Designed by the architect Jean-Pierre Cluysenaer, the spectacular Galeries Royales project took shape in the 1830s. The work, begun in 1846, was almost completed in time for the official opening on 20 June 1847. Cluysenaer conceived a long gallery similar to those found in Paris, but he endowed it with an architectural grandeur worthy of the great European cities. In order to adapt to the irregularities of the terrain, the gallery is slightly curved at the central portico. The architecture and decoration are inspired by the Italian palazzi of the 16th century and show careful attention to detail. The façade overlooking the Rue du Marché-aux-Herbes/Grasmarkt displays a superposition of the Tuscan, Ionic and Corinthian orders, a combination that can also be found inside. In contrast, the grey-coloured render highlighting the blue stone of the architectural decoration becomes pink within the interior of the gallery. The ingenious glass roof, resting on self-supporting semi-circular arches with its panes laid out in a fish scale pattern, is a remarkable example of zenithal lighting from the second half of the 19th century. A fashionable society venue, the Galeries Royales quickly drew a wide audience, attracted by its luxury brands, elegant cafés and cultural spaces. These included the Théâtre Royal des Galeries, the former Théâtre du Vaudeville and the Taverne du Passage, which was known as the Café des Arts until 1892 and was a meeting place for the painters and writers of the time. (Listed 19/11/1986).
Rue Marché-aux-Herbes/Grasmarkt and Rue de l’Écuyer/Schildknaapsstraat