Hidden Belgium: The grand avenue that leads to Saint-Gilles commune

Hidden Belgium: The grand avenue that leads to Saint-Gilles commune

This 19th century Avenue Jean Volders was designed to provide an impressive route into the commune of St Gilles.

Lined with apartment buildings rising five or even six floors, it feels like a different scale from the city centre. The local authority strictly controlled the façades along this street, encouraging a grand but rather overbearing style of building.

The prolific Art Nouveau architect Ernest Blérot followed the municipal regulations in 1902 when he built the Art Nouveau apartment building at No. 44 and the corner building at No. 48. These buildings are much grander than the ones he built in Ixelles.

St Gilles clearly wanted to make an impression.

Derek Blyth’s hidden secret of the day: Derek Blyth is the author of the bestselling “The 500 Hidden Secrets of Belgium”. He picks out one of his favourite hidden secrets for The Brussels Times every day.


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