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The Hidden Secrets of Brussels
walking tours for the curious
PROGRAMME SUMMER 2014
BREAK OUT OF THE BUBBLE
THREE THURSDAY AFTERWORK WALKS
Summer is a quiet time in Brussels when you can break out of the Brussels bubble and get to know the city's hidden charms. These three walks are designed to take you straight from work on a Thursday evening on a two-hour walk through some of the city's unknown quarters.
Each walk begins at 18.00 outside the Berlaymont building entrance
31 JULY 2014 6pm to 8pm
THE CINQUANTENAIRE PARK
7 AUGUST 2014 6pm to 8pm
THE SECRET MAELBEEK VALLEY
14 AUGUST 2014 6pm to 8pm
Reservation and info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Street art in the Rue des Chandeliers
The 500 Hidden Secrets of Brussels
walking tours for the curious
Derek Blyth organises walking tours of Brussels based on his bestselling guide The 500 Hidden Secrets of Brussels
Here are some of the most popular walks -
From a hidden river to an unknown mediaeval lane, this walk takes you through the oldest part of Brussels to parts that tourists never reach. Departs Place St Géry 23
Secret street art
Find out about the street artists who work in Brussels, from the man known as “the Banksy of Brusssels” who paints skeletons on apartment walls to the couple who have turned a blank concrete wall into an art gallery. Departs Place Stephanie 6
The secret history of Belgium
Discover the history of Belgium during a two-hour stroll in the Cinquantenaire Park. Departs Berlaymont building entrance
Find out how Brussels became the capital of Europe in a walk that takes you through the cosmopolitan European Quarter. Departs Berlaymont Building entrance
How it works
The walks are given in English and aim to show a side of the city that most people do not know about
The walks are not organised like guided tours but provide stimulating encounters with the city. Each walk is different, depending on weather, participants, roadworks, urban developments
Tours normally last 2 hours
You choose a date and a starting time. Most walks work well beginning on Saturday at 10.00 or 16.00
You choose a walk. For those new to Brussels, I recommend Downtown Brussels.
You can begin the walk at your hotel or office, or at the official departure point.
The walks normally go ahead regardless of the weather. Bring umbrellas to be safe. Occasionally a walk will be cancelled because of severe storms.
Brussels is a city of cobblestones and dilapidated pavements. Wear the right shoes.
The walks are free.
Get the book: Hidden Secrets Walks are based on a small selection of places listed in the book The 500 Hidden Secrets of Brussels. You can buy a copy in most good bookshops in Brussels or order it online from the publisher here
Hidden Secrets of Brussels
walks for the curious
photo Klaus Ken Shipley
In the summer of 2012, Derek Blyth launched a series of walking tours in hidden parts of Brussels to promote his new book The 500 Hidden Secrets of Brussels. Here are photos taken by Klaus Ken Shipley during the first walk on 23 June 2012. The walk started out at the secret River Senne (below left), dived down into the cellars of the old St Géry market hall (below right), and ended two hours later in the former fishmarket (above).
Past walks and events
20 FEBRUARY 2014
NO JOKE, CAN WE LIVE IN BRUSSELS? talk
1 MARCH 2014
SECRET STREET ART walk
13 MARCH 2014 5pm
BRUSSELS FOR BEGINNERS walk
MARCH 2014 7pm
CAFE LITTERAIRE talk + walk
22 MARCH 2014 11am
HIDDEN SECRETS OF DOWNTOWN BRUSSELS walk
You can book a private walk for a few friends to celebrate a special event like a birthday or a wedding. Just drop me an email and we can discuss the possibilities
SEE THE LIST OF 10 WALKS HERE
I just wanted to say a big thank you for the talk and walking tour yesterday evening which everyone thoroughly enjoyed! It really is one of our most popular events at Le Méridien. Looking forward to whenever the next one will be!
I just wanted to thank you for the nice talk and walk yesterday evening. I've been in Brussels for more than seven years and still hadn't noticed some of the spots you showed and explained to us.
We wanted to thank you for the great walk we had with our group of students on 14 January 2014. It was a hit: our students absolutely loved it! Even though the weather was quite rough, this was the first group that we've had that was collectively enthusiastic right until the end, regardless of the cold.
Pauline Le Floc'h,
International Students Abroad
What a treasure trove of knowledge and a delightfully witty one at that! Derek has a delightfully cool approach to the whole tour of street art. And I discovered that Brussels is definitely NOT flat OR boring. He gave his commentary in English. My daughter was too jet-lagged to come along but when I showed her a few pictures and told her about it, she was as turned on by Brussels as me. Now we notice the quirky features of Brussels in a way we would never have done on our own.
Maggie Morgan, Melbourne
I want to thank you for the excellent tour that you did last Saturday. My wife and I learned a lot and we will try our best to be a part of your upcoming trips. We will also be purchasing your book as well as telling our friends about the hidden secrets that we are sure that many of them do not know about.
Klaus Ken Shipley
Thank you for the great tour through Brussels yesterday. It was very interesting. I am flicking through your book that I bought yesterday. What a gem.
Thank you so much for your time and enthusiasm and for showing me how much I yet have to discover in this city. I especially liked the banana murals, the mediaeval street, the designers' stores and the hospital square with the white buildings. It helped me imagine how Brussels looked at the time Joseph Conrad referred to it as the whited sepulchre.
I was touched by the city that you showed us. I have lived here for a year and I have always felt that there is more to Brussels than I could describe, show or touch. Even though I have read hundreds of books about Brussels. I loved the gorgeous photo exhibition, and the abandoned old fountain lined with rubbish made me cry. Brussels is a magnificent old city, but it's a pity it's not visble on a daily basis. Like the narrow street near the Rue de Flandres that isn't even on Google maps. Every citizen should be obliged to try to see Brussels through your eyes.
The walk on Saturday was illuminating and your book is on my list of things to buy. I adore getting to know about my surroundings and our peregrinations were ideal for that.
You were fabulous. After 15 months here, I've fallen into a bit of a Brussels funk. Your book and the walk were just what I needed to remind me of the quirkiness and absurdity that makes Brussels such a unique place. After the walk, a friend and I enjoyed drinks as you suggested at the Dominican. It was a perfect Saturday afternoon.
Your narration is fantastic, it could entertain and enlighten me for hours. In fact, one of my group said, "I'd like to take him out to dinner and just let him talk."
One day in Brussels
Buy the bestselling book
The 500 hidden
secrets of Brussels