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THE GALERIES ROYALES SAINT-HUBERT (in dutch Koninklijke Sint-Hubertusgalerijen) in Brussels celebrate their 175th anniversary this year (2023).

Perfect opportunity to discover the free exhibition « 175 Years Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert » in the basement of the CINEMA GALERIES (from 15/12/22 to 30/06/23) which retraces the history, the genesis... of this place (true architectural emblem of Brussels!) since the 1830's with all its commercial, artistic, sports, cultural, theatrical activities...

he exhibition also relates many little stories, anecdotes … that make the "History" of this iconic place through many documents: photographs, works of art, plans, drawings, bylaws, letters, maps, ...

Open 7/7 from 2pm to 8pm

Galerie de la Reine, 26

The Société des Galeries eveals you the backstage of one of the most visited buildings of Brussels. Every year, more than 6 million people pass through this passageway whose history dates back to the 19th century.

Look at the blue (Belgian) stone slabs you are walking on. They were 15 centimeters thick when the Galleries were built in 1847. On some slabs, only three centimeters remain today.

Legend ?

The prestigious GALERIES ROYALES SAINT-HUBERT are not a public building. These Brussels passages do not belong to the City of Brussels, nor to the Brussels-Capital Region, nor to the Federal State

They are in fact the  property of a private company created in 1845 with the support of the City of Brussels.


Many investors contributed to the creation of the Société des Galeries and its branches.

This "private building" contains public passages that fall under the authority of the City of Brussels.

Private-public or public-private partnership? What is your choice?

Alexandre Grosjean is the president of the société civile des Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert since 1995.

The exhibition describes the origins, evolution and life of this extraordinary Brussels microcosm.



We highly recommend the book (very well documented) that was published for this anniversary: « Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, Stars des Galeries, Galeries des Stars » by journalist and historical chronicler Paul Grosjean. (Édition Ventures, 2022).


This author belongs to the family that has presided over Galeries Saint-Hubert  for several generations.

The book evokes the material, architectural and real estate heritage of these emblematic places, but is also dedicated to the intangible, cultural and artistic heritage.

The author also made a point of referring to the mythical places as well as the notorious characters who frequented these Galeries Royales as :




One of the most famous writers of French literature made Brussels his home for over 500 days.

Probably also the best publicity agent for Galeries Saint-Hubert.

He regularly frequented the Brussels passage during his first exile.

In 1862, Victor Hugo published one of his most famous novels: Les Misérables. A masterpiece. 5 volumes.

It took him nearly 20 years to write this iconic work;

The success is immediate! Its publisher, Albert Lacroix - a Belgian ! - decided to celebrate the release of this book with dignity.

Brussels-based publishing house « Lacroix & Verboekhoven » rue des Colonies

He organized a banquet in honor of this writer, which brought together 80 guests belonging to the intellectual elite.

150 years later, (31/05/2012) : reconstruction of the exceptional banquet (by Brusselicious) offered to Victor Hugo in the GALERIES ROYALES SAINT-HUBERT : a menu from that time, presence of Florian V. Hugo, (the great-great-great-grandson of Victor Hugo!), readings of texts, ...

Large black curtains obscured the entrances to the gallery. Long tables occupied the whole space.

A « remake ».

Festive event that took place in the GALERIE DU ROI.

Next to the THÉÂTRE DES GALERIES where the play "Les Misérables" (theatrical adaptation of this novel) was premiered in 1863.

Preference given to Brussels over Paris.

« Le diner (banquet) des Misérables » in tribute to Victor Hugo.

The GALERIES ROYALES SAINT-HUBERT are an event venue par excellence.


Arthur Rimbaud,


(French poet, 1854-1891)

A "phenomenon" of literature.

Work written in 6 years:   we retain among others the classics 'A Season in Hell', 'The Illuminations', 'The Drunken Boat' or the sonnet 'Voyelles'.

He is the first writer to have introduced adolescence into literature. His recognition will be only posthumous.



(French writer and poet, 1844- 1896)

He can be called the first "cursed poet". He coined the term himself to describe himself as a misunderstood artist who rejected the values of society and adopted a provocative and self-destructive behavior.

On July 10, 1873, at 9am, the poet Paul Verlaine went to the gunsmith Montigny in the GALERIE DE LA REINE. He was drunk and desperate. His lover Arthur Rimbaud announced him that he was going back to Paris and that he was leaving him.

Verlaine then bought a seven millimeter six-shot pistol nicknamed "pet de lapin") which would be used a few hours later to attempt to murder her lover.

Paul Verlaine will be incarcerated in the Amigo prison a few hundred meters away. The Amigo was not yet the luxury hotel we know today but a prison.

The most famous weapon of the literature bought in the GALERIES ROYALES SAINT-HUBERT.

The Archives of the City of Brussels keep the police report of July 10, 1873, which relates the arrest of Verlaine, after having fired two revolver shots at Rimbaud.

He will serve his sentence in the prison of Mons between 1873 and 1875.

In the past, he served part of his sentence in the Petits Carmes prison in Brussels.

Rimbaud, injured in the wrist, will not press charges.

Verlaine is more condemned for his homosexuality than for having shot Rimbaud",

Today, you can still buy pistols at the same place as Verlaine.

But they can't hurt anyone anymore: it's the sign "LE PAIN QUOTIDIEN" that stands in the place of the Montigny gun shop.



(Galerie de la Reine 11)

Network of organic bakeries-restaurants, the Pain Quotidien was created in 1990.

Particularly popular terrace.


René Magritte,

(Belgian surrealist painter, 1898-1967)

René Magritte liked to go with his dog « Jackie » in the CINEMA DES GALERIES.

It was the only cinema in Brussels dans lequel where customers were allowed to bring their dogs to the screenings.

The attachment of Georgette (1901-1986) and René Magritte (a childless couple), for their pet Jackie (but also for all those who accompanied them since their marriage in 1922), was well known to the public.

René Magritte is perhaps - with Georges Simenon - the most famous Walloon in the world.

The HOTELS ALMA GRAND PLACE and ARIS GRAND PLACE welcome pets for a nominal fee of 25 euros for the entire stay.

The CINEMA DES GALERIES is the oldest cinema in operation in Brussels. It has never closed since its opening in 1939!



Belgian singer-songwriter, poet, actor and director.


What do you think of the bronze statue of Jacques Brel ?

« L’Envol » sculpted by the Brussels artist Tom Frantzen  in front of the design bench of the artist Lucile Soufflet and the tree, both planted in 2003?

Inauguration in 2017 on the place de la Vieille Halle aux Blés, near HOTEL ALMA GRAND PLACE.

The great Jacques Brel had his habits at the TAVERNE DU PASSAGE.

Do not hesitate to visit « LA FONDATION BREL » located not far from GALERIES ROYALES SAINT-HUBERT and very close to the HOTEL ALMA GRAND PLACE.

Adress : Pl. de la Vieille Halle aux Blés 11, 1000 Bruxelles


Angela Merkel

Politician, first woman president of her political party, the Christian Democratic Union (C.D.U.), chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany (2005-2021).


In 2017, this German stateswoman sat down with Charles Michel (former Belgian Prime Minister from 2014 - 2019) at « LA TAVERNE DU PASSAGE » located in the GALERIES DE LA REINE.

A tavern that you must visit! A real conservatory of Brussels delicacies to discover, if only for its shrimp croquettes

A gourmet stopover in Brussels out of the ordinary!


Brigitte Macron

Wife of Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic since May 14, 2017.

In 2021, this "First Lady" went (reservation for ten people) to the MARMITON.

Brewery located at the corner of the Galerie de la Reine and the rue des Bouchers.

Menu with fresh and seasonal products, Belgian specialties (meat and fish...)


Jean-Paul Belmondo


This french actor celebrated a birthday in April 2012 at the MARMITON, his "fief" in Brussels.


Let's also mention the remarkable work of photographer Arnaud Everaerts who, for years, has been photographing the Galeries Saint-Hubert (official photographer).

He is also responsible for most of the recent photographs you will find in the exhibition. He is particularly fond of travel photography and black and white prints.

In 2006, he launched with friends the ASBL PHOTOGALLERY which offers a multitude of activities related to photography.

(Galerie de la Reine, 10)

Tel :+ 32 (0)485 80 58 43

Currently, the Belgian publishing company « Edition Ventures » has kept the food magazines with « Elle à Table / Elle Eten »; health and well-being magazines with « Psychologies », « Pharmassistant(e) / Farmassisten(e) » and  « Elle Santé »; fashion and lifestyle magazines with « L’Officiel, Elle Belgique / Elle Belgïe » and « Marie-Claire »; and decoration magazines with « Déco Idées / Actief Wonen » and « Elle Décoration ».

The story resonates in the heart of Brussels!

The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert are VERY close to the Hotels Aris Grand Place and Alma Grand Place.

A long love story?

We invite you to come and see this exhibition while staying in our comfortable rooms at unbeatable prices.



Adress :Rue du Marché aux Herbes 78-80

Phone : 02 514 43 00

Mail :

"Excellence" at the rendezvous!


Adress : Rue des Eperonniers 42, 1000 Bruxelles

Phone : 02 502 28 28

Mail :

A "must"!

The entire « team » of the HOTELS ALMA GRAND PLACE and ARIS GRAND PLACE will be happy to give you more information about this jewel of the city of Brussels, which they recommend without hesitation to their clients, such as :

Its restaurants, breweries, theaters, chocolate makers, candy stores, grocery stores, stores: jewelry, leather goods, gloves, hats, umbrellas, lace, soap, shoes, furniture, decoration, perfume, cookies, .....



Don't hesitate to go to Amsterdam to the Rijksmuseum to see the largest exhibition of Johannes Vermeer ever organized (10.02.2023 - 4.06.2023). Our "Girl with a Pearl Earring" at the reception of the Alma Hotel invites you to do so... (see blog, part activities, episode 14)


Feel free to browse the « Gazette des Galeries »  published by the Société des Galeries since 2012 and made available to guests in the  ARBANY HOTELS. : high quality photos, agenda of activities, articles on the news of the places, ....

Small trilingual practical guide to the Galleries with a print run of 15,000 copies per issue.

The Galeries (Royales) Saint-Hubert, (in dutch : Koninklijke Sint- Hubertusgalerijen) are considered the first truly monumental shopping malls built in the 19th century (in one year!), designed by the Belgian architect of Dutch origin Jean-Pierre Cluysenaar (1811-1880). A very great Brussels urbanist!

Galleries edifiées in just 15 months by 750 workers.

But it took 10 long years before the project was completed!

The galeries Saint-Hubert were built on a marshy area where a small river, the Saint-Hubert, passed through and gave them their name.

They were classified as a Monument in 1986  and are included in the cultural heritage category of the UNESCO "tentative list" since 2008.

A true "city within a city", a 210-meter walkway.


They are divided into three zones:

* The GALERIE DE LA REINE (in dutch : Koninginnegalerij).

Composed of 29 bays, length 106 meters.

Gallery dedicated to Louise -Marie d’Orléans (1812-1850 ), wife of Roi Léopold 1er (1790-1865).

Isn't it often said that "Galeries Saint Hubert is the queen of galleries"?


To the south, the Galerie de la Reine leads to the Rue du Marché aux Herbes.


* THE GALERIE DU ROI (in dutch : Koningsgalerij) Composed of 27 bays, length 100 meters.

t extends from the rue des Bouchers to the rue d'Arenberg it was called the rue des Peaux or rue des Pelletiers. At the end of the 15th century, it became the property of the Arendberg (lordly) family.)

Gallery dedicated to Léopold 1er (1790-1865 - Prince of Saxe-Cobourg-Gotha), founder of the Belgian dynasty.

On July 21, 1831, Léopold 1er took the constitutional oath

In 1890, July 21 became the official date of the Belgian National Day.


The opportunity to display the Belgian flag on public buildings.

for the anecdote , Since 192 years, the Belgian flag floats... upside down !

The Constitution is very clear : the official colors of Belgium are in order red, yellow and black.

June 20, 1847: Official inauguration of the GALERIES ROYALES SAINT-HUBERT by Léopold 1er and his three children.

The links between the Galeries Royales and the Royal Family seem to be strong: all the Monarchs or future Monarchs or members of the Royal Family have frequented (or still do) the GALERIES ROYALES SAINT-HUBERT : official and private visits... sans without forgetting that this passage presents a concentration of Suppliers of the Court!


* THE GALERIE DES PRINCES (formerly called Passage du Prince)

Composed of 12 bays, length 53 meters.

It is located perpendicularly between the Galerie du Roi and the rue des Dominicains.

Gallery dedicated to their dear child (and future king) Léopold II (1835-1909 - second king of BELGIUM, the « builder king », sovereign of the independent state of Congo (1885-1908)).

The  naming of the Galleries  was the subject of several debates. We thought of honoring the architect and the founder. They declined the offer.

Why not the names of Leopold I and Louise-Marie d'Orléans (his wife)?

Finally, the titles worn by the royal family will be painted in gold letters at the entrance of each branch of the passage:







The complex originally named "GALERIES SAINT-HUBERT" became "ROYAL" in the 1960s.

It is possible to access the galleries from the Rue du Marché aux Herbes, la Rue des Bouchers or from the Rue de l'Ecuyer.

If you look up before entering the Galeries Saint-Hubert,  motto "omnibus Omnia" (all for all) inscribed in gold letters at the top of the exterior facades.

Women have been omnipresent in the galleries and still are.

Starting with "Flore and Thalie" who watch over the façade of the rue du Marché aux Herbes...

Women still play an important role

The galleries are adorned with allegorical statues praising the virtues of the country and of Brussels.


Sculptures and reliefs, from the chisel of Joseph Jacquet (1822-1898) dorn the internal and external facades of the passage.

A place of memory, in homage to the elegance of Brussels!

They were the first commercial center in Belgium.

 « chic » shopping is king.

Promenade and notoriety.

Ideal place to do your shopping in sumptuous shops and to eat at renowned restaurants...

One of the most popular places for the inhabitants of Brussels and the tourists.

Electric scooters, rollerblades, bicycles... are prohibited!

In 2019, the Tour de France started in Brussels for the 5th time in its history.

This event was the occasion to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first victory of Eddy Merckx (the greatest cycling champion of the history and Belgian!).

Nicknamed "The Cannibal" or "The Ogre of Tervuren".


And also the 100th anniversary of the yellow jersey which made its first appearance in 1919.

Eddy Merckx has worn the yellow jersey 111 times!

Le 04 juillet 2019, les coureurs sont partis de la PLACE ROYALE, ont traversé les GALERIES ROYALES SAINT-HUBERT et sont arrivés à la GRAND PLACE pour les présentations des équipes, une à une.

Once again the atmosphere was festive in the Galleries.

For the occasion, the classic flags were replaced by the Tour de France flags.

I can't help but think of the arch of yellow bicycles (8m by 14m wide) that stood at the top of the steps of the Mont des Arts.


The city of Brussels was dressed in the color Yellow:


 Manneken Pis


Place de Brouckère



Since 2019,  the estaminet Poechenellekelder (rue du Chêne) with an admittedly hard-to-pronounce name still has its colorful bikes.

Wide choice of beers, temple of Brussels folklore.

All the breweries of the Senne valley are represented (Oud Beersel, 3 Fonteinen, Boon, Tilquin, Girardin, ...).


The breathtaking history of GALERIES ROYALES SAINT-HUBERT will be told in various chapters of the blog.

Ballads in time ....Past / Present / Future ?

They were (quickly) the favorite promenade and the fashionable place, frequented by artists and intellectuals of all kinds.

They were (quickly) the favorite promenade and the fashionable place, frequented by artists and intellectuals of all kinds.

Access was charged: twenty-five cents on Thursday and Sunday, ten cents on other days.

The Galleries benefit today from a LED scenographic lighting, which allows the regular projection of sounds and lights!

For the Tour de France (one of the most publicized events in the world!) the GALERIES ROYALES SAINT-HUBERT are decked out in yellow. July 2019.

In February 2023, the ARBANY group (Aris Grand Place and Alma Grand Place Hotels) will celebrate its 5th anniversary!

ALMA GRAND PLACE HOTEL, rue des Eperonniers 42-44, previously a school center.

Work of the Belgian architect Édouard Pelseneer (1870-1947), a follower of Art Nouveau

In 1985, he also realized the MAISON DES HIBOUX (geometrical Art Nouveau style) which takes its name from the decorative elements on the facade representing owls (read blog/ activities/ episode 12).

The round windows remind us of owl eyes.

(Avenue Brugmann 55, 1060 Saint-Gilles)


In 2030,  it will be the Bicentenary of Belgium and Brussels may be the European Capital of Culture;