Sarah and Chloé at the Opening of House Louise

New to town?  The best Expats in Brussels blogs

Blogs are a great way for newly arrived expats in Brussels to get the inside track on what is hot and happening. At the opening of MP Louise, we were excited to meet some of the bloggers who have their ear to the ground for all that is new and trendy and thought we would share with you some of our favorite blogs. We have compiled a list of essential blogs for expats and Bruxellois alike.

The best blogs for Expats in Brussels:

  • Brussels’ Kitchen: living in Brussels means outstanding restaurants at affordable prices. Sarah and Chloé of BK write one of the most respected blogs on good grub in Brussels.
  • On Food and Wine: Andrea’s blog reflects the wit and affection of a good natured expat, out to find the best to be had in Brussels while acknowledging the occasional chaos. A kindred spirit for those who choose to celebrate the opportunity to be here.
  • See you there:  the best weekly round up of what to do in Brussels be it food, fashion or fun.
  • French Connect:  this blog is geared at French expats in Brussels, of which there are quite a few! Very well researched, there is a lot of detailed info on settling in Brussels. Check out the membership perks, including a free drop in clinic for legal and fiscal advice.
  • Mode In Belgium: francophone blog with a local perspective. Lovely interface, nice mix of fashion and cultural events.

 

Outside sitting area of a café in the Parvis Saint Gilles Neighborhood in Brussels
  • “From the front door to your morning espresso bar, never more than 100 m” – Joris B., entrepreneur and friend. So in honor of Joris, herewith our tips on where to get coffee in one of the best Saint Gilles café.
  • Brasserie de l’Union: this café has withstood the “hipster” invasion of Saint Gilles and remains true to it’s working class roots. Named after the local football team l’Union Saint Gilloise, life long customers are greeted by name by the no nonsense staff. Drinks your espresso straight up at the bar with a buttery croissant, while reading the local papers at this Saint Gilles café.
  • Le Dillens: overlooking a small tree filled square, this is a happy hangout from early morning to late at night serving whatever you fancy throughout the day. Fresh organic juices, homemade dish of the day served in generous portions and local independent brews on tap, all served in a casual, plant filled space. Excellent wifi should you need to check-in while hanging out.
  • Au Pays des Merveilles: APDM is the go-to for fresh bagels in Brussels. Satisfy your bagel fix or indulge in a full brunch of eggs or pancakes. Try and snag a seat outside at this Saint Gilles café to enjoy the view of the gorgeous rue Jean Volders, one of the prettiest Art Deco streets in Brussels.
Picture of a table at Forcado Pasteileria and a selection of their sweet Portuguese specialties
  • “From the front door to your morning espresso bar, never more than 100 m” – Joris B., entrepreneur and friend. So in honor of Joris, herewith our tips on where to get coffee in the Chatelain Area in Brussels.
  • Hinterland: our neighbors on the corner, were just starting out when we were renovating MP Chatelain. We spent many a meeting huddled around their tables while sipping the smoothie of the day. Three years later and they have hit their stride attracting a young, fashionable crowd hungry for Hinterland’s healthy fare. With the tram stop just outside their door this is a very good option  for those who grab breakfast on the go in the Chatelain area in Brussels. http://hntrlnd.be/en
  • Forcado: Our neighborhood has a significant Portuguese population, which you can definitely appreciate during Euro or World cup football season. The rest of the time, you can enjoy traditional pasteis and strong coffee at Forcado. A family run Pasteileria they only serve sweet Portuguese specialties in their beautifully renovated interior. http://forcado.be/en
  • Parlor Coffee Roasters: is nirvana for coffee connoisseurs, as well as the rest of us who love a great coffee shop as well as a decent sandwich to pick up for lunch. They roast their own beans, have heaps of knowledge about what you’re drinking… but it’s the lovely coffee smell and charming staff which will keep you coming back in the Chatelain Area in Brussels. https://www.parlorcoffee.eu/
Fabric swatches in green and grey

MP Louise is our most challenging project to date: a dramatic house with loads of personality, we wanted to respect the space while meeting the needs of our residents for convenience, community and, when needed, some privacy.

What were the design elements you wanted to accentuate when doing the interiors for the house?

This is a very traditional bourgeois home from the turn of the century with marble fireplaces, 5 meter high ceilings and lovely period details. We really wanted to accentuate the original architecture and atmosphere of the house while keeping it modern and light. The wallpapers are a humorous nod to the house’s bourgeois past while the eclectic furniture makes it feel like a true home  where you could put your feet up and stay a while.

How did you incorporate the needs of a demanding co-living community?

Rule number one: invest in the wifi. We learned this the hard way so now we have the best provider in Brussels. Feedback from our other houses is that residents want to be able to get out of their rooms without having to face their housemates’ dinner party in the common space. So we have created different areas to curl up with a book or do some work from home. Storage is also big concern, as is keeping your stuff separate in the kitchen because there is always that one person…

How did you manage to make each room individual?

Isabelle sourced most of our furniture from vintage markets here in Belgium and in Scandinavia, so there isn’t one look but a happy mix. We wanted it to feel like the house had been in the same family for generations, relaxed and lived in. No two rooms are alike, just like our residents!

What are some of the surprises residents will find about the house?

Afternoon sunlight in the upstairs reading nook, the piano in the living room… just some of the surprises that await.