A weekend in…

The au­then­tic Sainte-Catherine and Saint-Géry

Sep­a­rated from the his­toric cen­tre by Boule­vard Anspach, the dis­tricts of Sainte-Catherine and Saint-Géry are hot­beds of in­no­va­tion and cosi­ness. Un­like its his­toric coun­ter­part, it isn’t packed with spec­tac­u­lar sights and leg­endary hotspots, but it’s a g

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THE SEC­OND CEN­TRE

If the Brux­el­lois say they’re about to stroll through the city, there’s a big chance that they are re­fer­ring to Sainte-Catherine rather than the ac­tual cen­tre. At and around the Place Sainte-Catherine, there are shops, ter­races and pic­ture-per­fect al­ley­ways aplenty. On the square it­self, the Église Sainte-Catherine will grab your at­ten­tion. In the weeks be­fore Christ­mas, its façade makes the can­vas for a spec­tac­u­lar light show. If you walk to the back of the church, you’ll find the an­cient Tour Noire (Black Tower). As it dates back to the 13th cen­tury, this old city gate could not be torn down when Novo­tel wanted to build a ho­tel on that same spot, which is why the chain built its ho­tel around it with this odd view as a re­sult. In fact, play­ing fast and loose with the pro­tec­tion of his­tor­i­cal mon­u­ments is re­ferred to as ‘brus­sel­si­fi­ca­tion’, as ab­surd in­stal­la­tions like these are all but rare in the city.

Place Sainte-Catherine (Sainte-Catherine, metro 1 and 5).

WALK­ING ON WA­TER

It’s hard to imag­ine to­day, but the Sainte-Catherine dis­trict was once a fish­er­man’s neigh­bour­hood. Lit­tle canals of the Senne river ran up to the church and at­tracted fish­ing and sail­ing afi­ciona­dos alike. In the early 20th cen­tury, the docks were filled in and be­came stretched-out city squares, which is what you’ll still find here to­day. Start your walk at the Quai aux Briques (the big­gest of the docks) and con­tinue through the rest. Some are parks, oth­ers more like beau­ti­ful walk­ing boule­vards. The Quai aux Briques even has some wa­ter fea­tures. If you feel like head­ing for the wa­ter af­ter­wards, fol­low the Quai du Com­merce un­til the end. From here, you are mere me­tres away from to­day’s canal.

Quai aux Briques, Quai aux Bar­ques, Quai au Foin, Quai du Com­merce (Sainte-Catherine, metro 1 and 5).

 ??  ?? Marché au Pois­son.
Marché au Pois­son.
 ??  ?? Tour Noire.
Tour Noire.
 ??  ?? The Old Docks.
The Old Docks.
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Sainte-Catherine.
Sainte-Catherine.

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