“I am William, born in Bruges in 1987, raised in Ghent, and I’ve lived in Brussels for ten years. Brussels is a vibrant city where nobody takes him or herself too seriously. It can sometimes be chaotic and feel like nothing is under control, but I think that’s how a big city should be. I like it a lot when you’re surrounded by crazy creative, and fun people who decide to take life as it comes and enjoy it that way”- William Mertens
Nothing like a sunny autumn day in Brussels. Getting up early to enjoy the day to the fullest, we start with a nice breakfast at the end of Avenue Louisa at café de la Presse. Here you imagine yourself in New York, a real coffee bar with an extensive food menu where people walk in to eat on the spot or to take something for the road. You can come here for breakfast, brunch, lunch or to eat pie. I opt for a hearty breakfast with a tasty morning bowl on Saturdays.
Bois de la Cambre
Once breakfast is behind us, it’s time for a walk in the Bois de la Cambre. This forest is one of the largest parks in the Brussels region, perfect for stretching your legs. The park has been largely car-free for two years, so there is plenty of room for cycling, walking, jogging, skating, etc. Be sure to walk to the central pond, where you will have a beautiful view and can stop on the large lawn to sit in the sun.
In the middle of this pond, you will find a restaurant called Chalet Robinson, which you can only access by pontoon. You can have lunch here, eat a waffle in the afternoon, and rent pedalos to sail around the island.
Besides Chalet Robinson, you can also find a cosy kiosk called Woodpecker at this spot. You can also have a cosy lunch with a nice view of the park and the pond. There is a large strip of asphalt here where many activities take place.
Museum of Natural Sciences
We head to the Museum of Natural Sciences in the European Quarter in the afternoon. This museum is worth a visit, where young and old can come and see Europe’s largest dinosaur hall, with no fewer than 30 skeletons on display.
Sint Gillis Neighbourhood
When evening falls, I head to the area around the city hall in the Sint Gillis neighbourhood. This bustling neighbourhood has everything, lots of nice pubs and restaurants, beautiful architecture and two parks.
I head to Café la Pompe for a few drinks on the terrace. This pub used to be a petrol station, hence its name and the decoration inside. This is where young Brussels people gather over a glass and a bite to start the evening.
A tip for those who love football, when Union Saint Gilloise plays at home, try to get tickets. The neighbourhood’s football team is very popular with (young) Brussels residents, and there is always a party there. The stadium is just in the Forest district, next to Duden Park. You can walk there from la Pompe in 15 minutes. The stadium and its listed facade are unique as they are in the middle of a residential area and a park. You can get drinks and food from local pubs in the street in front of the stadium. Things are convivial at Union; let yourself be carried away by the atmosphere. Those who want to go further into the night after the match can head down to the Parvis of St Gillis. Here you have several bars where DJs also play. You can dance here, meet people, or enjoy local beers until early. Maison du Peuple has great music on Saturdays.