One of my favourite places in the world, and probably the most magical little corner of Europe, is the Grand Place of Brussels. The central square of downtown Brussels is a hub for international tourists, storybook cafés, luxurious chocolate boutiques and is a downright dazzling must-see location by day. However, when you have the privilege of living here, or indulge in an extended stay, you quickly become acquainted with the opulent Town Hall and Maison du Roi at a more quiet time of night…or the early hours of the AM.
During high school summers it was a sort of unofficial tradition for students to head to the White Night convenient store tucked around the corner of the Plaza, pick up cheap wine, plastic glasses and sprawl out along the sun-warmed cobblestone centre with your friends, either pre or post clubbing. The nights were thick with heat that you drained your chilled wine a little faster than you should, making the gold lights of the buildings lining the square look all the more brilliant in your widening pupils. The puzzle-piece stone ground was softened by the thousands of curious tourist feet that had stomped across it over the years and you lay down against its smooth surface, the chatter of your friends coming from somewhere above your head the only sound situating you in the darkness. The buildings glowed in the dark, highlighting the gold embellishments all along the rustic stone monuments and shedding just enough light so you could make out the pockets of friends spread out in different corners of the place when you finally looked around.
Some people have strips of clubs, bars and restaurants, whereas the backdrop to our nightlife scene was embellished with years of culture and beautifully crafted monuments. It’s one of my favourite places to be, whether in the early mornings, just as night is falling or long after most have gone to sleep.
The Grand Place is arguably just as stunning at sunset as the last little bits of light bounce off the golden artifices and create a yellow glow across the centre square, as if the whole place had been doused in liquid amber. If there is anything you must see in Brussels, it is definitely the breathtaking beauty of our Grand Place, I guarantee one of the most memorable, all-encompassing sights you will ever experience.