Flagey: Brussels’ cosmopolitan, festive and cultural quarter

10 March 2022
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When people tell you that the heart of the world beats in Brussels, it's in the Flagey neighbourhood that you will really feel it. Nestled between the Matongé/Saint-Boniface neighbourhood and the European Quarter, Flagey is as much a cosmopolitan crossroads as it is a real cultural centre.

It offers magnificent walking areas and an impressive architectural heritage. The many students from the two nearby universities and La Cambre art and architecture school particularly appreciate its festive atmosphere both day and night. They have made place Flagey one of Brussels' unmissable spots.

Visit La Cambre Abbey

Is there anything more unusual than finding an abbey in the heart of Ixelles? Here is a hidden treasure that offers many surprises! This historical and architectural gem is much appreciated by the people of Brussels for strolls, visiting or simply relaxing, alone or with friends, in the large gardens that border La Cambre Abbey.

Typical Brussels cafés

If the people of Brussels love Flagey so much, it's because of its lively nightlife. Lovers of good beers head to l’Amère à boire and Murmure café. (Our advice is to get there early as if fills up quickly). Flip is another pleasant bar, with a vintage feel thanks to its recycled furniture. If you fancy a few more drinks, try out Bar du Marché, a favourite with cocktail lovers.

And then of course, the unmissable Café Belga, probably the most cosmopolitan bar in Brussels. In the summer, its huge, friendly terrace overflows (almost) onto Place Flagey and invites local residents to sit down for an aperitif.  

Art Nouveau and Art Deco walk along the Ixelles ponds

Flagey is one of Brussels' most popular Art Nouveau and Art Deco districts, a primary example of why being the modernist, Art Deco monolith Flagey building. This former radio broadcasting house is now an institution renowned for the acoustics of its concert halls and its top-notch music and film programming.

A little further you'll find the Ixelles ponds, with their warm atmosphere that invites local residents to go for a walk or a jog. Along the ponds, sumptuous Art Nouveau mansions line up like architectural pearls. And if you are tempted by a visit to the most beautiful Art Nouveau and Art Deco houses in Brussels, discover our selection.  

The top gastronomic addresses in the Flagey neighbourhood

If you want to have a bite to eat in the Flagey neighbourhood, you're spoilt for choice! Head to rue Lesbroussart, where a host of great little places await you. Les Super Filles du Tram and Smash are a must if you like burgers. Umamido and Banh ‘n Rolls also bring you unbeatable Asian street food. Chez Oki serves Franco-Japanese kitchen. 

Lovers of Italian food will find what they crave at Racines and Monella on chaussée d’Ixelles. Everything is home-made, respects the environment and uses fresh produce from their own garden. At CŎCĪNA, you get a chance to sample Italian “aperitivi” with a cocktail or a good wine selected by your Neapolitan hosts.

Frit’Flagey on place Flagey is a cult chip shop in Brussels and a favourite of local residents.
My Tannour and Chicounou serve up unmissable Syrian and Lebanese food. The first one serves top-of-the-range fast food (please be patient as queues are frequent), and the other invites you to take the time to taste their delicious regional "tapas".

Shopping for all

Stock up on products from here and abroad and discover Brussels' favourite little boutiques. If you have a sweet tooth, head to the Cokoa floral patisserie where Anaïs Gaudemer offers a wide range of biscuits, desserts and cakes with incredible flavours. If you haven't yet tasted all the original beers of Brussels, then you need to head straight to Malting Pot. It’s only a stone’s throw from place Flagey and houses some 200 artisanal Belgian beers. At La Fleur du Pain, artisan baker Laurent Richard serves some of the best bread in Brussels.

If you like books that have led several lives, Librairie Nijinski is the place for you. For 30 years it has been welcoming lovers of second-hand books of all kinds. Last but not least, Librairie Flagey caters for fans of comics, manga and novels to suit all tastes and offers books in English, Dutch and French.

Our top tip: as far as “hidden gems” around Flagey go, you can’t do better than the quaint little rue Malibran. Its bucolic character makes it one of the most beautiful little streets in Brussels.

Getting there

  • Bus 71, 38, 60 (stop Flagey) and 95 (stop Blyckaerts)
  • Tram 81 (stop Flagey), 8, 93 (stop Bailli - Baljuw)