I'll be travelling to Brussels for a long weekend trip at the start of March with my girlfriend and am hoping for some suggestions on things to see and do. I'd like to get a good balance of history, architecture, culture and belgian beer and food while i'm there.
I plan to check out the market square, the grand palace, royal park, the manneken pis and the st hubert gallery. Are these all good places to see, and is there anything else i shouldn't miss?
For bars I've been told to check out the La Mort Subite and Le Cercueil, are these places any good, and are there any others i should visit? I've heard there's a place which stocks 100's (possibly 1000's) of beers, is that true and if so, what's it called? And what food must i try?
I'll have almost 3 days in Brussels, is it worth doing a day trip to Brugges, or will I need all the time for Brussels?
Also, are you able to get by on just speaking French, or are there parts of the city where only Flemmish is spoken?
For architecture, just wander round the lower town for a while - you'll see plenty of different sorts then!
I'm not surre what you mean by the market square - maybe the Grand Place, which you mentioned seperately. This is definitely worth a visit! The Manneken Pis is really close by, but vey easy to miss as it's so small. Look out for the manneken pis chocolaterie, and the crowds of tourists; it's easier to spot that way!
La Morte Subite is close to the grand place also, and it was also a favourred watering hole of Jaques Brel.
Just off the Grand Place there is a tintin shop - definitly a pat of Belgian culture! There was, when i was htere, an exposition near there called Made in Belgium, which is very good for culture, but it was temporary, and may not be there now.
For history, there is the Africa museum in Tervuren, about the Belgian Congo - get the métro to Montgomery (line 1B, direction Stockel / Stokkel), then tram #44 from there to Tervuren, then it's a short walk up Leuvensesteenweg. Allow about 30-45 mins travel from the centre of Brussels
As for language, Brussels is bilingual, and in all shops, cafes, museums etc in the centre, French will be spoken. 85-90% of the population of Brussels are French speakers. Once you leave the boundaries of Brussels, however, you are immediately in the Flemish speaking area. If you go to the museum in Tervuren, that is Flemish speaking, though everything in the museum is also in French, the staff speak French. Many British expats live in Tervuren, so most people will speak English.
I was in belgium a whole two days and still managed to see quite a bit, considering. By "Grand Palace" I assume you mean the Grand Place - it's a square, not a castle, although the architecture surrounding it is beautiful. There are a few expensive bars and a museums around the square, if I remember right. Every bar we went to had a huge beer menu, and there are a few beer stores that sell more types of beer than I've ever seen in my life.
In Brussels, you can see Mannekin Pis (a short walk from the Grand Place - and be sure to look up!), the Atomatron (sp?), the galleries, and just tons of beautiful architecture. There's a small street lines with restaurants that's a must for moules et frites.
And do go to Brugges - it's just an hour's trip and so worth it. Just walking around is amazing. I was there for just a few hours and it was the best part of the whole 2-week trip. We got by on French everywhere, so language shouldn't be a problem.
Sint Goriks is also a very nice and cosy area in Brussels!
If you want shops: "de nieuwstraat" (the new street) is the place to be!
All the stuff you said is interesting!
A nice place to eat tapas is Como Como close to "de beurs"
I would agree, with the advise, to get yourself to Brugge/Bruges. Maybe you would also consider an afternoon (or morning) in Leuven.
I would suggest taking a 45 min. train to Brugge in the morning, you can see most of the city in 4-5 hours, and how often do you get to see a medevil city. It is so beautiful and totally worth the time. Enjoy!!!!!!!
the best food in belguim you have to try are the fries (called in english french fries, name is not correct because it is really belguim food so better will be belguim fries)
try with this also the different meat snacks like curryworst also called in frikandel, boulet and you have choise from 25 different snacks.
places to go in brussel: cannot recomed anything because bruxelles has only the facades of the buildings that is real and behind the facade it are offices.
the best is to go away from bruxelles to see the rest of belguim, like brugge (romantice)or leuven (to party all night) they are more intresting.
ok the langues in bruxelles the most spoken langue is arabian, almost everyone can speak french, but they are still a lot of people who speak flemish because bruxelles is in the flemish part of belguim.
for the rest you have good idea's of places to visit really do them
for the time on one day you can see all that is worth to see in bruxelles, for sure if you take a guide, he can show you places you will never see by yourself.
the rest of your weekend you can visit other parts of belguim.
if you are under 25 you can get a gopass for the two of you, you have ten rides in total on them and you can travel in belguim everywhere with it as long as you take the train.
bus and metro are cheap also.
if you have more questions let me know
Sample the best beers in the world and eat muscles!
...and eat muscles!
Or, barring that, the crustacean kind.
Thanks All for your tips, i'm wishing i had more time to spend there now!