Upon entering you might think you’ve arrived in a Bavarian hunting lodge – complete with yellowing walls, dim lighting, and a collection of antlers. Actually you’re in the former meeting point for Belgium’s surrealist scene. And yet despite the visits of Magritte, Alechinsky, Scutenaire and Breton, despite the 406 framed portraits and photos, the place does not have the kind of surrealist drawings, poems or doodling that you might have been expecting and certainly hoped for. That is because everything of value was sold, save a few exceptions; and what we have combines donations and founder and art dealer Geert van Bruaene's mix-match collection of objects, including a group of Virgin Marys. Luckily the café was rescued and spared the museum treatment: it is once again the venue for literary salons, poetry readings and much beer drinking. And what is on the walls is certainly worth perusing.
Try and sit at Magritte’s table: solid, wooden and smooth from years of elbow rubbing; although it too is like a school pupil’s desk with no strange etchings to be found. Sneak in here one afternoon to enjoy a strong beer – a spontaneously fermenting lambic, gueuze or kriek would seem an appropriate choice, accompanied by the special house pralines – and before long voices recede into the distance and you find yourself contemplating the mysterious phrases on the walls….. Hmm, perhaps this place is surreal after all!
“Nul ne m’est étranger comme moi-même.”
La Fleur is open every day from 11:00 until Midnight (until 19:00 on Sundays). It’s closed on Mondays, unless there’s some literary event going on.
Rue des Alexiens 55, 1000 Bruxelles
+32(0)2 511 16 59
Google map: bit.ly/kPvion
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