Artists' Studios and Museums Tour, Brussels (Self Guided)

Brussels is the cultural capital of Belgium and also the former home of such well-known artists as Victor Horta, Camille Lemonnier and Paul Cauchie. There are a number of famous artists' houses and museums in Brussels, which exhibit numerous Belgian masterpieces. Don't miss the chance to visit some of the most famous artists' studios and house museums in Brussels.
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Artists' Studios and Museums Tour Map

Guide Name: Artists' Studios and Museums Tour
Guide Location: Belgium » Brussels (See other walking tours in Brussels)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.3 km
Author: audrey
Constantin Meunier Museum

1) Constantin Meunier Museum

This museum is dedicated to the life and works of Constantin Meunier, a Belgian painter and sculptor who worked and lived in Brussels. In addition to producing art, he was also taught at the Louvian Academy of Fine Arts. He was also a co-founder of the Société Libre des Beaux-Arts (Free Society of Fine Arts) of Brussels. This organization was formed to promote artistic freedom and to advance Realist paintings. The museum, the site of his home and studio, was acquired by government is 1936 and was opened to the public shortly after that. The museum features over 150 works and documents pertaining to Meunier, with a specific focus on the last 30 years of his life. This portion of his life is often described as the second phase of his artistic career, where he focused on the social and industrial situation in Belgium. He desired to bring attention to the growing social problems in Belgium in the early 1900s, including the plight of the common worker. The museum is part of the Belgian Royal Museum of Fine Arts.

Operation hours: Tuesday - Friday 10:00-12:00; 13:00-17:00, excluding holidays. Weekend appointments may be arranged for groups.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Horta Museum

2) Horta Museum (must see)

The Horta Museum focuses on the works and life of the Belgian architect Victor Horta, who is often described as the father of Art Nouveau architecture and design. This style originated in the early 1900s and remained popular in the 1950s. Horta mentored several designer and architects who also went on to produce fine work in the Art Nouveau style. The building which houses the museum, the former Horta house and atelier, is on the UNESCO World Heritage List. This list recognizes places that are of special physical or cultural significance. The museum is made up of two buildings: the home and the studio. The interior of the museum boasts Art Nouveau finishes and there is a permanent display of art objects, utensils and furniture designed by Horta and his colleagues. The museum also includes documents and ephemera associated with Horta’s life. The basement displays miniature models of numerous buildings that Horta designed during his career. These provide an opportunity for the visitor to compare and contrast different buildings under his design. In addition to the permanent collection, the museum hosts temporary exhibits related to Horta and his art. There is also a gift shop on site.

Why You Should Visit:
The house is just a stunning display of Art Nouveau and pretty much every little crevice is a work of art.
A decadent confection of artwork, beautifully restored and a premium example of this style carried through all the details.

Photography is not allowed, so be prepared to stash your camera & phone in the lobby lockers.
Take a stroll through the whole of Saint-Gilles – it's an Art Nouveau gold mine!

Opening Hours:
Tue-Sun: 2-5:30pm, except public holidays
Sight description based on wikipedia
Camille Lemonnier Museum

3) Camille Lemonnier Museum

The Camille Lemonnier Museum is dedicated to the Brussels-born naturalist, poet, art critic, and journalist. He was a leading figure of the Belgian artistic and literary world during his time. Often referred to as the “Marshall of Letters” and “the Belgian Zola”, he produced extensive amounts of work during his lifetime and his best known novel is Un Mâle. He was also an avid art collector. Lemonnier led a colorful life and that energy was infused in his works, sometimes resulting in controversy. He was prosecuted in Paris in 1888 for his story Gil Blas, which was found to offend against public morals. The museum, which was a product of friends of the artist, displays a number of written and painted works. Visitors can see paintings by Claus, Heymans, Baron and Wystman, as well as sculptures by Rodin, Vanderstappen and Lambeaux. The library portion of the museums contains bound works of Boisdenghein and La Buyere. Visitors also get a glimpse into Lemonnier’s private world via a recreation of the interior of his former workshop. The museum is open Monday and Thursdays and admission is free. It typically closes during the summer months of July and August.

Editor's note: The museum is temporarily closed.
Antoine Wiertz Museum

4) Antoine Wiertz Museum

The Antoine Wierzt Museum, part of the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, is dedicated to the works of the Belgium sculptor and painter, Antoine Joseph Wiertz. The artist studied in Antwerp and then in Italy after he won the Prix de Rome in 1832. That award allowed him to spend three years in residence in Rome. Wierzt is credited with developing a new style in oil painting. He did not like the shiny effect that oil painting left, so he developed a style called mat painting, which uses mixed colors, turpentine and other additives. His 1853 piece, “The Homeric Struggle” was the first large-scale piece to use this technique. Unfortunately, this technique resulted in a slow decay of his work, due to the additives to the paint. He moved to Brussels in the later years of his life, partially motivated by the death of his mother. When he came to Brussels, the local government gave him a workshop and studio space, which is the museum that you see today. Since Wiertz often created large-scale pieces of art, the workshop was also large in size. Wiertz’s artistic works actually garner mixed reviews and the museum typically has low attendance.

Operation hours: Tuesday – Friday: 10 am - 12 pm and 1 pm - 5 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia
Cauchie House

5) Cauchie House

The Cauchie house dates back to 1905 and provides another fine example of Art Nouveau architecture in Brussels. The house is names after its builder, Paul Cauchie, a Belgian artist, painter and decorative artist. It is widely known for its unique allegorical sgraffiti on the building facade. Sgraffito, which is a derivative of the Italian word sgraffiare (to scratch), is a wall decor technique that is produced by layering tinted plaster in contrasting colors and then removing portions of the top layer to review the layer below. The design on the main facade of the building was actually designed by the artist to promote his own work in sgraffiti and his wife’s work as an art teacher. The inscription on the building “Par Nous – Pour Nous” (By Us – For Us), further shows the role of the house as a promotional piece. The house appears narrow compared to those next to it and is only 6 meters (20 feet) wide. In 1979, there was interest in using the house as a museum dedicated to Tintin, a popular comic book character created by Belgian artist Georges Rémi. Unfortunately, this idea did not get enough traction. Today the house has been divided into different uses. The upper two floors have been converted to apartments. The basement and cellars, which once contained Caucherie’s workshop, have been converted into a gallery and exhibits space. The first floor, which had been subject to renovations, has been restored back to the original appearance from Caucherie’s time.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Walking Tours in Brussels, Belgium

Create Your Own Walk in Brussels

Create Your Own Walk in Brussels

Creating your own self-guided walk in Brussels is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Marolles and Matonge Nightlife

Marolles and Matonge Nightlife

Brussels' nightlife is represented by the variety of its clubs, among which are not only out and out discotheques, but also clubs that host world-famous DJs and live music. Brussels is home to some of the most fashionable night clubs in Belgium. Take this walking tour to visit the most famous venues located in the Marolles and Matonge districts of Brussels.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.3 km
The European Quarter Walking Tour

The European Quarter Walking Tour

Along with Luxembourg and Strasbourg, Brussels is one of the de facto capitals of the European Union. The city's European Quarter hosts some of the most important buildings of the European Union, such as the Berlaymont building, the Justus Lipsius building and the Paul-Henri Spaak Building. Take this two-hour tour and discover the European Quarter of Brussels.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.4 km
City Center Orientation Walk

City Center Orientation Walk

Brussels is a major European capital with a remarkable history and cultural heritage. It features a large number of architectural sites, museums and world -famous specialty shops. Take a walk and discover the main landmarks of Brussels such as the world-renowned Grand Place and the Royal Palace.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 km
Chocolate Shops Tour

Chocolate Shops Tour

Belgium is considered one of the best producers of chocolate. Its capital, Brussels, offers you the opportunity to taste more than 2000 different types of chocolate. There is a plethora of chocolate shops in Brussels which offer chocolates of all shapes, sizes and colors imaginable. Go ahead and take a look at Brussels most visited chocolate shops in this tour.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.6 km
Mont Des Arts Walk

Mont Des Arts Walk

Mont des Arts, meaning "hill/mount of the arts", is a historic site in the center of Brussels. The Mont des Arts offers one of Brussels' finest views, the famous tower of the Brussels Town Hall in the Grand Place is clearly visible. On a sunny day, the Koekelberg Basilica and even the Atomium can be seen.
Major tourist attractions are located within walking distance of the...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 km
City Center Gift Shops

City Center Gift Shops

It would be a pity to leave Brussels without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Brussels, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit. All shops are located within a pleasant walking distance, in Central Brussels.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip

What to Buy in Brussels: 15 Ideas for Travelers

What to Buy in Brussels: 15 Ideas for Travelers

It's no secret that Brussels is not all about JCVD muscles and EU headquarters. Small country as such, Belgium abounds in signature items, such as beer, chocolates and... the peeing boy. All of these have made prime Belgian souvenirs for years. Now you can explore the Brussels gift scene in...
Belgian Beer Tour of Brussels

Belgian Beer Tour of Brussels

Belgium is world-renowned for its beers and Brussels is the best city to sample the huge variety of flavors. We'll show you the best places to buy them and to drink them. We'll even show you a family brewery where the liquid gold is produced right in front of your eyes! This tour is meant...

Tips for Exploring City on Foot at Your Own Pace

Whether you are in Brussels for a quick stopover or have a few days to see the city in more detail, exploring it on foot, at your own pace, is definitely the way to go. Here are some tips for you to save money, see the best Brussels has to offer, take good care of your feet while walking, and keep your mobile device – your ultimate "work horse" on this trip - well fed and safe.

Saving Money with City Passes

To save yourself time and money getting around Brussels and visiting the city's multiple highlights, you may want to resort to the Brussels City Card.

Among other conveniences, this card allows its bearer to explore Brussels's top attractions, tours, restaurants, bars and clubs, and selected shops either completely free of charge (41 museums) or with great (up to 50%) discounts. The card provides 24-, 48-, or 72-hour passes to these locations, plus free ride on the hop-on hop-off bus and public transportation (optional) thus putting Brussels at your fingertips! Reduced rates for children and students also apply at participating venues.

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Staying at Walk-Friendly Hotels

Since you're keen on exploring cities on foot (we assume that you are, and this is why you're here), it is important that you stay at a hotel close to the city's major attractions. It saves you time and energy. Here are a few of Brussels hotels that are conveniently located, but at the same time, also not so ridiculously expensive: NH Brussels Carrefour de L’Europe, Rocco Forte Hotel Amigo, Hotel Novotel Brussels Off Grand Place.

Taking Care of Your Feet

To ensure ultimate satisfaction from a day of walking around the city as big as Brussels, it is imperative to take good care of your feet so as to avoid unpleasant things like blisters, cold or overheated soles, itchy, irritated or otherwise damaged (cracked) skin, etc. Luckily, these days there is no shortage of remedies to address (and, ideally, to prevent) these and other potential problems with feet. Among them: Compression Socks, Rechargeable Battery-Powered Thermo Socks for Cold Weather, Foot Repair Cream, Deodorant Powder, Shoes UV Sterilizer, and many more that you may wish to find a place in your travel kit for.

Travel Gadgets for Your Mobile Device

Your mobile phone or tablet will be your work horse on a self-guided walk. They offer tour map, guide you from one attraction to another, and provide informative background for the sights you wish to visit. Therefore it is absolutely essential to plan against unexpected power outages in the wrong place at the wrong time, much as to ensure the safety of your device.

For these and other contingencies, here's the list of useful appliances: Portable Charger/External Battery Pack, Worldwide Travel Charger Adapter, Power Converter for International Travel Adapter, and Mobile Device Leash.

Exploring City on Guided Tours

We have a strong bias towards exploring a city on foot, at your own pace, because this is how you get to see things up close, with a maximum freedom. You decide how much time you wish to spend at each attraction and don't have to worry about following a crowd. That said, however, we also understand that some of you may want to go with a guided tour. If that is your case, here are some guided tours to consider. Be ready to fork out a bit of money, as a guided tour of Brussels typically costs from around US$20 up to US$50+ per person:

- Take a 3-hour guided walk around central Brussels to discover the city's historic locations, learn about its legendary men and women who made history, delve into the origins of Brussels, and acquaint yourself with the Belgian capital's contemporary culture and gastronomy;

- Embark on a must-see tour of real Brussels exploring the city's top attractions through the eyes of a local guide revealing a flip side of the well-known locations, plus discovering a few secret spots only the locals know about, away from the trodden tourist paths. En route, you may give yourself a treat to the authentic Belgian cuisine at a local eatery, not forgetting the world-famous Belgian chocolate, plus indulge yourself in some other local delights along the way.

- Appreciate Belgian gastronomy in its diversity – chocolate, waffles, beers, fries, and more – on the Food and Beer walking tour of Brussels offering a unique chance to savor a variety of local foods, drink local beers and unleash your sweet tooth onto the delicious local chocolate, whilst listening to a great deal of fun stories associated with each of these delights!

- Come and see what's made Belgium an international beer superpower on a 2.5-hour beer tasting tour of Brussels led by a local expert. Here, you will learn to tell a difference between the Belgian and foreign-made brews plus acquaint yourself with some of the 1,000+ craft beers made in this country.

- Pedal your way across Brussels on a 3.5-hour guided biking tour to discover the city's beauty manifested in its top landmarks, breath in the local atmosphere, plus enjoy along the way some of the best fries and beer (optional) the city has to offer.

- Explore the artistic side of Brussels on the tour following in the footsteps of renowned Belgian artists who left their mark in the field of Surrealist painting and Art Nouveau architecture. On this tour you will see some of the city's hidden gems, visit independent galleries and more, led step by step by a knowledgeable local guide.

Day Trips

If you have a half or full day to spare whilst in Brussels, why not use it to explore some of the out-of-town destinations, like Ghent and Bruges, Antwerp, Maasmechelen, or Waterloo. For as little as US$10+ to US$100+ you will get a chance to acquaint yourself with the UNESCO World Heritage city of Ghent's medieval architecture, learn about Bruges's Viking and Middle Age history, get to see Antwerp - the hometown of Peter Paul Rubens and one of the largest harbors in the world, shop till you drop at Maasmechelen Village with over 100 international boutiques offering big-name brand clothing at reduced (down to 40%) prices, plus visit the site of one of the most significant battles in the history of Europe that saw the ultimate defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte. All these trips start and end at your hotel and you'll be carried by a comfortable air-conditioned coach or minivan, accompanied by an English-speaking tour guide.