You know it’s Christmas in Brussels when the stalls of the Christmas Market are erected. The Market begins at the end of November but really gets into full swing after the Feast of St Nicholas on the 6th December. Set in the lovely setting of Place Sainte Catherine the stalls sell handmade toys, cheeses and Christmas decorations in a route stretching for 2km ; and the spicy aroma of gluhwein fills the air.
The stalls huddle around the refurbished Bourse, which is suitably attired for the occasion.
Belgium is famous for chocolates, beer, lace and tapestry, amongst other things, and these shops put on a splendid show in the festive season.
Silver and white are popular colours this year …
… as well as the traditional red.
Further uphill is the Place du Grand Sablon, a favourite haunt, with its wonderful weekend antiques market, smart interior and chocolate shops and lots of pavement cafes to while away the time. Overlooking it all is the exquisite Notre Dame du Sablon.
As the light fades and lights begin to twinkle amidst the first snowflakes of the winter, all footsteps make for the Grand Place, the most beautiful of all the Belgian town squares.
The architecture at any time of year is lovely, the Town Hall and the Guildhalls date from the 15th century and make this a World Heritage Site. We are here for the Christmas light and sound show
Hundreds pack into the square, to be surrounded by multi-coloured lighting swirling on the buildings’ facades.
And at the heart of it all, lies the message of Christmas – the stable complete with real sheep, the lifesize statues looking quite real too.
Wherever you are this Christmas, and however you celebrate it, I hope it is a time of peace and joy for you and your families