Not so hidden secret in Brussels: Abbaye de la Cambre

It hasn’t been a very good summer as of late, so on particular days when the sun is shining, no rain is predicted, and coronavirus measures aren’t toughened up (again), we’ve taken to exploring around our new home city, Brussels.

Due to the success of our last abbey trip (see my post on abbaye d’aulne), V was motivated to explore yet another abbey, but this time somewhere in the middle of Brussels (in Ixelles).

Abbaye de la Cambre is located in Ixelles, right before the start of the Bois de la Cambre, and is right at the end of the “famous” Avenue Louise – the Champs Elysees of Brussels. 🙂

I honestly did not have much high expectations considering I have never heard of this abbey and that it is supposedly in the middle of Brussels (which is a bit odd).

View of the abbey from the gardens

GETTING THERE

So anyway, we decided to go by bike using the Villo system as the abbey was only 7km from our place. The Villo bike system is this bike renting system in Brussels wherein you can take a bike from any Villo station, use it freely, and then return the bike to any other station. A day ticket costs 1.6 euros (as of writing) and you can take any bike from any station within the day and use it free for 30 minutes (succeeding minutes are paid so best to return a bike in a station then just get a new one again).

Villo station and bikes

WELL. Personally I will never do it again. Lol. Coming from biking in Kortrijk, Leuven and Ghent, where it is all mostly flat lands, Brussels was a BIG CHALLENGE. We biked from Anderlecht to Ixelles wherein around 80% of the terrain was UPHILL. So no, next time I’m going by public transport.

The closest train station to the Abbey is Brussels Central and Tram 71 takes you directly at the start of the Abbey grounds.

THE ABBEY

The abbey grounds itself is not that huge and you can walk around the whole area in less than half an hour. There is really not much to do perse except to take a stroll and hang out. There is an open air cafe (not sure if they are around during the summer) which also serves the abbey’s local beer. The gardens however are gorgeous and the abbey serves as a beautiful backdrop to the well manicured greens. It’s a great place to take a rest, have a picnic, play some petanque, or practice your photography skills.

The most important part about visiting this place is that it is absolutely free. 🙂 (except for the beers in the cafe of course)

AROUND

As mentioned, there is a cafe in the grounds, also a well maintained church. There are also a lot of other places to walk around beside the abbey. On one side is a park with 2 lakes, and on the other is Bois de la Cambre. This area is also sort of a rich area and there are A LOT of embassies on the periphery of both the Abbey and the Bois.

In any case, if you’re looking to go back to some city life, just head back up Avenue Louise and you will be back in the center.

Overall, nice place to take a break from the city scape!

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