Place du Luxembourg

Frédéric Solvel.

19 May 2011, 05:05 Last Updated: 31 Oct 2018, 14:10

The sun's first rays have hardly started to hit the Brussels pavements before terraces mushroom all over the Place du Luxembourg's pavements. An international youth then fills the streets and the neighbouring institutions...

A Little Bit of History

Trains had hardly laid their first rails on the continent when the construction of a station in the Léopold district was already under consideration. Custom soon erased the name of our sovereign in favour of the capital of his grand-ducal cousins, and the station became the Gare du Luxembourg. The majestic building as originally envisaged was quickly reduced to a central nave, of which only the classified frontage and its clock remains today, escaping the real estate pressure of the European institutions. The train is still there... but the new Gare du Luxembourg is underground!

A Few Drinks Later

Because, without being an enclave, the Place du Luxembourg is indeed a separate part of Brussels where local languages make room for various accents from all over the world. All around John Cockerill's statue, there are establishments ready to satisfy your needs for food and drink. The neighbouring bars were not without interest either, despite their samey menus and their somewhat inflated prices. The alignment of the bars is disturbed at various places by restaurants that are sometimes snack bars, sometimes brasseries, and sometimes exponents of French cuisine. We have our pet addresses once again: the Tout Bon for a sandwich or a salad, the Fat Boy for its legendary hamburgers and the Brasserie Léo for showing off a little.

Don't be surprised by the strange array of convertibles increasing their car radio volumes at each turn of the imitation roundabout: it's all part of the game. The Place du Luxembourg is for expats what the Sablon is for Brusselers. And if this festive little jaunt has taken too much of a toll, be prudent, there are bus stops all around the square, numerous taxi ranks await you, and the "Trône" underground station is just at the end of the street...

A Little Village

Alongside this festive aspect, the Place du Luxembourg is also a little village with its mini-supermarket, its station, its hotel (Hôtel Renaissance), its fitness club (World Class) and its beauty parlour (Livia Kova, Brussels Beauty Bar). Frédéric Solvel

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