The Town Hall, or Hotel de Ville, is on Brussels’ Grand Place, often called the most beautiful square in Europe, and is one of the Belgium’s most impressive civic buildings. Not only because of the numerous intricate sculptures on the exterior walls featuring saints, holy figures and historical luminaries, but also because of its symmetry and the magnificence of its tower – a spire topped by a golden statue of the archangel Saint Michael – that can be seen from just about any elevated position around central Brussels.
Construction began on this Gothic edifice in 1402. In 1695 the city was bombarded by the French army and was destroyed but quickly rebuilt.
The Hotel de Ville is the seat of civic government in Brussels. Take a 40-minute tour and visit the wedding room, still a popular place to get hitched, as well as a painting room lined with portraits of past foreign rulers of Brussels. There is also a beautiful collection of tapestries housed here.
Guided tours are available at extra cost but the cheapest and most flexible option is to do it yourself with the help of the free guide book they’ll give you. Visit it once by day and once by night, as it, like the whole Grand Place, takes on a new complexion after dark.
Metro Stop: Gare Centrale