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Chloe, you have lived in Bruxelles for 4 years and know the city inside out - could you tell us your three favourite spots around town where you take friends that visit you for a weekend?
Of course! The first one would be the area called Les Marolles. Located "downtown" of the city, it's the most "typical" Brussels neighbourhood and actually one of the oldest. There you'll find people who've been living in the area for decades, plenty of little houses previously inhabited by factory workers, tons of design and fashion shops and the famous Place du Jeu de Balle where there's an antique market almost every day and where it's impossible to leave without something. Second is the Bois de la Cambre. It's the lung of Brussels. A huge forested area with a lake in the middle and plenty of space to lay in the sun and enjoy a picnic. I take my dogs there several times a week and it always feels amazing for the body and the mind. If you're feeling adventurous you can even go a bit further to the Foret de Soignes which is a real forest and one of the biggest in Belgium (see feature img). Third would be my current neighbourhood: Saint Gilles. Cool and edgy without being snobbish and still very authentic, it's home to some very interesting cultural projects such as La Tricoterie where you can watch a movie or an exhibition, attend workshops and eat, all in the same place! Also, it's definitely the best neighbourhood to grab a drink, either at the Parvis de Saint Gilles or at Le Dillens when it's sunny and you can sit on the outside terrasse.
People hanging out at Bois de la Cambre Park, antique market at Place du Jeu de Balle, vintage drawing of Saint Gilles.
Belgium has an incredible density of Michelin star restaurants and some of the best chefs in the world are based in this small country! What's it like to be a vegan in Bruxelles? Could you tell us a couple of your fav vegan and vegetarian restaurants? Where would you send us for a nice breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Definitely not easy but it's improving! Belgian cuisine is very focused on meat and dairy with a lot of sauce. Fish and seafood also have a strong place so the struggle is real! But thank god, there are some yummy vegan places opening up around the city that make incredible food for plant-based visitors! For breakfast/brunch, I would suggest Chyl which offers an incredible brunch in a lovely city house near Le Bois de la Cambre. Booking in advance is strongly advised as it's always full. I also really like Hinterland for their wide selection of breakfast including plenty of vegan options and the kindness of the staff. For lunch, Ami has vegetarian/vegan soups, salads, burgers and it's always a delight. My favourite dinner spot for an occasion is Tero. Not only is the design incredibly beautiful, the cuisine is based on the slow food movement principles with most of the ingredients being local and organic. There are plenty of vegan options.
Last but not least - as you might figure we are huge vintage & sustainable fashion lovers! Could you tell us about your favourite vintage shops in Brussels? Are there any cool concept stores with a focus on sustainability or sustainable Belgians brands with shops in town that we shouldn’t miss out on?
Brussels is booming when it comes to vintage! If you're looking for eco European furniture, swing by Mieu and if you're not afraid to do some searching, stop by Les Petits Riens, a social project that sells second-hand furniture for a very affordable price. In Les Marolles, you'll find several vintage clothing stores including one where you can pay per kilo. 2 shops sell only eco-fashion for men and women: Wonderloop in the city Center and Orybany in Les Marolles. Finally, don't miss Belge une Fois, a concept store that only offers clothing, jewellery and design pieces made by Belgian designers! Perfect for a gift to bring home ☺.