© Nicolas Casula
© Nicolas Casula

Cimetière d'Ixelles: the heart of students' life in Brussels

2 minutes to read

The Cimetière d’Ixelles

As its name could tell, this very lively neighborhood is named after a cemetery north of which it is located, a 5-hectares land surrounded by stonewalls. The cemetery itself is, in fact, one of the most renowned in Brussels, and even in the country, as many famous scientists, artists, and politicians were buried there. I must admit that although I spent years there as a student, it is only a few years later that I took the time to visit the cemetery.

Cimetière d'Ixelles, Brussels
Cimetière d'Ixelles, Brussels
Chaussée de Boondael 478, 1050 Ixelles, Belgique

The neighborhood: one of the coolest in Europe

The neighborhood “Le Cimetière d’Ixelles” was honored a few months ago as “one of the coolest in Europe” by The Guardian. It is located among the Campus du Solbosch and the green Campus de La Plaine (co-managed by the ULB and its dutch speaking counterpart, the Vrije Universiteit van Brussels - VUB), and the two main campuses of the Université Libre de Bruxelles, and my dear Alma Mater. For the record, the ULB also owns another third campus, located on the outskirts (Anderlecht, metro station Erasme), which is dedicated to medical students and all curricula linked to healthcare.

The Solbosch Campus, Brussels
The Solbosch Campus, Brussels
Solbosch, 1050 Ixelles, Belgique
© Nicolas Casula
© Nicolas Casula
© Nicolas Casula
© Nicolas Casula
Campus de la Plaine, Brussels
Campus de la Plaine, Brussels
1050 Ixelles, Belgique

Needless to say that many bars, restaurants, cafes, retail shops and entrepreneurs in the Cimetière d’Ixelles make their living out of the entire ULB academic community that is active all year round, except in the summer (from July 1 to August 10), and, to a lesser extent, in the exam period (January and May).

A university hotspot and not only

It is the university hotspot of the European capital. If you walk along the Avenue de l' Université, you see many students around, going to the library, shopping, or having a drink in a bar or at a terrace. Sometimes, especially in autumn, you will see them wearing long white coats and caps ("pennes" in French), which means they have just been baptized, an important folkloric moment in student life. Also, you will meet lecturers, professors and the administrative staff wandering around, having a drink or eating, at almost any time of the day. Although pretty much university-oriented, do not think that the neighborhood is an isolated silo from the rest of the city. On the contrary, you will rather feel a city that was built around its university. It is a bit the same feeling like the one you have in other university towns in Europe, like Salamanca or Cambridge.

© Nicolas Casula
© Nicolas Casula

The places to go

I remember many spots I used to go to as a student to relax together with mates, most of which are still running today, by the way. The most famous places, much appreciated by students and locals, are the following.

El Café bar, Cimetière d'Ixelles
El Café bar, Cimetière d'Ixelles
Avenue de la Couronne 463, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgique
Makisu, Cimetière d'Ixelles
Makisu, Cimetière d'Ixelles
Chaussée de Boondael 470, 1050 Ixelles, Belgique
La Bastoche, Cimetière d'Ixelles
La Bastoche, Cimetière d'Ixelles
Chaussée de Boondael 473, 1050 Ixelles, Belgique
Le Tavernier, Cimetière d'Ixelles
Le Tavernier, Cimetière d'Ixelles
Chaussée de Boondael 445, 1050 Ixelles, Belgique
Lloyd Coffee Eatery, Cimetière d'Ixelles
Lloyd Coffee Eatery, Cimetière d'Ixelles
Avenue de la Couronne 443, 1050 Ixelles, Belgique

How to get there?

The Cimetière d’Ixelles is easily reachable via public transport. You can take the bus line 71, from Central Station, or 95 from the Luxembourg Station (in the European quarter). You can also arrive by train at the Etterbeek station, and then walk a few hundreds of meters up to the Cimetière.


Interesting towns related to this story


The author

Nicolas Casula

Nicolas Casula

I got the travel virus when taking a 5-months travel break a few years ago. I believe that every place, every area is worth unveiling. Beauty lies everywhere.

Stories you might also like