The Sablon Sights Walking Tour (Self Guided), Brussels

The Sablon is a hill and neighborhood in the historic upper town of Brussels. At the top of the hill we find the twin squares of Grand Sablon and Petit Sablon, divided by the Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon. The area is especially known for a great variety of antique dealers, chocolate shops and art galleries.
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The Sablon Sights Walking Tour Map

Guide Name: The Sablon Sights Walking Tour
Guide Location: Belgium » Brussels (See other walking tours in Brussels)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.6 km
Author: alexei
1
Egmont Palace

1) Egmont Palace

The Egmont Palace is home to the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The building is primarily used for Ministry meetings and receptions. The large mansion was built in the mid 1500s by Lamoral, Count of Egmont and his mother, Francoise of Luxembourg. It was originally constructed in a Flemish-Gothic style and then in a Renaissance style. In the 18th century the building was renovated to a Classical style by the Arenbergs, a prominent Belgian aristocratic family. Following World War I, the German owners sold the building to the city of Brussels. During the 1920 Summer Olympics, fencing events were hosted in the garden. In 1964, the building was transferred from the Brussels government to the Belgian government. In 1977, the Egmont Pact was signed at the palace. The pact focused on the reform of Belgium and the relations between the various linguistic communities in the country. Due to subsequent resignation of the government, the pact was not carried out; however, key elements of the pact were later used in a state reform. Visitors are not able to access the interior of the palace; only the garden area and adjacent secluded Egmont Park. The latter features a Gothic well which was historically used to supply water and extinguish fires. It also includes several statues, including one of childhood favorite Peter Pan.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Jardin du Petit Sablon

2) Jardin du Petit Sablon (must see)

The Petit Sablon is a delightful little resting spot where you can enjoy a serene setting in an otherwise bustling city. This small park is in the exclusive Sablon area of Brussels, which boasts numerous art galleries, boutiques and antique shops. The name “sablon” comes from a yellow sandy earth layer that is seen in the area. The Petit Sablon was established in 1890 through the planning of architect Beyaert. Prior to that, this location served as a horse market. Visitors enjoy the gardens, fountains and the decorative wrought iron fencing adorned with small bronze statuettes. The 48 statues, designed by Paul Hankar, represent different trade and craft guilds. A special emphasis is given to the builder, sculptor, stone cutter and slate quarry worker, which are crowned. One end of the garden features a raised monument with ten large statues representing the celebrated Belgian scholars and humanists, including Mercator, Van Bodeghem, and Ortelius. In the center of the park stands an elevated monument to the Counts of Egmont and Hoorn. Their coats of arms decorate the base of the statute. These Counts are commemorated because they stood up against the tyranny of the Spanish invasion. Unfortunately, they met their death through decapitation for their position.

Why You Should Visit:
To be entranced by its quietness in the middle of the city.
The fountain is soothing, the landscaping is well done and the ring of statues is interesting.

Tip:
Go around the park and try to figure out which guild each of the 48 bronze statues represents (it's sometimes hard to tell because they describe lost professions, but worth a try nonetheless!).
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Église Notre Dame du Sablon

3) Église Notre Dame du Sablon (must see)

The Église Notre Dame du Sablon (Church of Our Lady of the Sablon) is a late-Gothic style church in the upscale Sablon area. The original chapel on the site dates back to 1304 and was funded by the Guild of Crossbowmen. Upon completion of the chapel, the guilds-men used it as their place of worship. Later, the church was used by the monarchs; including Emperor Charles V. Up until the late 1700s the church was a burial ground for the rich community members, who would construct their own funeral chapels. The church was expanded through the years and was renovated in a neo-Gothic style between 1864 and 1934. The real beauty of the church is in the interior, with impressive and colorful stained-glass windows. These windows provide a contrast to the churches generally gray and white features. They are lit from behind and visible from the exterior of the church at night. The statue of St. Hubert is notable due to its interesting history. It was stolen from Brussels and spirited away to Antwerp where it stayed for a year. Eventually, it was returned to the church and in 1348, and it has remained ever since. The church is open daily.

Why You Should Visit:
To be struck by the sense of how grand the structure is, yet at the same time by its intimacy as compared to a more typical cathedral.
Well lighted by MANY beautiful stained glass windows – amongst the most memorable you will see!

Tip:
Make sure to go early on a Sunday so you can also go to the antique market outside the church!

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 9am-6:30pm; Sat-Sun: 9am-7pm; Free entry
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Place du Grand Sablon

4) Place du Grand Sablon (must see)

The Sablon (French) or Zavel (Dutch) is a neighborhood and hill in the historic upper town of Brussels. At its heart are the twin squares of the larger Grand Sablon (French for Large Sablon) or Grote Zavel square in the northwest and the smaller Petit Sablon (French for Small Sablon) or Kleine Zavel square and garden in the southeast, divided by the Church of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon. The Grand Sablon square lies to the northwest of the church. It is in the shape of a long triangle, around 50m wide in the southeast, terminating in a point around 130m to the northwest. When Brussels residents refer to the 'Sablon' without qualification, they are usually referring to the Grand Sablon.

The Grand Sablon is nowadays a genuine neighborhood with residents and small businesses, while at the same time being a popular place to stroll and a tourist attraction. Surrounding the square are numerous antique stores, fashionable boutiques, hotels, restaurants, an auction house, and numerous pastry shops and well-known Belgian chocolatiers, including Neuhaus, Pierre Marcolini and Godiva. The Grand Sablon Place has the most famous antique markets in Brussels situated on it. On Saturdays and Sundays, the Grand Sablon hosts the Sablon Antiques and Books Market. As is the case with many other public squares in Brussels, the Grand Sablon has been partially transformed into a parking lot.

Why You Should Visit:
Between antique fairs (every Sunday), art galleries, small cafés and fabulous chocolatiers, this place has a charm!

Tip:
Don't miss the very nice Petit Sablon garden just south of the church.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Marché des Antiquaires et du Livre du Sablon

5) Marché des Antiquaires et du Livre du Sablon

Marché des Antiquaires et du Livre du Sablon is an antique market in Brussels which is open each weekend. It was founded in October 1959, at the initiative of Georges Van de Weghe. The market is located at Place du Grand Sablon, right beside the Notre-Dame du Sablon, and provides lovers of antiques, art and vintage an excellent opportunity for a bargain hunt. With a vast array of old books and maps on offer, supplemented by plethora of antiques and vintage merchandise, the Marché has it all - from jewellery to prints to clothing to hats to clocks to dolls to oil paintings to sculptures and much much more, - dating back as far as the 18th century.

Operation Hours Saturday: 9 am - 5 pm; Sunday: 9 am - 1 pm
6
Cento Anni

6) Cento Anni

Established in 1982 by Maria Isabel Romero and Rodrigo Diaz, Cento Anni is a tiny shop located in the neighbourhood of Place du Grand Sablon, Brussels. The place carries a large inventory of antiques, including French-made glasswork with floral decorations, ornamented vases, silver cutlery, bronze sculptures, vintage furniture, lightings, lamps and other items from Art Nouveau and Art Deco periods.
7
Sablon Antiques Center

7) Sablon Antiques Center

Sablon Antiques Center, established in 1984, is located at 39 Place du Grand Sablon, in the neighbourhood of Grand Place. The 600m2 space is jam packed with a multitude of vintage goods: oil paintings, drawings, ceramic and bronze sculptures, porcelain sets, fine furniture (wooden chests, classic chairs, elegant dining tables) and various home accessories (clocks, silver works, chandeliers, lamps and candelabras). The collection spans the 15th century through the 20th. Owner of Sablon, Mr. Patrick Van der Stichelen, maintains contacts with more than 200 international antique dealers, and accommodates over 180 vendors within the centre.

Operation Hours Monday - Sunday: 10 am - 6 pm
8
Pierre Marcolini

8) Pierre Marcolini

What to buy here: Belgian chocolate. Bringing back chocolate from Belgium is a bit of an obvious choice, so if you’re going to pick up a box, you’ll want something they’re not at all expecting. Chocolatier Pierre Marcolini treats his sweets as modern design, and doesn’t stop at the chocolate itself. His store in the heart of the artsy Sablon-district looks a bit like a decadent ice cream parlor where the chocolates are displayed as if they were luxury cars in a show room.

His top-of-the line product is the macaron, two brightly colored biscuits separated from each other by a cream paste. If you’re looking for the royal treatment, pick up The Complete Collection (30 euros), a red luxury box with 25 macarons in every imaginable bright color. Of course, it is always possible to assemble a handpicked selection, or buy one of the less expensive gift packages .Other than macarons, you’ll find plenty of pralines, truffles and chocolates that have all been treated to the Marcolini touch.

Open : Mon - Thu, Sun (10:00-19:00), Fri-Sat (10:00-20:00)

Walking Tours in Brussels, Belgium

Create Your Own Walk in Brussels

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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.
Cinquantenaire Walking Tour

Cinquantenaire Walking Tour

Cinquantenaire is a famous public park in Brussels. Planned by King Leopold in the late 19th century, Cinquantenaire hosts some of the most significant museums in Brussels, such as the Museum of Art and History, the Museum of the Army and Military History, and the Autoworld museum. There are also a number of monuments located in the park. Check out this guide to fully explore this wonderful park.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 km
City Center Churches

City Center Churches

Brussels is the cultural capital of Belgium, it is also the spiritual home of Belgium's most significant churches. The city has a number of unique religious sites such as the Saint Nicholas Church, the Church of Notre-Dame de la Chapelle and the Sablon Church. Take this tour to visit some of the most impressive churches and cathedrals in Brussels' city center.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
The European Quarter Walking Tour

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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
Central Nightlife Tour Part 1

Central Nightlife Tour Part 1

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 as well. Brussels has some of the most fashionable night clubs in Belgium. Take this walking tour to visit the most famous venues located in Central Brussels, all within a pleasant walking distance.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.2 km
Manneken Pis Surroundings Walking Tour

Manneken Pis Surroundings Walking Tour

Seen as the emblem of Brussels, Manneken Pis is a statue in the center of the city. The famous statue is surrounded by the city's fanciest points of interest, such as the Brussels Regional Parliament building, the Church of Our Lady and the Stock Exchange building. Take this three hour tour to visit the popular Manneken Pis and its wonderful surroundings in the center of Brussels.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.3 km
City Center Gift Shops

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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

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