Sunday, June 17, 2012

Bruges, Brugge

However one spells it, Bruges is an absolutely beautiful city.  We spent the better part of a day exploring and wandering around.  We had, in fact, hoped to take a canal tour since this is one of the 'must-do' tourtist attractions in Bruges, but the next available tour was 2 hours after we were there so we didn't manage to do that.  But I am very happy with what we did manage to see so....maybe next time.  Should you be there with enough time to spare, get your ticket early and do the tour.  Everyone we saw on the tour boats seemed to be having a good time!!!
And as an aside, without even looking for one (as I have been doing in every other city we've been to) we walked past an art supply shop and I finally got the Caran d'Ache non-soluble oil pastels I've been looking for!!!   Really hard to find at home.  (In all fairness, I think I can buy them, singly, from Dick Blick but it means I have to go to, or order them from, the States to do that.....this was so easy!  Ah, the perfect holiday experience, again!!)
 Roof lines, I am continually mesmerized by them!
 Walking down a street filled with shops in Bruges.  Lots of shopping, high-end and not so, to be had there, should one wish it.
 The place du marche, the market square.  I don't know if there is a market everyday, but there was one when we were there.
 We wandered around the Place du Marche for a while.  This square has served as the political, economic and social centre of the city.  The Place is dominated by the Belfry (you can see it in a picture a bit lower down on this post) which is 88 metres high.  At the base of the Beffroi is Les Halles where medieval merchants would sell everything from Flemish woolen goods to oriental spices.  The Beffoi itself dates from the 13th century while the octagonal addition on the  top is in the gothic style of Brabant.  In the shot above is the Palais Provincial, on the left (neo-gothic architecure from the 19th century, lots of little tours and delicate details)  and the brick part on the right is the post office, at least the part at the bottom was where we bought stamps and mailed our postcards.  Pretty fancy, huh!!!  Oh and should you wish to take a horse-drawn tour of Bruges, this square would be the starting point.
 This is the balcony of the Belfry.  More fancy details!!
This is the north side of the place du marche.  Lots of places to eat and watch the people go by.  Lots of typical Flemish facades from the 17th century on the buildings.   The Place du Marche is a must-see!
This shot is taken in the Place du Bourg.  On the left, and sort of slipping out of the picture (!!) is the Palais de Justice.  Next you see the gold decorated building which is the Chacellerie (Flemish Renaissance architecture from the 16th century with several gold statues representing le droit, Law). Next to that is l'Hotel de Ville, or city hall, which is an example of gothic architecture with a number of historical and biblical statues on the front (wow, a bit more fancy than back at home!!).  Apparently a lot of these statues were destroyed during the French Revolution and had to be replaced.
This is another shot of the Chancellerie and on the bottom right you can see the enrtance to la Ezelstraat.  This name comes from the name of the Inn (l'auberge) that formerly sat on the space now occupied by the Chancellerie.
This is the Prevote (with a shot of the Beffoi in the background).  This building dates from the 17th century and is constructed and decorated in the Flemish Baroque style.
This is the Basilique du Saint-Sang, dating from the 12th century.  In the Basilica is the Relique du Saint-Sang, brought to Bruges after the Second Crusade.
One of the many little bridges that crosses the canals.  All so picturesque!!
More little bridges.  More water.
Everyone can have a canal-side home!!!!
This is la Rozenhoedkaai, the Quai du Rosaire, the Quai of Roses, that takes its name from the rose  couronnes and decorations that were made and sold at this location.  The Quai is lined with medieval architecture....and it would seem that this location, with the reflection of the Beffroi in the water, is one of the most photographed locations in the city.   No reflections the day we were there because it was a bit breezy, but it is still picturesque.
This is the gothic chapel and (part of) the tower of the Eglise Notre-Dame.  Michelangelo's white marble statue of The Madonna with Child is the attraction here.  A merchant from Bruges bought the statue in 1506 and gave it to the church in 1514.  (Twice the statue has been stolen, once during the French Revolution and again during the Second World War.  Recovered both times, fortunately.)
  In 2000 Bruges was officially added to the list of World Heritage Sites and in 2002 was named the cultural capital of Europe.  A beautiful city. I would have been happy to have spent even more time there.  Maybe next time.....


  1. Once again... I so enjoy your photos and comments. Thanks for sharing..
    xxo. bj

  2. tks, BJ. I can't believe it's nearly over. But most of all, I can't believe how great it's been!! Hope to see you this summer.