Not many people know about the Parc Tournay-Solvay on the southern edge of the city. Just seven minutes by train from Schuman or Luxembourg station, the park occupies the grounds of a country estate where the industrialist Ernest Solvay built a mansion in 1878.
The turreted house burned down in 1982. For many years, it was a charred ruin overlooking a lake, like something in a horror movie.
It is now being restored by Brussels Region to serve as a joint research institute dedicated to theoretical physics. The work is due to finish at the end of 2023.
The beautiful estate is carefully maintained by Brussels region. It includes a hidden rose garden, a sunken lane and a secret walled orchard. But no cafe. You need to head into Boitsfort, a ten minute lakeside walk.
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.