I love the eclectic architecture in Brussels, the fact that each house on the street expresses the fantasy and whims of its original owner and the architect who designed it. This street is special, though, because on one side, the odd numbers, all the houses were built by the same architect, at the same time. This doesn’t mean, however, that they are uniform. Far from it. Because the architect’s style was Art Nouveau, each house is original and individual; unique, yet harmonious.
The architect’s name is Ernest Blérot and he was one of the most famous Art Nouveau architects in Brussels; a favorite of the moneymaking bourgeoisie at the turn of the 20th century, who filled Brussels with an incredible array of imaginative townhouses as their fortunes grew. You will find houses by Blérot dotted all over the city, but nowhere else will you see a whole street of them and so well preserved.
It’s a fantastic place to come and admire the delicacy and intricacy of Art Nouveau architecture, with its clever imitations of natural forms sculpted in cast iron and chiseled in stone. Brussels can boast more Art Nouveau structures than any other city in the world. At the end of the street, there’s a cafe still decorated in the original style. It’s not one of my favorites, but it’s nice if you want to experience a little of the fin de siècle atmosphere of St Gilles.