I can’t believe it’s already been 2 years since we housesat in Belgium. We didn’t write much about it at the time, but I’ll never forget this event we attended in Brussels.
It was quite by accident that we ventured into the city and stumbled upon the famous Flower Carpet. Our elaborate daytrip plan involved eating our weight in Godiva chocolate. However, a bustling crowd, gawking at hundreds of thousands of colourful flowers, beautifully and intricately arranged, got in our way. Thank goodness they did.
What Is It?
Every 2 years in August the Grand Place in Brussels is covered with a flower carpet of begonias, spread over 75 meters (246-foot) in length, and 24 metres (78 feet) in width. Around 120 volunteers tirelessly arrange this flower carpet out of 600,000 bulbs in just 4 hours. Incredible!
When Did It Start?
The very first Flower Carpet of Brussels was created in 1971. And it has been running non-stop every two years since 1986. A non-profit association Tapis de Fleurs assembles a committee of professionals who come up with the design and plan.
When’s The Next One?
We saw the Flower Carpet in 2014, so this year is your year. Head to Brussels on the 12-15th August 2016. For future dates, check the official website.
Where Can You See It?
The Flower Carpet is located in the gorgeous Grand Place, a gothic architecture marvel. If you head across to Town Hall (called “Hotel De Ville” – don’t worry, it’s not a hotel) and walk up to the balcony you can get a great birds eye view of the flowers.
Fascinating fact: according to legend, the architect responsible for the 96-meter-high tower, Jan van Ruysbroek, leapt to his death (from the tower) after discovering it was not symmetrical with the building’s east and west wings. Can you spot the asymmetry in the above photos?
How much does entry cost?
This is a completely free event – there’s no entry cost to view the flower carpet from the town square. To access the balcony of Town Hall costs around €5 per person.
Where Else Might You See Flower Carpets?
One other place we have seen amazingly detailed, beautiful decorative street carpets was during Semana Santa in Antigua, Guatemala. However most of those were made from coloured sawdust.
What You Might Not Know About The Flower Carpet…
A different musical theme is composed for each edition. And every evening you can witness a sound and light show. So make sure you see it during the day as well as evening.
Best Tips For Seeing The Flower Carpet
- If you arrive by car, parking is available near the Grand Place. See map…
- If arriving by train, check schedules and buy tickets online.
- If arriving by underground, tram or bus, use this journey planner.
- Bring your camera – this is something you’ll want to show your kids and grandkids.
- Bring a bottle of water – walking around the city can be thirsty work.
- It could be very crowded so keep your valuables and belongings close to you.
- Set aside at least 1-1.5 hours to see it all, so you’re not rushed.
- Book accommodation as far in advance as possible, as hotels will fill up fast.
And of course, you must include the holy trinity of Belgian snacks in your daytrip: fresh waffles (from a food truck), fresh chips (with mayonnaise), and chocolate dipped strawberries.