Loved by the artists, celebrated by the locals. Saint-Gilles attracts musicians, artists, poets and writers. It is vibrant in history, art-deco architecture and cultural diversity. The Parvis de Saint-Gilles is currently being renovated with new shiny pavements and a more unified feel. It’s accessible from all parts of town thanks to the pre-metro station “Parvis de Saint-Gilles” on the square. Ideal to meet up with friends or down some beers before going dancing in the City Center of warm-up in clubs for cold winter nights.
Hype and trendy, Maison du Peuple is a popular hang out amongst artists, locals and young professionals. During day-time I like to go to Maison du Peuple and work on my laptop amongst other freelancers. The kitchen is open from 12am to 10pm and offers breakfasts, brunch classics, veggie menu items and deserts. Evenings at Maison du Peuple are crowded and animated every day of the week, whether it’s for after-work drinks or late nights. Check out the agenda for musical happenings and DJs on Friday and Saturday nights. (Psst: they also have a photo-automat inside).
With so many bars around the square, there is something for everyone. The Verschueren brewery is located next to the church and known for being friendly and laid-back. This is what the locals call a typical Brusselär café. I love going there for their terrace all-year long and enjoy a Verschueren Triple, a local Belgian beer brewed by the bar itself. The café and terrace is ideal for larger groups and quieter surroundings (less street performers around ;-)). Take a closer look at the architecture of the building while sipping your Verschueren Triple; an art-nouveau/ deco glass ceiling on the entrance porch, carved woods and arches celebrates the craftsmanship of another time.
There is a market almost every day of the week at Parvis de Saint-Gilles (except Mondays). Saturday and Sundays have a full food market with delicious local, organic and farm products (think fresh cheese, bread, etc). Thursday evenings is the Food-Truck/ Street-Food market with international cuisine from around the globe; African food, Caribbean, French, Belgian, Crepes, Moroccan, Lebanese, Vegan & Vegetarian, ...heaven for foodies. It’s one of a kind, delicious and one of the best in Brussels!
A bit further up, on Monday evenings (2pm to 8pm) is the market of Place M.Van Meuren. Have a glass of wine, a vegan burger and shop some organic groceries next to another beautiful architecture landmark of Brussels, the Town Hall of Saint-Gilles. During summer-times, the Van Meuren Market is home to the "Apéros Urbains", a popular get-together for locals with music and lots to drink and eat.
Rocky Pompadour (previously known as Le Libraire) is kind of an anarchist hang-out. It is one of those typical brussels cafés; wooden chairs and benches, extensive beer menu, comfort food and friendly owners working behind the bar. It’s my bar of choice for pre-drinks and a good home-made pasta before going clubbing or bar-hoping. It's good, cosy and cheap.
A bit further down of Parvis Saint-Gilles is the neighbourhood's most beautiful treasure; The Café-Restaurant "La porteuse d'eau". An Art Nouveau/ Deco celebration. Whether you are an architecture enthusiast, lost traveler or just looking for a nice place to eat, every excuse is good to spend some in the Saint-Gilles' glorious past. Belgian cuisine and a small choice of 80 Belgian beers. (Ps: the toilets are also a show-stopper!).
© Photo credit: Letizia Comboni
Like this story?
Get more! Subscribe to our monthly inspiration newsletter.