Finding a great photo location can be a bit of a fine art. I look for beautiful features and shapes, easy access, not too crowded and often for a place with a little extra magic and wow factor. Though it changes quite often, my favorite photo location at the moment is the Rouge Cloitre which is a beautiful abbey located in the Sonian Forest just 10 minutes from the center of Brussels.
Founded in 1367, definitely brings the wow which makes it a very special backdrop for a photo sessions in all seasons. Brilliant colors, large reflecting ponds, a wild flower and vegetable garden and of course the abbey.
I don’t just come for photo sessions either. They have a great playground, a weekend cafe for cake, coffee or a beer and special events around the year including our favorite haunted forest around Halloween time.
I can’t wait for the Walk through Time Adventure on October 21 in my favorite fall location of all. 🙂 Here is a look at some of my favorite Rouge Cloitre images from all around the calendar.
It is just too beautiful out today. Exactly the kind of day that you just want to spend outside. But this next baby and toddler hot spot will have you scanning the weather report for any hint of clouds. Just enough to give you an excuse to stay inside and play.
I have written before about the ludotheque in Etterbeek. Having lived in Etterbeek and with a tiny slice of Etterbeekois pride, it pains me to say that the ludtheque in Ixelles is seriously kicking our ass. Located in a breezy neighborhood a stone’s throw from Square Ferdinand Cocq, this ludotheque is chalk-full of new, bright and shiny toys. Lots of options for play from an extensive train collection, up and downstairs playhouse, loads of lovely frocks and dresses for make believe and the mother of all crawling tunnels (see happy face snail below). I was really impressed to say the least.
There is a bit of admin to get started. Upon proof of residence in Belgium, but not necessarily Ixelles, you can get your yearly membership card for 10 EUR. This card entitles you to as much free play time as you like as well as the right to borrow toys and games from the ludotheque for between 1 – 2,50 EUR. Don’t forget to return your toys within 1 – 3 weeks or you start accruing late fees. Also don’t put them away in your closet and forget about them for nine months and end up with a fine 10x the value of the toys (lesson learned the hard way, thank you…).
Next time the clouds descend, get yourself over to Ixelle, get a cookie at Sucre Sale and play play play. Cheers!
Where: Rue Mercelis, 13-1050 Brussels
Tuesday from 10h to 12h and 13h to 17h
Wednesday from 13h to 18h
Thursday from 13h to 17h
Friday from 10h to 13h and 14h to 18h (for 10 years)
I constantly get amazed at how many great resources and things to do with kids there are in Brussels. Especially when I get a hot tip on an English-language Children’s Library right in our very backyard in Woluwe Saint-Pierre. Thank you so much to Pippa for cluing us in!
Set back from the street a ways, the library is housed along with a ludotheque in an intriguing old home surrounded by a garden. Head up the stairs and to the left and sure enough, there it is. A 20 sq meter space packed floor to ceiling with loads of children’s book. Board books on the bottom all the way up to early teen novels near the top of the shelves. So many books and a nostalgic atmosphere of the children’s library section you visited growing up complete with little cards that get stamped with the date when you check them out.
With so many options we had a lengthy negotiation process but ultimately all left happy. To check out books, you have to sign up for a library card that is 4 EUR per year. Then you can check out up to three books for 50 cents. 50 cents! If you are addicted to acquiring children’s books like me, this is a real coup. 🙂 You can keep your books for two weeks and then the fun begins again.
The library is only open on Wednesdays and Saturdays so you have to plan things a bit. Saturday morning has story time every other week.
Where: Center Crousse, Rue au Bois, 11 — 1150 Brussels
Wednesday 3-5.30 pm
Saturday 10-12.30 pm
Closed on public holidays
School Holidays – opening times may vary, changes will be posted on this site