Bruges' must-see attractions
Bruges is a charming medieval Belgian city and an essential stopover during a stay in the country. It is a city that has preserved its authenticity and in which it is pleasant to stroll, especially along the canals. It is on this subject that it is often called the Venice of the North. We stay here to admire the Flemish houses, walk through the alleys of the museums and stop to taste some very good chocolates over a good beer. With its rich architectural heritage and peaceful lifestyle, Bruges is one of the favourite destinations for travellers heading to Belgium
Admire the facade of the Town Hall
The Bruges City Hall is a jewel of Gothic architecture. Its construction was completed in the 15th century, making it one of the oldest monuments in the Netherlands at that time. First of all, you must take the time to admire its facade. It has a very rich decoration, with large windows and a multitude of niches that house the statues of the Counts and Counts of Flanders. Shaped by Van Eyck, they are now reproductions, the latter having been destroyed during the French Revolution. On the roof level, we can see the flight of three turrets. You should also pass through the reception hall and take a look before reaching the very beautiful Gothic room on the first floor to see its polychrome vault and 19th century wall paintings.
A step back in time to the Beguinage of Bruges
The beguinage of Bruges dates back to 1245 and was built by the Countess of Flanders Margaret of Constantinople. This monastic place allowed single women, widows or singles, to live there piously. In this enclosed area, there are about thirty charming white houses that take place in the middle of a wooded enclosure. It also houses the Gothic church of St. Elizabeth and one of the houses is converted into a museum, in order to discover how beguines lived and worked in the 17th century. The complex is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is interesting to stroll around peacefully, and simply enjoy the tranquility of the site.
Be surprised by the grandeur of Notre-Dame Church
It is a splendid Gothic church that dates back to the 13th century. It was restored in the 17th century and the interior, from the altars to the confessionals, bears witness to the presence of the Baroque style. What distinguishes it particularly from the outside is its 122-metre high brick tower. This makes it the highest brick construction in the world. During a visit, you must also contemplate the interior in the smallest details, go and see Michelangelo's work "La Vierge à l'Enfant" and pass in front of the choir that houses the tomb of Charles the Bold and his daughter, Marie de Bourgogne.
Enjoy the collections of the Groeninge Museum
This museum is one of the most important in the city of Bruges and includes works from the 15th century to the present day. Visitors have the opportunity to see about a hundred works, including paintings, drawings, sculptures and prints. It is in particular the flagship museum of the Flemish primitives and mannerists of the 16th century. But we can also see works related to other currents such as Belgian surrealism, Flemish expressionism and neoclassical style. Among the artists represented in this cultural centre: Jan van Eyck, Albert Grégorius, Magritte and Brusselmans. Exchanges with other major international museums also make it possible to attend very beautiful temporary exhibitions.
Climbing the steps of the belfry
The Bruges belfry overlooks the wool and sheet hall where craftsmen stored and sold their products. This monument, built between the 13th and 15th centuries, reaches a height of 83 metres and was an important symbol of power in medieval times. Its imposing neo-Gothic tower houses a carillon of 47 bells, one of the most famous in Europe. It is not always easy to see it, but it is important to know that the belfry of Bruges tilts 83 cm to the south-east, a little like the tower of Pisa. During a visit to this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you must climb the 366 steps of the tower which, once you reach the top, offer a breathtaking view of Bruges and its surroundings.
Visit the oldest church in Bruges, the Cathedral of St. Saviour
The construction of this exceptional monument began in the 10th century and was completed at the end of the 15th century. It is in Gothic style, was built in brick and culminates at a height of 99 meters. However, it should be noted that some elements come from the Flemish Renaissance period. Inside, we can see how rich the decoration is. Visitors have the opportunity to see Brussels tapestries, goblins, stalls, mausoleums and a large organ. Also, don't miss a visit to the cathedral's treasure trove, which houses superb paintings by Flemish primitives, including Hugo van der Goes and Dirk Bouts.
The Minnewaterpark, a romantic place
The MInnewater, often referred to in French as the Lake of Love, is a body of water located south of the historic district of Bruges. It is surrounded by a picturesque park, the Minnewaterpark, where it is pleasant to stroll. It is a place to relax and watch the swans on the lake, as well as the beauty of the traditional brick houses around. It is also a romantic place to come in love. Indeed, following a legend dating back to Roman times, it is said that all lovers who make a wish on the park bridge will experience eternal love for each other
To be interested in beer making at the Burgundy brewery in Flanders
During a getaway in the city of Bruges, it is difficult not to stop between two visits to a bar to enjoy a good beer. There is also a place where you can better understand the secrets of hops and the whole brewing process, the Bourgogne des Flandres brewery. During the visit, you will be surprised by the fresh smell of hops and malt, then you will see how the beer is brewed by the professionals. You also have the opportunity to learn how to draw a beer digitally and it is very pleasant to end the adventure with a tasting of a Burgundy of Flanders, with an exceptional view of the canals of Bruges.
Intimate atmosphere on the Place des Tanneurs
The small dimensions of this charming little paved square give it an intimate atmosphere. In its centre is a column that supports the emblem of the tanners' guild: two lions holding a shield. The many restaurants that have settled in the square and the good smells that emanate from it undoubtedly make you want to sit on a terrace and enjoy the cuisine. It is also a place where artists take their place to propose their paintings. We then take the opportunity to take a digestive walk along the nearby canal.
Join the Gruuthuse Museum, for the history of Flanders
This magnificent museum takes place in the former palace of Louis de Gruuthuse. This character was Lord of Bruges and knight of the Golden Fleece. He was part of a family that had made a fortune by selling the "gruut", a mixture of herbs used by the brewers. Today, this beautiful building, which has retained its medieval charm, is a museum that leads visitors through the history of Flanders. During the exhibition, many masterpieces such as antique jewellery, lace, weapons, furniture, pottery, musical instruments and everyday objects from past centuries are admired. Not to be missed during the visit, a tour of the oratory, a private chapel that connects the palace to the neighbouring Notre-Dame church.