The Bistro Du Phare (The Lighthouse Bistro) in Bruges was never a lighthouse. It is the last relic of the huge Dampoort city gate.
The restaurant’s curved wall follows the outline of one of the many round towers that protected this corner of Bruges from attack.
The trading city of Bruges originally had eight gates protecting the main routes into town. Four have survived, but the Dampoort was torn down in the 19th century. It was the largest and most complicated of the gates, as it protected the waterway that led to Damme and on to the North Sea. Most of the commodities that entered the city had to pass through this gate.
The Dampoort is now a tangle of roads and narrow bridges leading out of Bruges where bicycles weave around buses and rubbish trucks hold up traffic. But you can sit inside the candlelit Bistro Du Phare in a small room with curved stone walls that have survived from the old gate.
It brings you a little closer to a time when Bruges was the greatest port in northern Europe.
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.