Formerly, the Sablon was a large single district situated above the Senne where the great families rubbed shoulders. In the eighteenth century, the Haussmann architecture of Rue de la Régence arrived to divide the Sablon into two: the Petit Salon and the Grand Sablon.
Grand and Petit Sablon
The link between the top and the bottom of the city, the Grand Sablon has changed over the years to accommodate a horse market, a crossbowmen's guild, a Gothic church, the Ommegang procession, and so on and so forth. Opposite the Notre Dame Church, there is the Petit Sablon, a baroque haven of peace that has a beauty all of its own thanks to its statues representing the various building trades.
Today, it's great to stroll around the Sablon. The capital's jet set meets up there every day for a good meal or for a drink. Antique dealers, collectors and art lovers trip over themselves in the district: during the week in the district's many galleries and every weekend at the antiques market on the square. With a myriad of old cameras or radios, silver cutlery, furniture and old postcards, it's difficult to leave empty-handed. Do you have a sweet tooth for chocolates, truffles and other sweets? Discover a chocolate-oriented Sablon, since it brings together the very best of Belgian chocolate: Godiva, Wittamer, Pierre Marcolini...
Rue de Rollebeek...
At the foot of the Grand Sablon, the winding Rue de Rollebeek is in stark contrast with the wide esplanade. This paved street with its intermittent staircases occupies the bed of a former tributary of the Senne that used to run from the Sablon to the current Halles Saint-Gery. It was the first pedestrian street in Brussels and offers today a judicious mixture of good restaurants, bars and art galleries. Note that it is at the foot of Rue de Rollebeek that the Crosly Bowling Alleys are available for the delight of those who enjoy that particular pastime.
And for Going Out...
After discovering the Sablon where art, culture and gastronomy reign supreme, you will be able to get yourself a serious drink. In the wine bar department, the Sablon Wine Bar and Todt's Café you will let you discover some extraordinary wines. You'll fall head over heels for The Pixel and its decor, all in... pixels. Be sure to make a detour by the Canne à Sucre, a rum distillery that really exudes sunlight. Does the dance floor beckon? Visit the Marquee, whose three floors will take you out of yourself until the early hours, even on Sundays, with its Borderline Corp evenings. Royalty is also one of the other cool places where "party" is the watchword! Finally you shouldn't leave the Sablon without a glance at the NH Hôtel, a romantic drop-off point for stars when out-and-about in Brussels. Without treating yourself to a gargantuan breakfast at the Pain Quot'... Without visiting the Jewish museum in the middle of the square or without enjoying the delights of the auctions. Noémie Somme & Justine De Coster