It is often said of Brussels, and of the people of Brussels, that they are surrealists. Discover why thanks to this René Magritte-themed day!
All over Brussels, there are traces of this surrealist universe that seems so real, yet it is all dreams and imagination. If this surrealist spirit permeates the entire city, and those who live there, it is because René Magritte and his artist friends created the movement that revolutionised the art world by shaking up codes and inventing new images.
To witness all of Brussels' surrealist character, we invite you to follow in René Magritte's footsteps during a day of discovery.
Start your day in Jette, and get a taste of the painter's daily life by visiting his old house, which houses the René Magritte Museum. It was there that the artist lived with Georgette - his muse and the love of his life - for 24 years. Every piece of furniture, every trinket, every book is exactly where it belongs. It was in the small kitchen that he spent hours with his surrealist friends, and that he painted half of his work. Upstairs, the bedrooms house a biographical exhibition on Magritte.
Now, take tram 93 (direction Legrand), and hop off at Place Royale in the museum district. This tram passes through many places that were important in the painter's life: Schaerbeek, where his surrealist friends lived; the church of Sainte Marie where he got married; and the Botanical Gardens where he met Georgette.
After such a busy morning, stop by la Fleur en Papier Doré, which served as an unofficial headquarters for Brussels’ surrealists in the 1920s. You'll love its special atmosphere as well as its Brussels specialities and local beers.
With your batteries recharged, you can’t beat a short digestive walk to the neoclassical Royal District - and the Musée Magritte Museum - to admire the world's largest collection of the painter's works. As soon as you enter, you are plunged into his surrealist universe through his many paintings, but also his drawings, his advertising posters and his photos. You even get to watch some vintage films made by the artist.
To round off the day in style, cross the Mont des Arts garden on your way down to the city centre, towards the Bourse. Once there, take a seat at Cirio, (which Jacques Brel also frequented!) and order a "Half en Half" (half white wine, half prosecco), a Brussels speciality invented by this Art Nouveau brewery which has preserved all its charm of days gone by.
Want to know more about René Magritte and surrealism in Brussels? Get your hands on one of the free be.magritte – be.brussels brochures au bureau d’information touristique visit.brussels.