Mac Urata Photography © 2010 – 13 All rights

Le Cirio – Places in Brussels (1)

Le Cirio was founded in 1883 and is one of few remaining cafe bars in Brussels from those days with a mixture of the neo-Renaissance and art nouveau interior designs. Regular customers in the past include Jacques Brel, a Belgian singer-songwriter.

It is located next to La Bourse in the centre of the city. One can enjoy the summer’s sun in the terrace which faces the main street. Inside is spacious and dark with its classical furnitures. Make sure you visit the toilet as it has not changed from two centuries ago (Perhpas my female readers who have been there can add a comment as I can only speak about the men’s room).

Don’t expect a full course menu at Le Cirio but there is plenty to bite and nibble with a wide selection of Belgian beers. And mind you, I don’t always take alcohol there. Their cappuccino is excellent, too (top photo). There is no music in the background and the ceiling is high enough to absorb the noise from the floor. So whilst the place can be busy, it has its calmness.

Surely Le Cirio attracts many tourists but it remains to be a place for the locals to relax and respite. A retired couple spending a long afternoon chatting with a few glasses of wine; a middle-aged woman with a couple of supermarket bags resting with a cup of coffee before heading home; a young business man in his suit quenching his first glass of beer as the sun sets in. And it is not just us humans who find the place comfortable! (photo right).

It was my colleague, Sabine who first took me there some years back and I am very thankful to her for introducing me to this place. And when I am in town with new visitors, I take them to Le Cirio.

Le Cirio Rue de la Bourse 18, 1000 Bruxelles

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Books to read

Read the book review by Ingemar Lindberg on Global Restructuring, Labour and the challenges for Transnational Solidarity (Routhledge 2010)

Now published. The Rise and Fall of the Welfare State by Asbjørn Wahl from Pluto Press

Radical East London Walks
*Radical Jewish East End
*Anti-Fascist Footprints
*Spark of Rebellion in Bow and Mile End
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