR Museum, which is dedicated to the golden age of the manuscript book, with the writings of the Dukes of Burgundy.

The Museum of Printing is also located in this library building, with among other things the most important collection of printing equipment in Europe.

I can't help but think of a history lesson (with Miss Libert) where we learned that J. Gutenberg invented printing in 1440 (with his movable type press...).

In the heart of the library you will discover the CHAPEL OF NASSAU (or Saint Georges) (16th century, a gothic pearl), a museum space.


The exhibition 'The world of Bruegel in black and white' (2019/2020) at this venue was a huge success.

I like the idea that KBR had for this exhibition to "marry" street art with the gigantic mural by Phlegm (British street artist).

You will notice by observing his work that this artist has an admiration for Brueghel (1525 / 1569) and the choice of colours, namely black and white, make me think of the prints of this painter and engraver who spent a large part of his life in Brussels.

Brussels, the capital where so many famous artists have lived or like to live.


You are welcome to visit the hotels of the Arbany company to "feel" it during your walks...


When you leave the KBR you fall... More in the next episode!


Marc L.