Well, seems like the autumn finally made it.
Strangely I am pretty happy about it… as sun-obsessed as I can be, I am completely under the charm of Brussels in autumn.
It is not completely contradictory, though, because if Belgium is famous for its rainy weather (how so, which rainy weather?), the autumn usually spoils us with some very sunny days.
And there are pleeeenty of things to do!
- First of all, as the leaves start falling, you have absolutely no choice but following the whole Brussels heading for the Sonian woods (Forêt de Soignes pour les intimes) or its urban extension the Bois de la Cambre (Ter Kamerenbos voor de Vlamingen).
The Sonian Forest is huge (4.400 hectares) and full of play areas which are mapped here. It contains so many (more or less hidden…) charming places that you ‘d better plan to discover it bite by bite.
The Bois de la Cambre is closed to traffic during WEs and holidays, which is a perfect opportunity to try out biking/skating with your child on the paved road. You can grab a bite at the snack bar of the play area in front of the select “Patinoire” (which I heard will soon become a brasserie-restaurant), or have lunch/a waffle/Vedett on the island of the Châlet Robinson.
- Eat a stoemp in a Brasserie. It has been a while since we went to the art deco Greenwich Tavern – the autumn just started – but the last time we went there with our dear Italian friends and their one year old boy, the service was impeccable and very child friendly. I read on their website that they organize afternoons for kids with pancakes and fruit juice the second and last Sundays of the month…
Another surprisingly well equipped Brasserie is the (still?) trendy Ultime Atome in Ixelles.
- Bargain hunt in the Marolles or, for a change, at the Brussels Vintage Market (every first Sunday of the month in the Halles Saint Géry) or in the new Puces d’Hiver in Tour & Taxis (every second Sunday of the month within the old harbour station, with animations for kids).
- Visit Brussels. (Re)discover Brussels’s famous spots and stroll its cobbled streets under October’s golden light… we just have to pick a theme walk and/or a guide.
Some may play it lazy on the kitschy Hop on Hop off bus (always wondered how we look like from up there), and I personally long to go on a boat trip.
If your children are old enough, the giant Cluedos that are now organized every Saturday afternoon seem a fantastic activity (reservation needed).
Finally, the website Brussels Life has made an interesting inventory of unconventional ways to discover the city.