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The area known as the Centre is where Brussels found its origins on the marshy land around the River Senne. The polluted river has been long buried beneath Boulevard Anspach which now serves as the main pedestrianised artery connecting to the big Brussels set pieces – the Bourse, Grand-Place, the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert, and Manneken Pis. The tangle of streets around the Grand-Place are full of shops, cafés, restaurants and bars. Yes, it can be touristy, but the centre is still a place where locals live, work, eat and drink. This is where you can find the true spirit of Brussels, a city that doesn’t set out to woo you but prefers you to be a part of its everyday life.
A friendly, funky American-style café that caters for everyone
Classic Belgian cooking in a Magritte-inspired town house
Art Deco jazz bar with plenty of swing
A grand old café for a grand old step back in time
The story of Belgian comic strip in a glorious building
A soaringly stylish 19th-century shopping mall
Buy a baker's dozen in this historic biscuit and cake shop
Other locations in Brussels