The centre of Saint-Gilles: a neighbourhood that feels like a village

10 March 2022

The centre of Saint-Gilles is one of Brussels’ most vibrant neighbourhoods! Here you feel like you’re no longer in town, but in a village, which says a lot.   

Groups of friends meet for a drink on its terraces. Local residents do their shopping at the market on the parvis or play pétanque. The variety of restaurants and small shops also makes it a very cosmopolitan area. As for shopping, you will find mainly organic, ethical and sustainable shops. The neighbourhood is also known for being home to many artists. 

A place of great history

The centre of Saint-Gilles is bursting with historical gems! One of the most striking is its town hall. This French Renaissance Revival building in Brussels is topped by a 41-metre high belfry. Go in and marvel at its imposing entrance hall. A stone's throw away lies Saint-Gilles prison, which, with its neo-Medieval style, has the appearance of a fortified castle. Visit the Halle Gate. It is one of the last remnants of Brussels' ancient 2nd wall. Climb to the top and enjoy a panoramic view of the city. Back down below, cross over the street to Le Bistro, where you can enjoy a delicious Belgian dish and beer while you continue to soak up the view.

The town hall of Saint-Gilles against a blue sky

Architectural gems

Fans of Art Deco and Art Nouveau can admire the beautiful facades on Place Louis Morichar. Another of the neighbourhood's architectural gems is the Aegidium: an incredible building of more than 3,000m2 with a Moorish former banquet hall. It can be visited with the guides of Arkadia and Les visites de mon Voisin. If you feel like visiting another unusual house, we recommend the Maison Pelgrim. From the terrace you have a beautiful view of the Pierre Paulus park. You’ll find even more green spaces and nature in the nearby Forest Park

A paradise for artists

The centre of Saint-Gilles is also known for its artists and galleries. At the Damien & The Love Guru gallery, you can admire the art and contemporary design in a special way. Discover also the Forest Divonne gallery in the imposing Art Nouveau Winssinger town house built by Victor Horta. Exhibitions of work by emerging artists are often held here. 

Feeling a little peckish?

Saint-Gilles enjoys a very diverse gastronomic offer. It is hard to choose between them all, but here are a few ideas. For breakfast, book a table at Café La Biche. For brunch, make your way to Oma for authentic and traditional recipes. The best shrimp croquettes in Brussels are made at Fernand Obb Delicatessen. If you fancy traditional Belgian food, then opt for Brasserie de l’Union, which is an institution. Le Damoiselle offers a menu of original and vegetarian dishes, made with fresh produce. More of a burger person? Then head to Green Mango!

Trendy bistros and bars

Parvis de Saint-Gilles is the ideal place to go out in Brussels. The terraces are often crawling with people. Start your bar crawl at Brasserie Verschueren, an authentic local bar, in Art Deco style. A stone’s throw away, Café Maison du Peuple regularly organises DJ sets. For fans of original beers, L’Ermitage is a must, as is Moeder Lambic. For cocktails, make your way to Café Flora. A little further on you’ll come across Le Dillens, a café loved by the residents of Saint-Gilles.

Getting there

  • Métro Porte de Hal, Hôtel des Monnaies
  • Tram 81, 3, 4, 97