Each time friends or family come to visit me in Brussels, I try to book a guided tour with the association ARAU to learn more about Art Nouveau in Brussels. ARAU is an unconventional organisation, let alone for the fact that it was founded in 1969 to raise awareness against the demolition, in those years, of part of Brussels’ historical heritage to build new offices and road infrastructures, which forced inhabitants to move to the suburbs. Even today, ARAU is not only a reference for guided tours with architectural interest, but it also organises workshops and publishes studies about urbanisation.
ARAU is a good alternative to the more popular and tourist-oriented tour operators in Brussels. People living in Brussels know ARAU well because it is an active participant in BANAD festival (Brussels Art Nouveau and Art Deco), which takes place yearly and is a great opportunity to visit famous maisons de maîtres normally closed to the public during the year.
Last time I booked a private tour with ARAU we had a very kind and experienced guide. It consisted of a 3-hour walk to see Art Nouveau facades in the Ixelles district and ended with an exciting visit of the Hortamuseum, the private house of Belgian architect Victor Horta, definitively one of my must-sees in Brussels.
Next time you come to Brussels make sure you book a tour with ARAU and you’ll find out more about the Art-Nouveau gems in Brussels.