It is one of the most enjoyable Christmas Markets I have experienced in Europe. It is shiny, romantic and compact. Supremely accessible (minutes from the Central Station), it also comprises numerous streets so that you don’t get bored, but not too many that your head gets muddled and your feet ache. The pleasant thing about the cobblestones here is that they are pretty flat, so you can walk and walk but not scream for agony despite inconvenient female footwear.
Speaking of getting muddled, there are several opportunities for vin chaud (mulled wine). I accompanied a large cup of this with a crêpe Bruxelles (ham, cheese, potatoes etc,) – pretty tasty and filling. I did, however, have to put up with an inordinate number of “ni haos” hollered my way, which is not something I have ever experienced in a Christmas market setting.
The Grand Place is fabulously lit up with a giant Christmas tree courtesy of Latvia this year and a massive nativity scene. The chocolate shops are out in full force, opening late, sparkling bright. Willy Wonka flies Gulfstream in the centre of Brussels. Leonidas is always packed full with Asian tourists – so it’s now on the cliché list. (Also why I avoid Louis Vuitton and Gucci)
The best thing at BCM? The burbling cauldron of sausages-chunks of meat – and sauerkraut. It smells divine. It’s full of wine. It’s gloriously fatty. €8 per bowl, includes bread and mustard.
After all, when you eat standing up, the calories don’t count.