Brussels might be a busy capital city during work hours, but this does not mean there is nothing to do to unwind after work or on the weekends. In the center of Ixelles, you will find the Flagey Square. This is a popular spot for locals and students to unwind for afterwork drinks or to enjoy the sunshine (if you are lucky) on its terraces.
The square has a large bus stop that will connect you to almost anywhere else in the city. About a dozen roads converge on the Flagey Square and are filled with cafes and restaurants to enjoy for a meal or have some drinks until the late hours of the night. The most obvious and popular bar being Café Belga with its large terrace, but if you venture into the side streets you will find a plethora of other options available, some of my favourite being “le bar a vins” - great selection of wines, The Black Sheep - your classic Irish pub, and “Le Murmure” – a dive bar with a great selection of craft brews.
When you get to Flagey, there will be one iconic building that instantly stands out and that is the adequately named Flagey building, or as it is Colloquially referred to due to its appearance “The Steamboat”. This Iconic building started out its life as the headquarters of the national institute for radio broadcasting. Built back in 1938 this state of the art building was specifically designed to adhere to the most stringent acoustic and technical requirements of the time. However, more than eight decades later and after several rounds of modernizations and changes of ownership, the Flagey building now functions as a space for cultural events and is resident to the Brussels philharmonic who regularly give concerts in Studio 4.
At the other end of the square you will find Frit flagey - a popular chip shop. Do not be fooled by its small demeanor and its lonely appearance in the picture below, on a busy night out it is not unusual for the line to swell to over a hundred people!
Right across from the square you have the Ixelles ponds – a great place to go for a walk in the sunshine and for architecture lovers to take in the art deco and art nouveau residential buildings that adorn the roads that encompass the ponds. If you keep walking south past the second pond you will reach Abbaye de la Cambre and Bois de la Cambre – a huge park that is worthy of an entire article dedicated to its beauty to be written at a later date!
Places like Flagey are what give Brussels its unique character, something that cannot be found elsewhere. On a sunny day, there really is no better place to spend your free time enjoying the food, drinks, and beautiful architecture, and even when the sun is hiding there are still plenty of indoor activities to enjoy!
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