You can live in Brussels for years without ever knowing about La Bellone. This beautiful 17th-century baroque mansion is hidden behind a house at Rue de Flandre 46. It is now a cultural centre. Ask at the front desk for directions.
A long corridor brings you to a cobbled courtyard where dance and theatre performances are staged under a glass roof. And beyond, La Bellone.
The house was built in 1697 in Flemish baroque style by the architect Jan Cosyns. He also built the bakers’ guild house on Grand’Place in a similar style. But La Bellone is even more spectacular, with four heads of Roman emperors and a clutch of military trophies. The decoration celebrates Prince Eugene of Savoy’s defeat of the Turks in 1697 at the Battle of Zenta.
The house was bought by the city in the early 20th century. It was a police station for a time. Now it is run by the French language community as a cultural venue.
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.