Founded in 1201 in the Maelbeek Valley, the Abbey of La Cambre, after being passed from owner to owner, was finally taken over by the municipality of Ixelles/Elsene and the City of Brussels. The green space surrounding the monastery buildings was then in a pitiful condition. Landscape architect Jules Buyssens was commissioned to restore the site starting in 1930. Laid out in the style of a formal French garden towards 1720, the abbey gardens cover around 5 hectares. In the lower section, a fishpond surrounded by flowerbeds and copses serves as a haven for a variety of fauna that are split between the Ixelles Ponds and the nearby lake of La Cambre Wood. The tree-filled slopes partially conceal the abbey, of which there is a better view from the top of the upper section. It is composed of a series of five terraces, straight lawns and pruned box trees, all of which are inspired by the classical French style. While the upper terrace disappeared to make way for the creation of Avenue Emile De Mot/Emile De Motlaan, the others still form an imposing perspective centred on the huge Louis XIV style steps which lead, landing by landing, to the abbey. Wandering through the park will bring you to an Atlas cedar, a tree of heaven, a catalpa with a circumference of 3 metres and an attractive “weeping” ginkgo. (Listed 30/03/1989)
Walking tours “The gardens of the Abbey of La Cambre: the art of French style formal gardens”. Saturday at 16h00 and Sunday at 17h30 (duration: 1.5 hours). Meet in front of the memorial to Lieutenant-General Dossin de Saint-Georges (abbey entrance), Square de la Croix-Rouge/Rode-Kruissquare, Ixelles/Elsene. In French only. Please note that bookings are preferred. Call 02/515.67.48, text 0477/25.01.47 or e-mail email@example.com. In cooperation with the Heritage Department of the municipality of Ixelles/Elsene.
Walking tour “La Cambre: from cloister to flower-filled Longchamp”.