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Where to live in Brussels

10th April 2015, Comments5 comments

Where to live in Brussels
Find the best neighbourhood in Brussels for you to settle into your Belgian home, from the green areas of Uccle to the bustle of downtown Brussels.

If you looking to move to Brussels, you'll find a range of neighbourhoods with distinct charactertistics, from central down-town neighbourhoods to family-friendly leafy suburbs. Choose where to live in Brussels.

Brussels centre

If living in the thick of it all is irresistible then downtown is the place for you. In recent years, previously run-down parts of the centre have become a magnet for young professionals, with major renovations and industrial spaces coming up for rent or sale. Sought-after areas are St Géry, Ste Catherine and the rue Antoine Dansaert area leading up to the canal, where old warehouses have been converted into popular loft apartments.

The traditionally cheaper, working-class Marolles is becoming increasingly popular with a young urban set. The Sablon and Louise are fabulously upmarket but that is, naturally, reflected in price. What you get in return is a raft of art galleries, antique shops and stylish cafes.

Up and coming are the streets around the main boulevard leading down to Gare du Midi, with many old properties ripe for development and still at somewhat attractive prices.

Ixelles/Elsene

Ixelles is a massive commune with character and style, wildly popular with the expatriate community. It falls into distinct areas: trendy Châtelain with its café culture, the leafy ponds and abbey area leading down to the Bois de la Cambre; and buzzy Chaussée d’Ixelles, which takes in the Matongé, the African quarter, and the cemetery with its late-night bars and student population. Through it all runs Avenue Louise with its upmarket shops and restaurants, which is technically part of the Brussels City district. The housing stock tends to be large townhouses and desirable apartment conversions, but you’ll certainly pay for it. If you’re looking for green space there is the huge Bois de la Cambre to the south. For more suburban living, head southeast to the commune of Watermael-Boitsfort, which is rapidly becoming a popular area with easy city access and a quaint village feel.

Etterbeek

Best known for the area at the top end of the Parc du Cinquantenaire, Etterbeek is filled with attractive streets lined with early 20th-century townhouses. Home to many European institutions, it has fantastic public transport facilities. The relatively cheap housing prices and good availability of houses and apartments, mostly in conversions, make Etterbeek particularly attractive. There are international schools here, as well as cultural venues at l’Espace Senghor, Théâtre St-Michel, Théâtre Yvan Baudouin-Lesly Bunton, and l’Espace Entrée Libre.

St Gilles/ Sint Gillis

St Gilles is a favourite among expats who like to live like locals. From the top end, with its grand Art Nouveau houses, down to the earthy Gare du Midi, St Gilles is packed with quirky restaurants, shops and a buzzing nightlife. There is the beautiful art deco Victor Boin swimming pool and Turkish baths for relaxing, plus a number of theatres, cinemas and galleries to explore. You are more likely to find a bargain property here too, especially if you buy. It is one of Brussels’ most dynamic areas with a definite future, attracting both expats and locals to its enigmatic character.

Uccle/ Ukkel

This is a beautiful and calm commune with huge houses and upmarket apartment blocks. Popular with expat families and home to a large international community, it has a village feel and is well situated for shops and several international schools. It is probably Brussels’ most leafy commune due to its close proximity to the Forest of Soignes and housing with generous gardens. In summer, concerts are held in the local Parc de Wolvendael.

Woluwe Saint Pierre/ Sint Pieters Woluwe

This is often the choice of folk working at the European institutions, both for its proximity and upmarket housing. It is popular with expat families for its large, gardened houses, although a mix of apartments and townhouses exists also. It is almost self-contained with its massive park, sports centre and public amenities. It is also on the metro line 1B, giving easy public transport access.

Woluwe Saint Lambert/ Sint Lambrechts Woluwe

Saint-Pierre’s next-door neighbour shares much the same attractions, including the huge Woluwe Shopping Centre. A step further out from the centre, it begins to get even more suburban and green, yet is within good distance to the airport and major international motorways. You will find varied shopping and plenty to do, including a swimming pool and ice-skating rink.

Brussels communes

  • Anderlecht .02 558 0800
  • Auderghem .02 676 4811
  • Berchem-Sainte-Agathe 02 464 0411
  • Brussels City  02 279 2211
  • Etterbeek  02 627 2111
  • Evere 02 247 6262
  • Forest 02 370 2211
  • Ganshoren 02 465 1277
  • Ixelles  02 515 6111
  • Jette 02 423 1211
  • Koekelberg 02 412 1411
  • Molenbeek-Saint-Jean 02 412 3790
  • Saint-Gilles 02 536 0211
  • Saint-Josse-ten-Node.02 220 2611
  • Schaerbeek 02 244 7511
  • Uccle  02 348 6511
  • Watermael-Boitsfort  02 674 7411
  • Woluwe-Saint-Lambert  02 761 2711
  • Woluwe-Saint-Pierre  02 773 0511

 

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Readers' recommedations:

  • Berchem, Jette and Ganshoren.

5 comments on this article Add a comment

  • 15th November 2012, 22:44:34 emigrant posted:
    The cities listed here are very expensive. Better is to look a little more far away of the capital. You will love Halle to live, from there it takes only 18minutes by train to get in Brussels. Also, crimerates in Brussels are very high. It's way better to live in cities near by Brussels.With a good regulated public transport here, you will live way better than in this city.
  • 2nd March 2013, 01:33:31 laurent posted:
    Not necessary; when you have strikes every 3-4months and then you have to use busy highways!
  • 9th September 2013, 17:24:10 Brusselaire posted:
    Brussels is a nice small town compare to London or Paris. It's not crowed and you can still find nice place to live. It's expensive because of the EU who increase our renting price. If you go to part of Brussels likes Schaerbeek, Saint-Josse who are near the city center you will have nice place for cheap price, with always open shops.
  • 1st December 2014, 10:54:08 Pierre posted:
    The neighborhoods you have listed are all great places to live and you describe them very accurately, good article !

    However, you have forgotten to talk about other attractive neighborhoods near (or well connected to) the city centre such as Auderghem or Evere (near NATO). Anderlecht is also a good place for people willing to pay lower rents while being connected to the city centre or the european institutions.

    I suggest to visit www.shelterr.com , it has a "map research" functionality that is particularly suited if you want to look for a place to live based on the neighborhood
  • 29th December 2014, 11:37:31 Antonio posted:
    Thank you expatica for your useful article and Pierre for posting shelterr it has been very useful in my housing research in Brussels !

    Antonio
 

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