What: A weekend in French Castles Where: Loire Valley, France…
What: Insidertips for sightseeing, restaurants,
things to do
Where: Bruges, Belgium
For me as a Lübeck-native, a visit to the Belgian city of Bruges is like a déjà vu. Only that my hometown can not keep up with this collection of picturesque patrician houses, baroque city palaces and classical façades. Walking through Bruges’ old town, the many canals and bridges are reminiscent of Amsterdam. You can feel it in every corner of Bruges, that this architectural jewel was one of the most successful commercial cities from the 13th to the 15th century and it impresses me in which historical homogeneity the city still presents itself seven centuries later.
To get in the mood for my visit to Bruges, I watched the US film “In Bruges” with Colin Farrell and asked myself how they kept away the tourist crowds during filming. I was warned by my Belgian friend Winny: “Yes, it is always crowded in Bruges. Nevertheless, you should have been there once.” Maybe not on a weekend and certainly not when 20,000 football fans storm the city and celebrate the championship title of their club FC Bruges at the market in the old town. Day tourists flood the historic walls in every season from no later than 11 am and roll through the narrow streets of this picturesque village in West Flanders. Those who want to escape the crowds during the day simply walk beyond the respective squares such as “Markt” and “Burg” and suddenly find themselves in quiet residential areas or in greened patios. A break is also offered by the Beguinage, which is indeed a sightseeing highlight, however in which groups have no access.
Culinary, Bruges has adjusted to the tourists: around the market, castle and other “places to see” there are many restaurants, unfortunately not always good, and often with overpriced food. And although I know, you should spare mussels in months without the letter “r”, I ordered Moules Frites. The Belgian specialty is offered here all year round, is frozen foods and of doubtful quality. My tip: have lunch or dinner at one of the many Michelin and Gault Millau restaurants, many of which offer comparatively affordable lunch menus. Or one discovers the locals’ spots beyond the tourist paths, such as the café “Sanseveria” in the Predikherenstraat.
When the night comes over Bruges, the day tourists have left again, and the city and its inhabitants sigh recognizably. The old town dives into a special light, which effectively stages the old walls. Just around the corner from my hotel Prinsenhof lies the gourmet restaurant Guillaume. I enjoy a delicious menu and a super nice service. On the way to the hotel I experience the now deserted streets of Bruges by moonlight. Pure romance! A feeling that would hardly have come up a few hours earlier. BvH
Attention, art fans: Until September 16, the Triennale Art Exhibition in Bruges awaits with 15 – partly accessible – works and installations that are spread over the entire Old Town. Central theme: Liquid Society highlights the implications of ever-changing interpersonal relationships. Art and city can thus be jointly explored by a tour.
Where to bed in Bruges
There are some promising boutique hotels in Bruges such as the Van Cleef, Hotel Die Swaene or the Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce. The Relais Bourgondisch Cruyce is beautifully decorated (I love the Belgian interior with its soft colors) and is right by the canal. With its historic façade, it is one of the most photographed spots in the city. An aspect that causes some unrest. I decide for the Prinsenhof, which is within walking distance of three minutes from the market in a quiet side street.
Bruges and Culinary
I let myself be spoiled in the star restaurant Guillaume. The gourmet restaurant Guillaume in Korte Lane is located in an old cottage. From the outside it seems almost a bit unspectacular, so we almost passed it. I opt for the three-course menu “Crazy Creations” for 52 euros: Amuse Gueule from reinterpreted Vitello tonato, roast beef and pike-perch. As a starter: lobster, Fois Grois, Iberico ham and exotic fruits. Followed by guinea fowl with roasted diced tomatoes and a raspberry slice for dessert. We renounce the wine and choose the Rosé Luberon from Provence, 32 euros a bottle.
Above the rooftops of Bruges
Places of silence
Info Triennale Bruges
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