In the middle of this chic neighbourhood located at the fringes of Brussels’ historical centre, Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon Church is flanked by the Grand Sablon and the Petit Sablon. The latter is a 19th century park hosting 48 statues representing historical professions, while the former attracts locals and tourists alike every weekend, hunting treasures hidden in the alleys of the Sablon Antiques and Books Market.
Antique stores, restaurants, chocolatiers, trendy boutiques and hype bars encircle the Grand Sablon square, but the narrow streets surrounding the area also offer marvels to those who wander the mysterious – yet generous – paved alleys where shops seem like trophies to visitors, aware that the best things in life not always await in plain sight.
Due to its location and disposition, the Sablon area seduce many architecture enthusiasts who will stand in awe as they discover the Palais de Justice, the Place Royale and the Palais d’Egmont, among other landmarks. But chocolate and pastry lovers will not be disappointed either, as many chocolatiers and other deliciousness specialists ornate the floor level of beautiful façades giving the neighbourhood its marvellous aspect.
Faithful to this traditional facet of the quarter, two important events of Brussels’ calendar still start in the shadow of Our Blessed Lady of the Sablon Church: the Ommegang, a centuries-old re-enactment of Emperor Charles V’s entry in Brussels in 1549, and the Saint-Verhaeghen parade with students celebrating their hazing, an important part of the Université Libre de Bruxelles and Vrije Universiteit Brussel’s folklore.