Brussels boasts plenty of places where one can admire the juxtaposition of architectural styles from different centuries. Place Sablon is one such gem. I never tire of walking across it or along the streets that radiate from it. There is always a façade, a decorated doorway or a window to discover. Indeed there are two squares, the Grand Sablon and the Petit Sablon, divided by the 15th century Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon. The Gothic church itself is definitely the most imposing monument on the square. The Sablon area, however, is not only worth visiting for its buildings.
The Grand Sablon is surrounded by some of the most famous chocolatiers and pastry-shops in Brussels, such as Pierre Marcolini and Wittamer, and is the heart of the antique-sellers area in the Belgian capital. On weekends, there is also an antiques flea market on the square.
The Petite Sablon, on the other hand, is a small, exquisite garden surrounded by a wrought-iron balustrade and decorated with 48 bronze statuettes, each representing ancient Belgian crafts. This manicured plot of ‘calm’ in the city centre is a welcome respite, especially for those visiting the nearby Magritte and Fine Arts museums.