The Marolles: Brussels’ authentic and popular neighbourhood

15 March 2022

If you are looking to experience authentic Brussels, you need to head to the Marolles. The neighbourhood's story began back in medieval times, and you can still hear some locals speaking the Brusseleir dialect.

Here in the Marolles you will find the city's oldest bars, numerous antique shops and historic brasseries. The area is also known for its flea market and the urban art that plays an important role in the neighbourhood. It's a district that reflects the people of Brussels: diverse and friendly.

Urban art on every street corner

Countless murals and graffiti give the neighbourhood colour. Here you’ll find the largest number of the capital's 61 comic book murals, with Billy and Buddy, Spirou and Benoit Brisefer among the districts residents. Young Brussels street artists have also taken over the neighbourhood with pieces inspired by the world of the famous medieval master, Bruegel. To round off your urban experience, pop in to Crevette Records and uncover some incredible LPs and test yourself at the Ursulines skatepark.

Vintage shopping and antiques

You'll find the best second-hand shops in Brussels on rue Haute and rue Blaes, which are a veritable haven of antiques dealers and vintage shops. Upcycling is also very present in the district. At Cyclup, for example, the pieces are made using repurposed textile, and their creation is part of a socio-professional reinsertion. Still on Rue Haute, at Melting pot Kilo, you pay for your second-hand clothes by the kilo. In a similar vein, pop into Bernard Gavilan’s store. His isn’t nicknamed the king of vintage for nothing!

Foodie stops

The district gives pride of place to traditional cuisine. The Clef d’Or brasserie, which sits on place du Jeu de Balle, is a must for local, popular cuisine. Wine Bar des Marolles also offers you delicious dishes showcasing Belgian terroir.

If you prefer vegetarian cuisine, L’Eau Chaude is the place for you. It's located in the old grocery store where Marolles residents used to come to get hot water. Another authentic spot is the Friture de la place de la Chapelle chip van. In the same area, discover Pois Chiche, a Middle Eastern food bar.  For Italian food, head to the Nonno Piadineria sandwich shop, where you can try one of their piadinas ⁠— a popular filled wheat flatbread.

The famous flea market

The Marolles’ famous flea market covers place du Jeu de Balle from dawn until 14:00 during the week and until 15:00 at weekends. Here you can hunt for all kinds of objects and let yourself get swept up in the atmosphere. What's more, the bistros and estaminets that line the square are open and from time to time, musicians play on the terraces. Take a seat at La Brocante, it’s one of the area’s most typical cafés.

A festive atmosphere

The Marolles is a festive neighbourhood, both by day and by night. Start with an aperitif at Café Pastel, near the Sablon, which has a young and relaxed atmosphere. Then head to Kombi Bar, an original lounge bar that offers non-stop food until midnight. The Sablon Jalousy Club offers cocktails in an American atmosphere. Secret parties are sometimes organised in its basement. But the neighbourhood's mythical club remains the Fuse. This legendary temple of techno attracts hordes of clubbers from everywhere. 

Getting there

  • Metro lines 2 and 6 Porte de Hal/Hallepoort
  • Bus 48, 27, 95
  • Train Bruxelles-Chapelle/Brussel-Kapellekerk