How long it would take you to get to know all countries of the European Union? Months, years maybe? But what if we tell you that you can meet them in one hour? They are all situated in Brussels' Rue de la Loi. We tricked you? 'No mon ami', as Hercule Poirot would say, 'you just had too big expectations.'
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s no such thing like "the capital of the European Union", but if it ever comes to be declared, that title will go to Brussels, the capital of Belgium and an unofficial capital of the European Union from the early 1960s. The city has many notable government buildings of both Belgium and the European Union, situated in famous Rue de la Loi, making the city small Europe. If we take into account that 27 countries are members of the European Union, you have a half of the Europe at one place. Not bad at all for just one street.
What stands true is that it is a business area and, as any other business area, it becomes the most vivid around 1pm when the European Union and other institutions proclaim lunch time resolution and make restaurants busy and nearby parks lively, and it dies during weekends. Mr Poirot: "But I haven't heard anything about a murder." We: "No, you haven't heard of it. Because, as yet, it has not taken place."
Belgians are considered as a real foodies and the country is a true gourmet paradise with many Michelin star-rated restaurants. People who like to calculate counted that Brussels only has 138 restaurants per square mile and more than 400 types of beer.
Probably the most interesting fact about Brussels' restaurants is that every house in Petite Rue des Bouchers street is a restaurant. The street is located just a few minutes walking from the Grand Place, one of the largest and beautiful squares in the world which is on UNESCO World Heritage Site list. Manneken Pis, the most famous model in the world, is situated nearby and, contrary to wide spread belief, he is dressed quite modesty most of the time and has the impressive collection of more than 600 costumes.
Brussels is famous by Atomium and Bruparck amusement park which hosts "Mini-Europe". There you can see reproductions of some 80 cities and 350 buildings at a scale of 1:25. So, we weren't tricked you, on the contrary, many could envy you for having the whole Europe on your palm. Mr Poirot: "Jealousy, as it so often does, throws open the door to murder." We: "Do you know to talk about any other subject than a murder?" Mr Poirot: "They are following me like I'm Jean-Claude Van Damme!" We: "You just said a joke!" Mr Poirot:"Belgium is a home of comic strips. You should know that." We: "The whole world knows that!"
In Brussels, mediaeval and modern architecture exchange and what makes it to look hospitable are numerous ponds, parks and gardens all around the city. Foret de Soignes, 13 km long forest that stretches almost to Waterloo municipality, gives it special, friendly charm.
However, definitively the most beautiful Brussels' landmark is The Royal Palace of Brussels, the official king's palace, although the king chose The Royal Castle of Laken for his residence. If you like to shop, in Avenue Louise you will find Brussels' Champs Elysées and the best antiques in Place du Grand Sablon.
Mr Poirot: "Mon ami! You are doing miracles with your computer!" We: "Thank you! We thought you despised computers." Mr Poirot: "I do. They are a very poor substitute for the little gray cells, but sometimes they are surprisingly useful." We: "Are you disappointed for we haven't heard about any murder yet?" Mr Poirot: "I have been told that Jean-Claude Van Damme is back home. My intuition is telling me that we shall have a murder before lunch." ■