We're halfway through December and it's 16 degrees Celcius outside! That's 60 degrees Fahrenheit for you Americans 😉 Not what you would call winter now is it?! I actually can't remember when was the last time we had an actual white Christmas in Belgium?!
While the weather isn't helping to get into the Christmas spirit, a visit to the Brussels Christmas market this weekend sure did!
Every year, Brussels organises one of the biggest Christmas markets in Europe. It’s probably the event that draws the most visitors to Brussels.
The market gains in size every year and this year it encompasses the Rue Henri Maus and the Bourse-De Brouckère axis, which has become pedestrian this year and is lit by a thousand lights!
Winter Wonders, that's how the Christmas Market is officially called ( or "Winterpret" in Dutch), provides the perfect opportunity to discover Brussels from the angle of conviviality and magic. Let me take you for a magical tour around Brussels' Christmas market!
The Grand Place
Starting point of my visit to the Brussels Christmas market was the Grand Place. Besides the impressive spruce tree in the middle of the market, the main attraction is the Seasons Sound & light show! The historical façades of the Grand-Place, which is included on the UNESCO heritage list, are lit up with LED spotlights, creating a magical light show triggered by a rhythmic soundtrack.
This definitely was one of the highlights of the Christmas Market which I tried to capture on video (I also streamed it live via Periscope) as best as I could and you can see the results in the video below.
The Bourse: Christmas Lights Video mapping Show
Most people visit the Brussels Christmas market for the great atmosphere, the lights, the chalets full of Christmas presents and, of course, the genever and gluhwein! Not a lot of people now there are also indoor shows, one of them located inside the Bourse Palace.
Positioned at the heart of the Winter Wonders, the Bourse is one of the main points of attraction. In collaboration with the Winter Wonders, the Tour des Site Organisation staged a magical video mapping in three languages (FR, NL, EN) evoking the history of the Bourse Palace at the heart of the
European capital. I included some fragments of the show in the video below!
While I enjoyed the 3D light show, the €10 price is perhaps a bit steep. I think a lot more people would enjoy this if they would make this part of the whole Winter Wonders experience and make it a free entrance.
The Magic Factory
Next in line was the light show on the renovated façade of the Sainte Catherine Church (the Periscope stream is included at the back of the video below). While I think this could have been a fantastic show with awesome graphics, I didn't enjoy it as mutch as the one at the Grand-Place, simply because the surrounding lights of the market square were too bright for the light show to really pop and the soundtrack was playing too soft and got overpowered by the belltower.
The Fish Market
Officially this market place is known as Place Sainte-Catherine, but most people refer to the area as it has always been used, simply as the fish market.
The Fish Market is the place to be to get an after work drink with the colleagues or shop around the hundreds of stalls for an original Christmas gift.
After some good food and and some drinks, it's time to go for a ride on the ferris wheel or if you have children they can take a ride on Andréa's merry-go-rounds, their famous hand-made characters will enchant children during a few magical moments in the atypical universe of Jules Verne.
The Christmas Parade
And on Saturday, there was the great Christmas Parade!
With this Christmas market, Brussels has put the recent Terror Threat on a back burner and brought back the real Christmas Spirit where people from around the world can enjoy each others company in a festive world of magic and tolerance.
Happy Christmas everyone!
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