The South district in the Belgian capital of Brussels comprises the municipalities of Saint-Gilles / Sint-Gillis, Forest / Vorst and Uccle / Ukkel.
Forest (pronounced with a silent "st") is the French name of one of the municipalities surrounding Brussels (the Flemish name is Vorst), known for its historically important abbey, a collection of art deco buildings and a major concert hall. Green and tranquil as the name might suggest, Forest is nevertheless also home to a large portion of Brussels' industrial facilities, including a car factory and the depot used by Eurostar trains.
- 1 Abbaye de Forest, Place Saint-Denis—Sint-Denijsplein. The benedictine abbey was built as a priory to women in the 12th century and expanded many times in the following century as it gained importance. The downfall came in the 18th century, when a fire ravaged the convent and later the aftermath of the French Revolution led to its suppression. The remaining building complex has been restored in the 1960s and serves now a community centre.
- Town Hall of Forest. A major art deco monument.
- 2 Church of Saint Augustine, Place de l'Altitude Cent—Hoogte Honderdplein. A white art deco church in the middle of a roundabout.
- 3 Audi factory, Boulevard de la Deuxième Armée Britannique—Tweedelegerlaan. The former Volkswagen Vorst factory is, as of 2015, the sole production site for the Audi A1. It offers 2-hour guided factory tours in Dutch, English, French and German at different times of the day. Reservations are required in advance via an online applications and availability is limited.
Museums and galleries
- 4 Van Buuren Museum, Leo Erreralaan 41, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. W-M 14:00-17:30. The museum is housed in the villa purchased in 1928 by Dutch banker and patron David van Buuren, with an outdoor architecture typical of the Amsterdam School, and the indoor dectorations are characteristic art deco of the time. Van Buuren collected many rare items of furniture, carpets, stained-glass windows, sculptures, paintings (including many Flemish and Italian masters, and other pieces of art, which are still on display. The villa was turned into a museum in 1975 as requested by Alice van Buuren in her testament. The surrounding gardens, designed by landscape architet Jules Buyssens, are in perfect harmony with the art deco house. The 3 central parts are the picturesque garden, the labyrinth, and the garden of the heart. The picturesque garden in particular stands out, designed in the 1920s following the geometrical ideas of the art deco style. It is open to the public year round. adults €10, sensiors €8, students €5, children under 12 free.
- 5 Meunier Museum, Abdijstraat 59, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tu-F 10:00-12:00; 12:45-17:00. A small museum dedicated to the work and life of Constantin Meunier, a Belgian painter and sculptor. He made important contributions to the development of modern art by elevating the image of the industrial worker, docker and miner to an icon of modernity. His work reflects the industrial, social and political developments of his day. The museum is housed in the last residence in which Meuneir lived and worked, a beautiful studio. Sheltering an extensive collection of over 700 works, the house was acquired by the Belgian government in 1936, and after a renovation of 3 years opened in 1939 to the public as museum. Over 150 of his works are displayed there, the remainder in the Museum of the Turn of the Century. Free.
- 6 Horta Museum, Rue Américaine 25, Saint-Gilles/Amerikastraat 25, Sint-Gillis (tram 81, tram 92 (place Janson), bus 54), ☎ , fax: . Tu-Su 14:00-17:30. The home of noted Belgian Art Nouveau architect and designer Victor Horta. Seeing where he lived and worked is a great way to get an introduction to the art nouveau style in Brussels. It is one of four Horta works to be inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. It can be very busy on rainy Sundays and the queue is outside, so don't forget your umbrella. Adults €10, students/seniors €3.50, guided tours available by appointment.
- 7 Hotel Tassel, Jansonstraat 6 ( ). Despite the misleading name, not an actual hotel, but a regular residential house designed by famous Art Nouveau architect Victor Horta for Belgian scientist and professor Emile Tassel. It is considered as the first true Art Nouveau building, and therefore a cornerstone for that architectural style, for which it was awarded the UNESCO World Heritage site status in 2000. It is most notable for its highly innovative building plan and groundbreaking use of materials and decorations. The house consists of 3 different parts: two conventional parts constructed in brick and natural stone (one the side of the street and on the side of the garden) which were linked with a glass covered steel structure. It connects both parts, and contains staircases and landings that connect the different rooms and floors of the building. The glass roof allows natural light to enter into the center of the building, a feature that would become a characteristic for the Art Nouveau style, and developed further in the Innovation shopping center design. Horta succeeded in the integration of lavish decoration without masking the architectural structure as a whole. Hotel Tassel influenced French Art Nouveau architect Hector Guimard, who later developed his own interpretation of Horta's example. The building is used as a private office, but visits are possible on request.
- 1 Escape Room Brussels, Keerkringenlaan 28, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. A room escape game in the theme of The Godfather, with mysteries involving organized crime. One of the more difficult games in Brussels, not recommended for beginners. 2 players €60, 3 players €75, 4 players €100, 5 players €110, 6 players €120.
- 2 Nemo 33, Stallestraat 333 ( ), ☎ , fax: , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-Su 9:00-22:00. With a maximum depth of 34.5 m, Nemo 33 held the record of deepest indoor swimming pool in the world from its opening in 2004 until the completion of Y-40 in Padua, Italy. The pool is filled with 2 500 m³ of non-chlorinated spring water held at a constant temperature of 30° by a solar heating system. The constant warm water temperature allows dives for extended periodes without the need for a dry suit. There are simulated under water caves at a depth of 10 m for training purposes. The complex was designed by Belgian diving expert John Beernaerts as a multipurpose diving instruction, recreactional, and film production facility. It welcomes tourists, amateur divers as well as professional divers, as long as they are over 13 years old and in good health. All divers are required to be either certified or supervised by a trainer, and must have a certified diver as dive buddy. In addition to the pool there is a restaurant with windows in the side walls of the pool, a book shop, a swimwear store, souvenir store, and rooms for other aquatic activities.
- 3 Escape Hunt, Livornostraat 13 ( Louiza), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Escape games just outside the inner city, with 3 available rooms:
Robbery of Mannenken Pis: in this scenario, the city's iconic statue has been stolen, and players find themselves in the hideout of the thief, with 60 minutes to restore the statue before he returns.
Mystery at the Canal Bar: a Sherlock Holmes themed scenario, in which a fellow detective has gone missing in a shady bar near the city's canal after meeting with an informant, and players must unravel the mystery of his disappearance.
Intrusion at the Japanese Tower: the newest adventure, it is themed in an oriental style according to the Japanese Tower of Brussels. 2 players €66, 3 players €87, 4 players €100, 5 players €110.
- 4 Chamber Challenge, Kasteleinsstraat 69, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Rome escape games with 2 adventures:
Hollywood Mystery: players are trapped inside the room of Marilyn Monroe, and need to discover the main culprit in the mysterious end of a beloved cultural icon before the cover-up.
The Lab: entangled in a race against time, players uncover the structure of DNA to stop the plans of dr. Doom to create a super race that will control the world.
- 1 Mamma Roma, Edelknaapstraat 5 ( ), ☎ . 12:00-22:00. Small franchise pizzeria for eat-in (bar-style seating) or takeaway, sold by weight. Delicious crunchy base and some unusual toppings (one was spicy with walnuts). Long queues but speedy service, deals available for pizza + drinks.
- 2 La Tsampa, Rue de Livourne/Livornostraat 109, ☎ . An organic/vegetarian shop annex restaurant, closed on Saturday and Sunday.
- 1 Le Chatelain All Suite Hotel, Rue du Châtelain-Kasteleinsstraat 17, ☎ . This luxury hotel offers spacious suites, a beautiful garden and a rooftop health and fitness centre. In the Avenue Louise-Louizalaan area. Rates at this 5-star hotel start at €89 per night.
- 2 Hotel Manos Stephanie, Chaussée de Charleroi, 28 B-1060 Brussels, ☎ . and the Manos Premier Hotel, 200m away €325.
- 3 Made in Louise, Rue Veydt, 40, ☎ . Renovated boutique hotel with 49 rooms in the commercial area of Louise Avenue-Louizalaan. €100+.