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by Editorial Staff in Travel and weekendtrips , 17 november 2007

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

The report from La Demence mentions the fact that the trip back especially can be quite a downer after a night of partying. But there are good solutions to that problem. Turn a night of dancing into a nice trip of two to three days. No rushing around but a laid back stroll through town and after the party within half an hour in a comfortable hotel room with or without a newfound lover. Parties ought to be relaxing, not hard work. So let’s look at the possibilities of Brussels. Brussels has about a million inhabitants so there ought to be quite a few gays, lesbians and bisexuals around.

As in many bigger cities they are mainly visible in the city centre, which is around the St. Jacobs quarter, the Dansaertstraat and the St. Gorik Square. Schaarbeek (around the Josaphat park and the Bertrandlaan), St. Gillis and Ukkel are popular. The political environment is pro-gay as is shown by the fact that the Belgian Gay and Lesbian Pride is held in the centre of Brussels every year with the full support of the local government. The city is also quite tolerant when it come s to cruising in parks, darkroom policies, saunas and such.

Still, it’s good to keep your wits about you, also in Brussels. Sometimes it’s enough to just cross the street to enter a completely different world. The central street right through the heart of Brussels for example (Max Adolflaan, Emile Jacqmainlaan, Lemmonierlaan). The trendy Dansaert quarter is a sharp contrast to the impoverished Anneesenswijk next to it, the same goes for the St. Jacobs quarter where many gays and lesbians live, and the Anneesens quarter next to it with many Muslims. Brussels will soon feel comfortable. You don’t feel excluded quickly when a city is entirely made up of minorities. Brussels’s citizens like to socialize and are not shy so it’s easy to meet people.

St. Jacobs quarter

Ten years ago St. Jacobs quarter - joining the large market - was a neighborhood with mainly artists looking for cheap accommodation. Now the area looks completely different. The Medieval streets around the Plattesteen and the Kolenmarkt are smaller but very diverse. It’s a very pleasant area with lots of nice shops, trendy cafes, and diverse restaurants. It’s the gay are of Brussels. Straights definitely feel outnumbered here.

The terrace of the Plattesteen, that also serves a day menu except on Sundays, is very popular. At the other end of the Kolenmarktstraat is Café Fontainas, also very popular. In between you’ll find Le Soleil with a mixed crowd. Chez Maman is the place to be if you like shows and drag queens. Across from Fontainas you find Brussels’ most popular sauna: the Macho. The Fuse, mainly known for La Demence is also nearby. The eves of national holidays are the obvious dates for legendary parties there. They last until you drop, literally.
Bordering the St. Jacobs quarter is the Steenstraat, also called the ‘Vaseline alley’ of Brussels. You’ll find the Homo Erectus there, very popular with tourists. At the other end of the Steenstraat, between the Zuidstraat and the Anspachlaan, is where commercial sex landed. All the contacts you collect there expect to be paid and should be treated with caution.

Near the statue of Manneken Pis, close to the Kunstberg, lies the Oud Korenhuis square. This is a popular destination for its gay bars and gay restaurants. On the first floor of the Duplex for example you can have complete dinners. Nocturnal appetites can be tended to also at Cap de Nuit. The Koninginnegalerij is very popular for window-shopping and coffee, especially on Sundays.

This covered side street of the Grote Markt, right in the touristy “Ilôt Sacré’ has lots terraces on offer inviting to see and be seen. The famous bookstore Les Tropismes is also around here and open on Sundays.
Characteristic for Brussels is the flea market in one of the most typical quarters of the city centre: The Marollen. Every day you can rummage around from 7am till 1pm. Many holebis come hunt for exclusive items for their interiors. On Sundays the stuff on offer is the best, but prices are much higher then. On weekdays is friendlier and more low-key.


Like in any big town Brussels has ample choice of hotels. There is something for everybody, plenty of options. Taste vary as people are all different so maybe it’s a good idea to refer to a good and reliable booking system that has been of service to tourists all over the world to great satisfaction.



In the New Issue of Gay News, 323, July 2018

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