13 Jan 2015


Jan 13, 2015

I have written about St. Gilles already in 2010 here. I have never thought at that moment that I would return to this Brussels municipality 4 years later to help my friend Claudie from the South of France, when she looked for a student room for her daughter in Brussels.

St. Gilles is above all one of the few municipalities in Brussels to have preserved the old historical buildings of various architectural styles but it also, one with not less than 130 different nationalities living peacefully here together. Lots of the old buildings have been transformed to flats or rooms for students, as this area has very good transportation links to various Universities and Academies and Colleges.

So when I went to the street where her room is located to bring some bedlinen and covers before her arrival, I took the opportunity to drive and walk around a little in this area.

I found a  food shop

A bakery

and even a little Pizzeria, all in walking distance.

All houses have these beautiful cast iron balconies

Strolling along the houses I noticed that besides each door was a kind of hole with an iron bar. That made me really curious. Fortunately I saw an elderly lady and asked her why these old houses have these holes besides the doors.

and she explained to me, that when in the past the streets were still full of mud or horse "left overs" the visitors cleaned their shoes on these iron bars, before they entered the house !

I had learned something new !

more participants here


diane b said...

It is a nice looking area with its lovely old buildings still in tact. A great place for students. They must have fun there.

Arija said...

Nice to see the corner grocer, baker and pizzeria close by. In fact it is nice to see them in the residential area as they were of old before supermarkets. They seem to be pleasant residential buildings and even nicer to see a multiplicity of nationalities living peaceably together.

Anonymous said...

Lovely old buildings and what a clever idea to have boot scrapers built into the walls.

Andrew said...

How interesting. Shoe scrapers. I am surprised you did not know about them. I have never seen built in shoe scrapers before. On the farm we had portable scrapers or grate mats.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

That will be a great area for a student! She will love it ... Especially since the residents no longer have to scrape their shoes! Hmmm... Maybe modern times aren't so bad after all))!

Loree said...

What beautiful buildings. I just love old architecture. Outside the old houses here in Malta they would have an iron bar stuck just outside the front door - also for the same reasons you mentioned - but no hole :)

carol l mckenna said...

Wonderful photography of the old architecture ~ all very creative shots!

Happy Week to you,
artmusedog and carol

Sandra Carlier said...

Mélissa is well arrived in Brussels! Thanks for all you did in order she arrives in a cute and comfy kot! Tomorrow she will visit the place she lives. She had the same react I had and her bed is on the floor! Your post and this you wrote in 2010 are very interesting!

Fun60 said...

What beautiful architecture. Those wonderful doors, balconies and boot scrapers what more could a student desire!

Gracie said...

In Italy you can see lots of those iron bars still today....not useful anymore for horses "gifts" but some dogs' owners still have to be educated.....