Euro-Style Travel and Culture

Favorites & Best Practices from France and Beyond


Brugge, Belgium – The Venice of the North

An Enchanted city of Flemish Traditions and Culture

Brugge is a marvelous city which has preserved the traditional architecture and rich heritage of the Flemish speaking Flanders region of Belgium. Public transportation is excellent making getting there and around very easy. If you take the train from Brussels the bus service to the old city is very convenient or you can walk through Minnewater park, past the historic convent and there you are, in the ancient city of Brugge. The cobbled streets, the system of canals, and the historic buildings contribute to an atmosphere which is truly unique.

There are several museums which recount not only the history of the city but also the history of seafaring, brewing, tapestry, bobbin lace and other traditional activities which mark the city’s historical importance. You can trace the role the convent played in the development of the lace industry in Brugge and how that contributed to the city’s economic development. You can take a canal trip which retraces the growth of commerce and architecture in the city, as you ride past windmills, prisons, breweries, fish markets, and other historic sites. Carriage rides through the historic areas provide a pleasant guided tour of the city. Or, you can just wander through the picturesque streets and soak up the atmosphere.

Because Brugge is so very close to the sea, the restaurants have truly mastered the art of preparing wonderful seafood dishes. One of our favorite casual menus is mussels with French fries (actually, fries were invented in Belgium). A favorite restaurant features several recipes of mossellen served at sidewalk tables overlooking Minnewater Lake. De Visscherie restaurant at the old fish market offers a gourmet menu of seafood and other traditional fare, served with wonderful sauces and side dishes. And of course we must not forget that this city is in Belgium which is famous for excellent chocolates and pastries. Belgian waffles with various toppings are favorites for desserts and walk-away treats.

We have visited Brugge many times and our experiences there keep us returning for more. We never tire of the atmosphere and it seems that as we wander through the streets of the city and surrounding counrtyside we are continually discovering new and interesting things to see and enjoy. We will bring them to you as we continue to explore the gallic region once known as “Belgica”.

The streets of the old city are lined with shops featuring lace, tapestries, copperware, pewter and artwork. Many of the shops sell merchandise which is manufactured in Belgium using designs and techniques dating back hundreds of years. Some of the shops have women on site demonstrating the ancient lace making and weaving skills.

To view and purchase Belgian laces, tapestries and other traditional items visit our e-store.

Kathryn Severance

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