Remember your Brussels Eurostar ticket covers same day onward travel to all stations in Belgium. This includes Brussels Central Station, so you can use it instead of the Metro to get across town from Midi station to your hotel or meeting near Brussels Central.
In Brussels you must visit Cirio’s Bar in the Rue De La Bourse.
Founded by Italian magnate Francesco Cirio in 1903 it remains much as it was a hundred years ago - dark wooded panels, marble and shining brass.
Be sure to try the house speciality of a “Half and Half” - equal measures of champagne and white wine filled to the brim by bustling ultra efficient waiters.
Say hello to the cat “Minou” (French for “Kitty”) and lastly don’t forget to visit the magnificent turn-of-the-century toilets!
Check out the fabulous Restaurant Vincent in Rue des Dominicains, where you walk through the kitchen to be seated.
No hidden secrets, the best steaks and the finest moules. Try the steak tartare, if you dare, prepared at your table with the freshest ingredients - and with amazing flair.
My tip is to visit the bar La Mort Subite on rue Montagne-aux-Herbes Potagères 7.
This bar has a superb selection of beers, which are reasonably priced, and is frequented by locals rather than being a typical tourist trap.
The atmosphere is friendly and relaxed and it's an ideal place to meet up with friends for a good natter.
If that isn't enough, last time I went there an opera singer started to sing, with the whole bar joining in. Beer, opera and conversation - perfect!
After relaxing on your short, swift ride to Brussels, stay close to the sweeping Avenue Louisa, just a tram or metro ride from the Eurostar Terminus and a short walk from the busy heart of Brussels.
The area has many attractive shops and boutiques - they really know how to dress and window dress! Tucked off the side streets of the Elsene quarter are lively markets, galleries and tree lined squares for coffee and finding unique gifts.
At the far end of Avenue Louisa are grand villas and gardens, lush parks and gardens of Terkamerenbos.
Take your first drink - a coffee or a trappsit beer at the magnificent art nouveau Le Cirio just around the corner from the Bourse metro ( 4 stops from the Gare du Midi).
Have your last drink at Au Laboureur close to the Gare du Midi.
And in between use the CAMRA Good Beer Guide to Belgium by Tim Webb to find your way round Brussels.
Visiting Magritte's house gives you a little insight into a surrealist mind.
A tram-ride from central Brussels, the suburban house is packed with glimpses of the banal, everyday things that inspired Magritte’s extraordinary, warped images: the fireplace (empty without its emerging steam train); the pipe (that is in fact not a pipe); the lamp post (that actually works like any other). The domestic details of this historic house are probably no different from a thousand others in Brussels.
But in the context of wonderful Magritte originals and the fascinating story of his life (displayed upstairs), they take on a new significance.
For football fans, a trip to see Anderlecht play at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium.
It's like a small, tight ground where you get really close to the action and the home fans generate a great atmosphere.
And be sure to enjoy a pre (and post) match pint of Hoegaarden in one of the many bars around the ground.
You must go to A La Mort Subite on rue Montagne-aux-Herbes Potagères.
The name comes from a game they used to play called 421. Back in the day, employees of a local bank would while away their lunch hours playing 421 – and the loser, of course, was “sudden death” itself.
The room is enormous yet somehow each table provides intimacy (away from those crowds). As in a relaxed community of little tables holding hands.
Order a plate of cheese, salami and pickles and slosh back a fruity beer. Perfect when Brussels turns dark. The light in there is almost golden.
My favourite café in Brussels is called 'L'Ultime Atome' 14 Rue St-Boniface, it serves the best tart tatin I have tasted.
After you’ve eaten it there’s then a great opportunity for a post-prandial walk around the more interesting bits of Ixelles.
A good choice for lunch on the Grand Place is 't Kelderke (The Little Cellar) - a restaurant with great atmosphere and food.
The restaurant is built into an ancient cave and serves dishes which are typical of the region.
Soup is a very reasonable 2.25 euros, and moules marinieres, 6.25 euros. My wife had the pot-au-feu, and I chose carbonnades flamandes a la biere, both of which were delicious and priced at just 4.75 euros each.
We drank an excellent beer from tap. 't Kelderke was superb value for money in truly authentic surroundings.
A unique museum, ten minutes walk from Brussels Midi, is the Cantillon Brewery, which is a museum dedicated to Brussels' unique beer style of gueze. There are self-guided tours and the chance to try the products. But the highlight is the public brewings in November and March - a must for all beer lovers and fans of the Belgian way of life.
Try the Scheltema Brasserie on Rue des Dominicains (Tel: 02 512 20 84). Do not be fooled by its location at the end of Rue des Bouchers, close to the Grand Place, which is home to dozens of tourist restaurants with quick-eyed maitre'ds hustling for custom on the pavement.
To enter Scheltema is to step into a place where food is to be savoured, not rushed. Serious-looking, but kindly and knowledgeable waiters (all male and of a certain age), add to the experience. Truly wonderful.
Visit the Cantillon Brewery, near the Midi train station. This fine brewery produces gueuze, a sour and even sulphurous beer which is allowed to ferment spontaneously by contact with wild yeasts in the air. It's a love-it-or-hate-it thing - and you won't find out which it is for you unless you visit the brewery!
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