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Whenever I get asked when is the best period to visit Brussels, I encourage people to plan their trip during spring or summer as the city is as beautiful as ever with its parks in full bloom, numerous terraces to enjoy drinks or dinner al fresco and various special events around town, including the opening to the public of the Royal Palace of Brussels.  

Located right across the Parc Royal, the Royal Palace of Brussels (Koninklijk Paleis van Brussel / Palais Royal de Bruxelles in Dutch and French, respectively) is the official venue for court ceremonies, royal audiences and State receptions but not the official residence of the Belgian Royal family who lives in the Royal Castle of Laeken. This is actually where the stunning fireworks show also takes place on Belgium’s National Day. The Palace, which was originally called Coudenberg, has been standing there since the 12th century and served as the home of the Dukes of Brabant and Emperor Charles V. The building got burnt and completely destroyed by fire in 1731. It took almost a century to get renovated to its current structure by King Leopold II, who commissioned Alphonse Balat, Victor Horta’s mentor, to extend and embellish the Palace. The exterior is imposing and actually, its facade is 50% longer than the Buckingham Palace in London – quite impressive, right?

My favourite part of the Palace is the Throne Room with its high ceilings, mosaic floor and opulent chandeliers. Other rooms in display include the Blue Room, the Louis XVI Music Salon, the Goya Room and the Mirror Room, which is decorated with the wing cases of 1.4 million Thai jewel beetles (not everyone’s cup of tea but impressive nevertheless!). Every year the Royal Palace of Brussels opens its door to curious visitors and locals alike for a couple of months until early September, ready to be discovered and admired. Entrance is free and if the weather is nice, you can combine your visit with a picnic at Parc Royal or a cup of coffee at the nearby Sablon.

Address: Place des Palais, 1000 Brussels, Belgium

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Sandy (@smarksthespots)