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Best historic sites in Brussels

Best historic sites in Brussels:  Frommer's top picks for art, architecture and more.
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Hôtel de Ville (Town Hall; Brussels): Both the inside and the outside of this magnificent Gothic work repay careful study. The sculptors who created its intricate exterior decoration had a sense of humor -- or at any rate what passed for a sense of humor in the Middle Ages -- as well as skill. And the interior is lavish enough even for the extravagant tastes of the imperial aldermen who ruled over the city from here.

Galeries Royales St-Hubert (St. Hubert Royal Galleries; Brussels): One of Europe's oldest "shopping malls," the Italian neo-Renaissance style gallery with three connected wings opened in 1847, and is still a fine place to shop and to stroll through window-shopping.

Best Castles, Palaces and Historic Homes
Kasteel Beersel (Brussels): This 13th-century castle just 8km (5 miles) south of Brussels, looks to be the ideal place for pulling up the drawbridge and settling in for a siege -- and if the owners have had the foresight to amply stock the rustic Auberge Kasteel Beersel restaurant inside, the proceedings need not be too burdensome. This is a castle just like Disney makes them, with turrets, three towers, a drawbridge, a moat, and the spirits of all those who have, willingly or unwillingly, resided within its walls.

Best Museums
Musées Royaux des Beaux-Arts (Royal Museums of Fine Arts; Brussels): The city's premier historical art and modern art collections are together in a single institution, though not exactly under one roof -- you go underground to the modern section. These two museums contain a memorable panoply of art, from some of the finest works of Flemish old masters, such as Brueghel, Rubens, Van Dyck, and Frans Hals, to Magritte, Delvaux, and Permeke.

For a complete listing of what to see and do in Brussels, visit the online attractions index at

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