Brussels … Brussels’ architectural jewel is the Grand’Place with its lovely seventeenth-century buildings and the fifteenth-century Town Hall. Nearby is the well-known little statue of Manneken Pis, the most popular citizen of Brussels. The collegiate church of SS. Michel and Gudule (Gothic) with its sixteenth-century stained glass windows, the church of Our Lady of the Sablon (late Gothic) are magnificent monuments to be visited. Other points of interest are the House of Erasmus in Anderlecht, the seventeenth-century Cambre Abbey, the Royal Palace and Park, Parliament Buildings, the Archway of the Cinquantenaire and the nineteenth-century Palais de Justice (one of the largest buildings in the world). The battlefield of Waterloo, with its painted panorama of the famous battle and the Napoleonic relics, is a short distance from the capital, as is the Castle of Gasbeek, which belonged to Count d’Egmont.
Side Trips … Belgium is divided into two main sectors: Flanders, the Flemish-speaking flatland of the northwest, reaching to the coast, and Wallony, the French-speaking southeastern part.
Antwerp … a wealthy metropolis in the rich country of Flanders, is a cosmopolitan town and international business center, a wealthy artistic town and above all a port, the largest in Europe and third largest in the world. Here are some of the most famous Gothic and Renaissance buildings in all Europe. The Gothic Cathedral has an exceptional carillon and many magnificent masterpieces by Rubens, which are kept covered until noon every day. The Town Hall in Market Place has a fine Renaissance fagade. In one corner of the, square are several old guild houses. The Museum of Fine Arts contains sixteenth and seventeenth-century paintings by such great artists as Rubens, Memling, Breughel, Van Dyck and Jordaens. In the Museum Mayer-Van den Bergh, you’ll find other Flemish masters. Other places of interest are the Steen, tenth-century castle, Butcher’s Hall, and Folklore Museum. The best hotel is the Century. Excellent restaurants are the Criterium and La Rade.
Ardennes .. Wooded hills and valleys, steep rocks and winding streams abundant with fish, forests teeming with deer, ruins of ancient castles, watermills and hunting lodges – such is the scenery in Ardennes and Fagne. La Roche, Ciney, Bouillon, Arlon are worth a trip. The Grottos of Han on the Lesse river are worth seeing as is the Mardasson Memorial to American troops at Bastogne. There are many wonderful country inns in this area.
Beloeil Castle, residence of the Princes de Ligne. Rich museum, splendid French-style park with ornamental lakes.
Bruges … One of the most beautiful medieval towns of Europe. A one-time harbor, it is now visited for its picturesque old buildings and dreamy canals. The thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Halles (market), with 310-foot belfry; thirteenth-century St. Sauveur cathedral; Gothic Notre Dame church; the Holy Blood Basilica; the thirteenth-century Beguinage and poetic lac d’amour, St. John’s Hospital, where Memling lived and worked and where his paintings are shown; are all a delight. The Duc de Bourgogne and the new Portinari are good hotels with restaurants.
Ghent … Another place you won’t want to miss. There is a beautiful view from St. Michael’s Bridge. In one direction is the Enfilade des Monuments, consisting of St. Nicholas Church, Cloth Hall and adjoining Belfry, and the famous St. Bavon’s Cathedral. In the other direction are several Romanesque houses and the Castle of the Counts. Other places to see are the Hotel de Ville, the Abbey de la Byloke, the Chateau of Gerard the Devil, ruins of St. Bavon Abbey.
Liege … Wallony’s intellectual and industrial center. Its architectural pride is the sixteenth-century Palace of the Bishop Princes. Le Clou Dori offers magnificent food and accommodations.
Ostend .. the famed coast resort has long been popular with tourists. There is the Casino,- racing, tennis and golf and, of course, the Thermal baths. Knocke-le-Zoute farther up the coast is the newest and finest Belgian shore resort. Here they have the annual summer film festival. There is a casino, too, and a wonderful hotel, La Riserve.