I have been living in St.Gilles for about 3 months, and at first, it is such a strange mix-match, it can be difficult to understand, but the more time I spend here, the more I like it.
Hipsters: You have to love to hate the art crowd. With their skinny jeans and big-framed glasses, and hip bars. They have apparently been infiltrating this area for the past few years, lofting down to the Parvis St.Gilles weekend market, and drinking good beer at artsy pop up bars. I like them and their scarves.
Art Nouvelle: The architecture here is ever so slightly short of amazing. There are these old buildings that at first glance are run down and a bit dirty, but as you look closer- they have such magnificent detail to them, they can be breathtaking. Most the the apartments have high ceilings, and intricate details that would be easy to bypass if you didn't know this was the homeplace of Victor Horta- one of the figureheads of Art Nouvelle. Pay attention to the details here.
Best Beer: I have never been somewhere that literally has a pub on every corner. On the corner I live (Rue Du Parc et Rue du Bosnie) there are literally about 6 pubs in a 2minute walk radius. I am surprised i am not drunk all of the time, at 2euros a bottle. That being said, there is the Moeder Lambric here, which is world renowned for its amazing selection and vibe. Can't be beat.
Multiculturalism: I think this was the part that first threw me off about this area when I got here. There are a lot of cultures in this small area. However, it is many cultures- unlike some areas which are predominately one culture, there are many cultures living simultaneously here. Its a bit fantastic once you get used to it- Portugese bakery, Spanish wine, Turkish olives, and Belgian farmers market, all within a few blocks.
I think there are parts that are a bit dirty, and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming- but come for the weekend market, walk to the Town Hall and enjoy a beer at Moefer Lambric, walk to Loiuse and take in the view from the monument, explore the many nooks and crannies, this place has a lot to offer.
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