Monday, January 03, 2011


Each year there is a big Christmas market in Brussels, called "Plaisirs hiver" (Winter Wonders) It has started in 2002 and over the years it had become bigger and bigger and has now 240 stalls extended over 2 km length, from the Grand' Place til the Marché au Poissons (fishermarket). Around 2.5 million visitors from all over the world come to Brussels to visit the Christmas market. English tour operators ranked the Brussels Christmas market the "most original" in Europe.

The history of Christmas markets goes back to the Late Middle Ages in the German speaking part of Europe. The Dresden Christmas market, first held in 1434, is one of the oldest Christmas markets. It attracts between 1.5 and 2 million visitors a year and has over 250 stalls. The Bautzen Christmas market was even older, first being mentioned in records in 1384.

The Grand' Place with the Christmas tree which comes each year from another country. In the evening there is a light and sound show going on, which makes the old buildings even more beautiful.

A nativity scene with wax figures and real sheeps is also built up on this place.

"Make a wish" was collecting money for very sick children

The whole place looked very festive

From the Grand Place you arrive at the stock market where the first stalls begin

Some street animation

As it is not allowed to smoke inside restaurants, the owners found a solution, they installed heated terraces where people savored oisters, snails or typical Christmas plates from all countries.

Of course Brussels' laces are not missing, although I wonder if I would use this pretty apron in a kitchen !

Stalls after stalls with all kind of handmade articles or Christmas ornaments

These are glass animals

Jewelry, slippers, scarfs and caps

Games to play, here you had to "fish" a Christmas ball

The little Orchestra were Englishmen from near London. They played Christmas music, and people enjoyed the ice skating and the giant wheel

There was all kind of sweets, biscuits, Belgian chocolate and wafels and lots of stalls with mulled wine, pure or with something more strong in it.

There was also a very big stall with Morrocan specialities, to make some promotion for Morocco and you could eat a delicous couscous there.
And for once we had a white Christmas.

more participants here


Sylvia K said...

Oh, what a great tour, Gattina! And what a fun place to spend some time! Your photos are terrific as always! They're always so colorful and full of life, I love them! Hope your new year is filled with lots of love and laughter and photo ops!!! Enjoy!


Kay L. Davies said...

What wonderful photos, Gattina. I've sent a link to your blog to my husband, because we're planning to visit Brussels in the spring on our way from Amsterdam to France.
Thanks for showing us a Belgian Christmas (with English musicians, Italian chocolates, Moroccan couscous, etc.)!!
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Maribeth said...

Oh wonderful! We have nothing like that here. One day when I have won the Lotto, I will spend all of the Christmas season in Europe!

Kat said...

The pictures you posted are really lovely Gattina. The square where the Christmas sales took place look very similar to the one I saw in Amsterdam, just opposite Madam Tussauds. Everyone seems to be enjoying that bit of sunshine!

annies home said...

I love outdoor markets never know what you will find this one looks so festive and fun I would have had the best of times

A Lady's Life said...

Oh how festive!
Makes me want to be there. But I love the old buildings and the general air of places like this, so alive and colorful.
The apron is gorgeous. I found one once made by a crafter and it had so much work put into it and sold so cheap I said to myself I will buy it and keep it. It can never be used except in pictures.
So it is tucked away somewhere.
Thanks :)

Trotter said...

Hi Gattina!! So, too much fun during the holidays; no time to vist blogfriends... ;))

Oysters, snails, ok... But, as they say in the Harry's Bar referring to cell phones, «smoking highly disturbs the joy of eating oysters..." ;))

Have a great year!!

Gracie said...

Brusseles is a very beautiful city,too bad I didn't visit it when I was in Belgium!

eileeninmd said...

Gattina, Brussels looks like a real happening place. I would love to walk thru and check out all those stalls. Wonderful photos, thanks for sharing your trip.

claudie said...

what a marvelous christmas market ! i wish I was with you!
The buildings are fabulous! Do you think they have a such marvelous one in North Countries?
I dream is to visit Strasbourg christmas market because it is th most famous in France and I went sometimes there when I was a child cause my aunt lived in Strasbourg!!! And I have beautiful memories de la place Kleber!

Steuben Glass said...

Thank you for the tour! The pictures make me feel like I was present on this trip. I love those little decorative crystal animals. Thanks for sharing!

Lifecruiser Travel Blog said...

Oh, that sounds like an awesome xmas market I wouldn't mind at all to go to! Only those absolutely gorgeous buildings around there could make me in heaven.... I could imagine how they look with the lights in the evening! Fantastic. And the stalls seem to be enough fun to walk through!

Ola said...

I could spend there long hours!:) Greetings!

Siddhartha Joshi said... amazed how quickly it picked up from 2002!

The images are amazing, Brussels looks all ready for Christmas :)

Travel France Online said...

This is a really beautiful Christmas market.
I have travelled a lot but have never been to Brussels.
Your beautiful photos make me want to visit sometime soon...AND being French, I would like to go to Waterloo!!
In the meantime I will discover Brussels through your camera as I have added your blog to my list of blogs to follow.
Best wishes, DeeBee

Jannicar Galarion Nayve said...

woaah! I wish I could travel and visit other countries too. Its very cool ^_^ I am a follower now. Great article

arabesque said...

wow! these are nice pictures of Brussels. I wish I could go there sometime soon. haha!
i;m loving those crystals.
but most of all, I love what they've done to the place.

Anonymous said...

Nice post. Thanks


About Me

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I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.


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