On one side of Notre-Dame de Sablon in Brussels lies the Place du Petit Sablon. This square is shaded by lush trees and is full of fountains, flowers, statues and benches, offering a little pocket of tranquility amid the bustling Sablon neighborhood and its chocolate shops, antique shops and delis. It is surrounded by forty-eight columns and at the top of each column is a statue that represents one of the guilds of the sixteenth century. It is a beautiful place to escape the hordes of tourists all year round.
This is where all the Royal Museums of city are located. For seven centuries, it was the site of a castle, after Coudenberg's former palace, the seat of power for the Dukes of Brabante. The place subsequently underwent numerous transformations. Today there is a statue of Godefroy de Bouillon in the center, constructed in 1848 by Eugène Simonis, and there is the church of Saint-Jacques-sur-Coudenberg. In virtue of the Royal palace, I recommend to not give up searching for the remains of the churches of the old Palace of Brussels.
I passed by the new Flagey place in August, and truthfully, as travellers commented earlier, it is a nice place. Leaving behind the more tourist places like the Grand Place, you get the feeling that you are entering the real Brussels, with more local people. In fact, on the day that I went it was very hot, and the kids were playing with water jets that flowed from the floor in the center of the square. Mums that were looking after the children were sitting on giant benches and chatting with each other. We should also mention the "baraque à frites" or "friterie" potato chip factory which was recommended by a Belgian staying ... And yes it's not a lie lie- it's worth spending two euros to get some delicious potatoes to savor in the square or along the pond that goes around it!
In this square one can find the church of Santa Catarina, which is in very bad condition, almost without restoration. This church blends Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance styles together into one. On the left side is a fountain, and also a number of restaurants specializing in fish. During the winter, it has a big Christmas market. It was the song of Jacques Brel: "Brussels", which led me to the Place Sainte-Catherine. This place, especially on weekends, has kept all its charm and authenticity. The best to have a snack on Sunday morning in one of the bars in front of the church.