Quartier Marolles

Quartier Marolles (7)

The Marolles district is located among the Porte de Hal, the Law courts and the church of Notre-Dame de la Chapelle, and is a truly working class neighbourhood yet also one with a lot of charm. 

In the Middle Ages, this was a district of tailors, rag and bone men and prostitutes and later became a residential zone for the artisans who worked in the mansions of the Upper Town. Evidence of this lies in the names of the streets, still preserved today, such as Rue des Charpentiers (or street of the carpenters), and Rue des Brodeurs (or street of the embroiderers). 

You will observe that it is currently a district of winding streets in which immigration and native traders merge with art galleries, artisans and bars. 

One of the zone’s most famous elements is the popular market, which has been held in Place du Jeu de Balle every day since 1640 and where, you can find second hand objects and knickknacks. However, if you would rather buy handicrafts and antiques, go to Rue Haute, the backbone of the district that follows the route of an old Roman road and is also the longest and oldest street in the centre of Brussels. At number 164 you will come across a brick building that is used as the headquarters of the House of Spain and, if you go to number 132 of the same street, you will reach what was once the house of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, who was one of the greatest Flemish painters of the sixteenth century 

Do not forget, either, to visit the Porte de Hal, mentioned before, at the southern end of Rue Haute. It is a former prison and a genuine gateway in the walls that originally surrounded the city and are now demolished.

The district, moreover, also features some of the city’s most famous taverns such as the lively La Grande Porte, at number 9 of Rue de Notre-Seigneur. 

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